January 29 2020

2016 Mid-Atlantic Region Call for Papers

Map of the AAR Mid-Atlantic Region

2016 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting

Hyatt Regency
2 Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Preconference Wabash Workshop, March 9, 2016
Conference, March 10–11, 2016

Call for Papers

Conference Theme: Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today

The 2016 annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion (MAR-AAR) focuses on basic questions regarding religious and theological scholarship today, providing a forum for reflection on why and how that scholarship is done in the United States. This broadly crafted conference theme is intended to spark conversations that are applicable within many disciplines. One concern has to do with the aims of religious and theological scholarship. What are the key questions and issues that define religious and theological scholarly communities today? What is the relationship between scholarship and education? How have the many changes in the institutions of American higher education over the past decades altered the vocation of scholarship? Another concern has to do with practices. Religious and theological scholars engage in researching and writing; learning and teaching; listening and speaking; interpreting and translating. What do these risky practices look like today? How does and should the American Academy of Religion shape those practices?

Obviously, each of the above reflections will be differently addressed within the different sections represented at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit proposals that not only present specific academic theses in the respective fields (which, of course, promote scholarship), but are also encouraged to reflect on the academic life as manifested in their own curricular, departmental, and disciplinary contexts. Some sections may therefore have slight modifications to the overall theme.

Proposal Submission (Deadline: December 18, 2015, 11:59 pm EST Extended until January 1, 2016)

Submissions, unless otherwise stated in a modified Section’s Call for Papers below, should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Institutional Affiliation
  • E-mail Address
  • 150-word Abstract
  • 500-word Proposal

Please review the various sections accepting proposal guidelines below. Submit by e-mail attachment to the chair and cochairs identified in the section to which you are submitting. Members may only submit one proposal to a section, for a total of two proposals. The submission deadline is December 18th, 2015. You will receive notification regarding the status of your proposal by mid-January. If you have questions about which section to submit to or need additional information about submitting a proposal, please contact the MAR-AAR Vice President, Sabrina Misirhiralall, EdD, at Misirhiralall.S@gmail.com.


Please consider submitting your proposal for one of the following awards if your paper is eligible. Submit to ALL:

President, Matthew Vaughan, PhD

Vice President, Sabrina D. MisirHiralall, EdD

Regional Coordinator, David Brewer

Kate Connolly-Weinert Prize of $200 goes to the most innovative proposal for a group session (or panel) dealing with peace issues or women's studies; the deadline for submission is December 18, 2015. You must indicate in your proposal submission if you’d like to be considered for this award.

To help foster graduate student participation, the Executive Committee of the MAR-AAR will again award the Robert F. Streetman Prize of $200 for the best student paper presented by an AAR regional member. Those interested in the Streetman Prize should submit their entire paper by December 18, 2015 and clearly indicate they are submitting the paper for prize consideration.

Section Call for Papers

Undergraduate and Student Section, and Prize Information

This section offers current undergraduates the opportunity to present recent work or work in progress in the field of religious studies or theology. All submissions should encompass this year’s conference theme on Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today. Papers should maintain a focus on why the study of religion or theology is valuable in the public and/or private sphere. Conferences are a crucial part of graduate life in academia. Thus, MAR-AAR urges all undergraduates interested in graduate school or seminary to submit to this section. Undergraduates will have the chance to meet graduate students and seasoned religious studies and theology professors who will offer substantial feedback to help undergraduates move forward in academia.

Submissions should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Undergraduate Institution
  • Advisor (or a professor whom you see as a mentor)
  • E-mail Address
  • 250-word abstract

Submit proposals to ALL:

Sabrina D. MisirHiralall (Chair)
Montclair State University

Kim Paffenroth (Cochair)
Iona College

Jason Holmwood (Cochair)
Middlesex County College

Undergraduate Reception

In addition to the Undergraduate Section and the awards that require a paper proposal, all undergraduates are invited to attend this year’s MAR-AAR Undergraduate Reception at the annual conference. Undergraduates will have the opportunity to learn about what they could do with a religious studies or theology major. We hope to provide undergraduates with a space to interact with graduate students and professors who could advise undergraduates on academic programs in religious studies or theology.

Interreligious and Interfaith Studies

This section invites proposals that critically discuss any aspect of interreligious and interfaith engagement. To establish the contours of this emerging field, we intend to cover a broader spectrum of the field. In particular, responding to the 2016 regional conference theme of Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, this section encourages proposals that illuminate why we need interreligious and interfaith studies. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed. Proposals may focus on any theory, practice, scripture, institution, region, or any time period, so long as the topic is capable of engaging scholars of the field.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Heon Kim (Chair)
East Stroudsburg University

Robert Martin (Cochair)
Wesley Theological Seminary

Global Religion and Pluralism

The Global Religion and Pluralism Section seeks papers that comment on non-Christian approaches to theology and religion that address the conference theme and connections of religious pluralism. We are especially (though not exclusively) interested in Jewish theology. In particular, the section invites submissions that consider diverse experiences in the lives of practitioners or those influenced by religion, including experiences of race, ethnicity, religion, diversity, and culture. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Amy Weiss (Chair)
New York University

Jea Sophia Oh (Cochair)
West Chester University

Stephen Sterm (Cochair)
Gettysburg College

Religion, Conflict, and Peace

All papers addressing this year’s conference theme of Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, or directly related to studies on religion, conflict, and peace are encouraged to be considered. The following broader topics are also welcome:

  • Pluralism amidst religious conflict; and
  • Peacemaking theme and/or methods

Submit proposals to:

Dan Randazzo
Loyola University Maryland

Heon Kim
East Stroudsburg University

Philosophy of Religion

This section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference theme of Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, especially as the theme relates to the philosophy of religion. Paper proposals on other topics relating to philosophy of religion will also be considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Matthew Tennant (Chair)
Oxford University

Kevin Hart (Cochair)
University of Virginia

Religion and Ethics

This section invites proposals that respond to the conference them of Why We are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today. Proposals are encouraged which explore the role of norms and values in the study of religion and theology, in expressly normative but also in descriptive approaches to the field. The section also invites proposals on contemporary moral questions and debates.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Jennifer Lancaster (Chair)
Lebanon Valley College

Kale Yu (Cochair)
Nyack College

Joshua T. Mauldin, PhD (Cochair)
Center of Theological Inquiry

Postcolonial and Religious Studies

This section offers scholars the opportunity to present recent work in the intersecting fields of postcolonialism and religious studies. All submissions should encompass this year’s conference theme on Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today. With the conference theme in mind, we invite papers that specifically address the following themes:

  • Confronting the legacy of missionary activity and forced conversion;
  • Recovery of Vedic and indigenous traditions in India; and
  • Questioning the privileged epistemic status of Judeo-Christianity and secular humanism

Particularly, this section focuses on confronting the legacy of colonialism and imperialism in an effort to decolonize. Papers that address questions related to power, resistance, and dominance as well as maintain a focus on the theoretical framework of postcolonial scholars are encouraged. This section offers an opportunity to examine binaries that divide, such as the West and the East, in an effort to create an authentic connection across humanity without colonizing.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Sabrina D. MisirHiralall
Montclair State University (Chair)

David Dillard-Wright (Cochair)
University of South Carolina - Aiken

Please feel free to e-mail David Dillard-Wright and/or Sabrina MisirHiralall with any questions regarding the submission process.

Religion, Gender, and Sexuality

This section explores the intersection between religion and perspectives on gender and sexuality. Papers on the theme “Gender Justice, Sexuality Justice” are invited, but quality papers on all topics in religion, gender, and sexuality are welcome. We are particularly interested in proposals that are related to one of the following themes:

  • Issues of gender and sexuality in interreligious dialogue;
  • Feminist approaches in comparative theology;
  • Postcolonial and poststructural issues in gender studies;
  • Gender issues and multiple religious identities or religious hybridity; and
  • Sexuality, nonhuman nature, and religion from interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, including “othering” and ecotheological perspectives, especially focused on “sexual violence” at this time

We encourage submissions by scholars of all sexual identities (including those who are heterosexually identified), multiple disciplines, religious traditions, and perspectives.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Jea Sophia Oh, PhD (Chair)
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Kyung-Sun Hong (Co-Chair)
County College of Morris

Religion and Leadership

The Religion and Leadership Section seeks proposals that address the role of spirituality and religion in decision making and leadership within the broader contexts raised by pluralism in society and the workplace. This year’s conference theme, Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, speaks directly to the section’s goal of addressing the complex relationship among religious institutions, spirituality, pluralism, and “the Other” in that the burgeoning area of leadership challenges religious studies and theological thinking with new questions and interdisciplinary dialogue. We seek both individual and panel proposals directed to the conference theme.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Gerald S. Vigna (Chair)
Alvernia University

Deborah Evans (Cochair)
Alvernia University

Psychology and Religion

The 2016 annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion (MAR-AAR) focuses on basic questions regarding religious and theological scholarship today, providing a forum for reflection on why and how that scholarship is done in the United States. Based upon the general rubric of the conference, Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, we welcome proposals for our sessions, which will be devoted to the topic: "Methods and Explorations in the Study of Psychology and Religion: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going." In addition, we are interested particularly in papers that offer psychological perspectives as applied to "Ritual, Psychology, and the Religion; and Psychological Implications of Religious Self-Identity in Public and Private." As always, we welcome proposals for papers that address religious texts, themes, figures, and/or readers using the concepts and interpretive tools of any field of psychology.

Submit proposals to:

Ilona Rashkow, PhD (Chair)
NYU Visiting; Stony Brook Emeritus

Christian History and Theology

This Section invites proposals relating to this year’s regional conference theme of Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today. The Call for Papers invites many different applications in the study of Christian history and theology. Proposals may address the conference theme in a variety of ways. We welcome a variety of approaches—including focused historical study, critical textual analysis, and constructive theology. Interdisciplinary projects drawing on anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, or other fields are encouraged. Paper proposals on other topics relating to Christian history and theology are also encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Sergey Trostyanskiy, PhD (Chair)
Union Theological Seminary

Bonnie M. Brunelle (Cochair)
Catholic University of America

Christopher Ashley, ABD (Cochair)
Union Theological Seminary

Jason Wyman, ABD (Cochair)
Union Theological Seminary

Contemporary Theology

This section invites proposals for scholars reflecting on systematic, philosophical, or moral theology in the contemporary context, loosely defined as the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. This year's theme, Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today, presents a number of interesting questions which can be explored in our section. Especially welcome are any papers with an emphasis on praxis in terms of theological or religious education, ethnography and ecclesiology, hermeneutics in teaching/learning/traditioning/reception processes, interreligious collaboration or initiatives, or other cross-disciplinary conversations. Explicitly focusing on the conference theme will without question bolster one's candidacy in the submission process, but any outstanding pieces subsumed under the section's general aegis are always considered for acceptance. Group presentations or panels are particularly encouraged. The selection committee will send notifications around mid-January.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Michael Canaris (Chair)
Loyola University Chicago

Rory Misiewicz (Cochair)
Princeton Theological Seminary

Asian Religions

This section invites proposals on the notion of religiosity/religiousness from the Asian religious perspective. In the scholarship of religious studies, the dualism has been a dominant, foundational belief or doctrine to explore various issues of religion. How does the notion of nonduality from Asian religions challenge or expand our traditional understanding of religiosity? If there is such a thing as Asian religiosity, how are the traditional constituents of religiosity such as rituals, hierarchy, and prophetic traditions, etc., dealt with in Asian religiosity? What can these nondual elements of Asian religion contribute to a further development of religious studies? We are interested in presentations that address, through Asian religious perspectives, a variety of issues and questions concerning the notion of religiosity/religiousness. Proposal ideas that extend beyond these themes will also be welcomed if under the general focus of this section.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Song-Chong Lee, PhD (Chair)
The University of Findlay

Hyun Choo, PhD (Cochair)
SUNY Stony Brook

North American Religions

This year’s conference theme asks the MAR-AAR to evaluate how and why scholars of religion continue to “do what they do” in less than certain social and economic times. What are the aims and scholarly practices that constitute the study of American religious history and/or American Religions? What is our collective task as a guild? How do our motivations inform our work? What can our subjects tell us about our motivations? We invite proposals for full panels and individual papers that engage these questions with reference to specific research projects relating to the study of religion in America, broadly construed. Panel proposals that suggest alternatives to the traditional conference-panel format are particularly encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Seth Perry (Cochair)
Princeton University

Benji Rolsky (Cochair)
Drew University

Scriptural Reasoning

Your proposal to the Scriptural Reasoning Section might address one of the following prompts:

  • How does a practice like scriptural reasoning (have the potential to) bridge the gap between scholarship and education as discussed in the conference theme?
  • How is scriptural reasoning different from interfaith dialogue? How are the goals, processes, or results different or similar?
  • A theological scriptural exegesis that you feel addresses the above reflections. This exegesis might come from the scriptures of any religion.
  • Reflect on the nature of interreligious reading, particularly as it relates to addressing a troubled world. These reflections might come from your having read and responded to the recent volume Interreligious Reading after Vatican II, edited by David Ford and Frances Clemson (Wiley, 2013).

Please feel free to propose a paper that is unrelated to the above prompts, should you wish to do so.

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words. In addition to the proposal requirements, this section expects the final manuscripts to be submitted to Ann and Jacob by Friday, February 26, 2015, and should be no more than 2,500 words. In the proposal e-mail, please include your name, title, and institutional affiliation (if applicable), as well as why you felt the SR session would fit for your particular proposal. You may reach out to Ann or Jacob at the e-mail addresses below if you have any other questions or need assistance.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Jacob Goodson (Acting Chair, 2015–2016)
Southwestern College

Ann Duncan (Cochair)
Goucher College

Nauman Faizi (Student Rep.)
University of Virginia

Theology, Aesthetics, and Art

We welcome proposals for papers broadly related to the field of theological aesthetics or the theme of this year's conference theme of Why We Are Here: Aims and Practices in Religious and Theological Scholarship Today. In particular, what are the trajectories of the study of theology, aesthetics, and art in today’s turbulent academic times? How is the study of these entities changing? What is the point of study in these areas in today’s intellectual milieu? Papers not specifically related to the conference theme will also be considered.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Brendan Sammon (Chair)
St. Joseph’s University

Daniel W. McClain (Cochair)
Loyola University Maryland

Matt Moser (Cochair)
Loyola University Maryland


This section invites paper proposals from those scholars who are interested in the life and thought of Søren Kierkegaard. If you are interested in submitting a paper to this specialized section, please send your proposal to:

Lee Barrett (Chair)

Wildcard: Religion of the Americas

This wildcard session invites proposals related to the distinct diversity and complexity of religion in the Americas. Proposals may address these themes in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following:

  • Memory in the recovery, reconfiguration, and construction of diaspora religions;
  • Borderlands, contact zones, global media, and other trans-national religious ecologies;
  • Comparative studies of the liberationist theologies (and their critics) of the Americas;
  • Festivals, pilgrimages, deportations, gangs, cartels and religious trafficking;
  • Indigeneity and translation of religion in the Americas;
  • The trans-Pacific and/or trans-Atlantic emergence of religion(s) in the Americas; and
  • The “Americas” as colonial and/or postcolonial religious construal

We welcome a variety of methodological, theoretical, and disciplinary approaches to proposals related to religion in the Americas. Paper proposals on other topics relating to religion in the Americas are also encouraged.

Submit proposals to ALL:

Garry Sparks (Cochair)
George Mason University

Harold Morales (Cochair)
Morgan State University

Elias Ortega-Aponte (Cochair)
Drew University

Thank you for your interest in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion. We hope you will join us for this year’s annual conference!