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The Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought Unit seek papers dealing with the State of the Field. What is the state of American Pragmatism? More specifically what are the current directions in the field regarding race, gender, capital, ecological ethics, etc? What are the possibilities and limitations within the tradition regarding new developments in religious studies, political theology, etc? We are particularly interested in papers that deal with the following themes:

Papers on John Dewey, Jane Addams and social justice and the limitations regarding race, gender, sexuality, poverty and culture.

Papers on the State of American Pragmatism relative to epistemology in the Trump-era (or post-Trump administration) challenge to ‘truth’ and ‘facts.’

Papers on Pragmatism, Imagination, and American culture. What America means post-COVID, current social justice issues.

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to foster the advancement and understanding of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions in American religious thought, as well as the intersections of those traditions with other methodologies, intellectual figures, artistic movements, communities, and issues. This Unit is concerned with critically interrogating, evaluating, and developing the insights and relevance of the pragmatic and empiricist traditions of American thought, broadly construed, for the study of religion and theology, with attention both to the historical interpretation of ideas and contemporary developments within this critical sphere of philosophical and theological reflection. Recent areas of interest include pragmatism and democracy, the continued relevance of empiricism to the revival of pragmatism, multidisciplinary aspects of the tradition (intersections with other fields of inquiry), overlaps with cultural criticism and analyses of gender and race, and the application of pragmatic and empiricist analyses to contemporary problems.

Method of Submission:




Karen Rucks, karenl.rucks@charter.net

Joseph Winters, joseph.winters@duke.edu


Steering Committee:

Michael R. Fisher Jr., michael.fisher@sjsu.edu

Tyrone C. Ross, tcross@temple.edu

Jason Springs, jspring1@nd.edu

Thurman Willison, ttwillison@gmail.com


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2024