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The “Religion & Public Schools: International Perspectives” program unit welcomes diverse approaches and methods, and always seeks to situate our papers and panels within global and comparative contexts. Our primary focus is on the many ways in which religion education is undertaken and understood in public/state schools. This year we are calling for papers/proposals on any of the following topics:

(1) Teaching about Religion in Texas
The 2021 Annual Meeting will take place in San Antonio, in a state that has been at the center of many legal, political, and theological debates about whether and how to teach about religion in public school classrooms. We invite scholars, teachers, and policymakers to present case studies and analytic papers that foster a better understanding of this context and a view of its future.

(2) How related academic fields contribute to the study of religion and education
The field of religion and education is interdisciplinary by nature, but is of course rooted in religious studies and education. This session would ask what forms of knowledge and understanding could be contributed by other related fields such as the cognitive science of religion, social psychology, geography, sociology, political theory, comparative theology, history.

(3) Religion Education, Religious Studies, and Economic Inequality
In connection with the AAR Presidential theme, these papers might ask: How does/can religion education relate to, reinforce, reframe, or alleviate poverty and economic inequality around the world?

Priority will be given to proposals that fit the above themes, but we will also consider other papers in our program unit’s general purview that are not tied to the above themes.

After we evaluate our paper and session proposals, our steering committee will organize one session of our own and one co-sponsored session with a program unit whose interests closely relate to the session themes.

Mission Statement:

This Program Unit promotes the global and comparative study of "religion education" in public schools around the world. By encouraging interdisciplinary research on the ethical, legal, political, pedagogical, and theological issues that arise with the study of religion in elementary and secondary schools, we seek to deepen our understanding of alternative approaches to religion as an academic subject. We also hope to find new ways of responding to the increasing religious diversity in schools and societies and to study the relationship between religious education and citizenship education in pluralistic democratic societies.

Method of Submission:




Angela Bernardo, angela.bernardo@uniroma1.it

Erik Owens, erik.owens@bc.edu


Steering Committee:

Vincent Biondo, vincent.biondo@humboldt.edu

John Camardella, john.camardella@d214.org

Satoko Fujiwara, sk_fuji@hotmail.com

Kate Soules, Ksoules@religionanded.com

Ingela Visuri, ivi@du.se

Marie Von Der Lippe, marie.lippe@uib.no


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2021