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The Religion and Social Sciences Unit (RSS) invites proposals for papers and research projects that address the introspective turn to the theme of the 2021 conference: Religion, Poverty and Inequality: Contemplating our Collective Futures, which continues with previous presidential themes on research, writing, and thinking about religion and the American public. We welcome proposals that address the following:

1.) Ritualistic behavior in/at sites of memory related to Black Lives Matter and other domestic and international protest movements (i.e. immigration). The opportunities and limits of traditional religious communities in this time, seeking to re-imagine and practice just and equitable forms of community that draw on new rituals, ideals, and practices very much rooted in a kind of spirituality in response to COVID-19, anti-black racism, and the pressures facing people of color more broadly.

2.) The ways in which COVID-19 has altered congregational life, such as virtual forms of worship, and the ability to build community and care for the most vulnerable, etc.

3) Social scientific theorizing and analysis of the nation state's responsibility toward citizens with respect to preserving constitutional and other forms of freedom.

4) Response of evangelical communities to COVID-19, its social implications, its implications for religious freedom, and its implications for the relationship between religion and science.

5) Religion, Race, and social justice in Southwest region, with a specific focus on social science research emerging that sheds light on the tensions and transformations and challenges facing Latinx communities including those at the southern border. In the wake of the election, the experience of Latinx communities and how religion may or may not be informing political views and social desires.

We encourage proposals to be creative and to not be bound by the traditional read-aloud paper, rather to offer mixed methodology presentation styles such as Prezi, visual imagery, and sound.

Mission Statement:

This Unit supports scholarship at the intersection of the social sciences — including psychology, ethnography, sociology, political sciences, economics, and cultural studies — and religious or theological studies. Topic areas include the study of religious and theological questions through specific social scientific methodologies, the contribution of religious and theological approaches to the work of social scientific disciplines, and comparative assessments of current issues by humanities-based and social scientific methods.

Method of Submission:


Anonymity of Review Process: Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection. Please do not include any identifying information in the body of your proposal.



Nichole Phillips, nichole.r.phillips@emory.edu

Sara Williams, sara.williams@emory.edu


Steering Committee:

Amanda Baugh, amanda.baugh@csun.edu

Jeffrey Guhin, guhin@soc.ucla.edu

Kathleen Jenkins, kejenk@wm.edu

Kristy Nabhan-Warren, kristy-nabhan-warren@uiowa.edu

Rachel Schneider, rsv2@rice.edu

Kristen Tobey, kristentobey@gmail.com


Session Allotment: Tier 4 – Two 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2022