Call for Papers: Graduate Conference on Religion at Harvard Divinity School

This lull in DET productivity seems to be morphing into a season of announcements...

Some of you may recall my posting a year or so ago about a graduate student conference being held at Harvard. I even posted here at DET a contribution that I penned for their study booklet in lieu of attending. Well, it's time for another iteration. While I am no longer a graduate student and thus no longer eligible to participate, I wanted to do my part in getting the word out about this great opportunity for grad students from across a wide variety of theological disciplines to come together for cross-pollination.

I have included the official call for papers below in its entirety. A little more information is available at the meeting's website, and hopefully more will go up there as the event draws closer. If you are a graduate student in religion or theology, I heartily encourage you to consider submitting a proposal and attending this conference.


Graduate Conference on Religion at Harvard Divinity School
October 26-27, 2012
Harvard Divinity School
Cambridge, MA


The Graduate Conference on Religion at Harvard Divinity School invites paper proposals that interrogate the relationship between religion and epistemic practices. We seek projects representative of a variety of theoretical, methodological and disciplinary approaches, and that explore the nature, production and/or dissemination of knowledge, especially in relation to religious practices, subjectivities, identities, objects and authorities.

The conference aims at promoting interdisciplinary discussion of prevailing assumptions (both within and outside the academy) about the differentiation, organization, authorization, and dissemination of various modes of knowing and practice and different bodies of knowledge in relation to religion. We therefore welcome projects that utilize all sorts of theoretical tools including discourse analysis, gender theory, race theory, postcolonial theory, performance theory, and ritual theory. Papers may focus on a specific period, region, tradition, person or group, and/or on a set of practices, texts, doctrines or beliefs. Projects that are primarily theological, ethical, textual, historical, philosophical, sociological or anthropological are welcome, as are projects indebted to multiple disciplines.

Approaches to the conference theme could include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) an epistemological exploration of a specific way of knowing, being and engaging the world or particular discursive framework and its relation to different religious practices; 2) an historical, sociological and/or anthropological analysis of the cultural processes that support a specific religious or cultural discourse, its authoritative structures, and/or its strategies of inclusion and exclusion; 3) an analysis of gender, sexuality, race and/or socioeconomic class with respect to religious practices and performances; 4) a comparative examination of religious texts and/or their interpretations, with attention to the historical, sociopolitical, cultural, and/or intellectual contexts that mediate and delimit different interpretations; 5) an analysis of the interplay between religion and scientific, moral, and/or legal discourses and authorities; 6) a theological construction or analysis of a particular normative proposal, which critically and/or comparatively engages one or more religious traditions.

Sumbission Details

Proposals are to be submitted to


by Friday, June 29, 2012.

Please include with your proposal the paper or panel title, presenter’s name, email address and institutional affiliation. Notification of accepted proposals will be emailed out by July 20th.


Individual Paper Proposals: Please submit a 300-word proposal explaining the topic, main argument and methodology of the project. Individual papers will be organized into panels and should not exceed 20 minutes in delivery.

Panel Proposals: Proposals for pre-organized panels on a particular topic may include 3-5 papers. Please submit the following: 1) a 300-word summary of the focus and purpose of the panel and how each paper contributes to the panel’s theme; 2) a 300-word proposal for each paper as explained above; 3) the name and contact information of the panel organizer and the panel chair. (The panel can be chaired by one of the presenters. Also, discussants and chairs can be added to the panel after it is accepted)

Roundtable Discussions: Proposals for a pre-organized roundtable discussion should include 4-5 participants (one of whom will chair the discussion). Participants do not prepare papers but instead provide an overview of a current issue in a particular field of scholarship. The participants’ aim should be to engage the audience in an active and open discussion of a particular issue. Proposals should include a 500-word description of the specific issues to be addressed, precise enough to indicate the scope and intent of the discussion. Also, each participant should include a 250-word statement detailing her/his own approach to the topic under consideration.



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