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Call for Papers: Implicit Religion Conference 2020 – “Implicit Religion, Race, and Representation”

In support of the UCU strike we are extending the deadlines for the UK and US IR conferences to March 31.

This conference takes place against the backdrop of increased political authoritarianism and a noticeable rise in racial and religious intolerance across the world. Yet we increasingly find ‘race’ being dismissed or diminished as a category of oppression within wider social problems, dynamics, and understandings such as class, and at the expense of understanding the lives, cultures, and histories of people of color (Bhambra, Fields & Fields, Gilroy, Hill Collins, and Heng.) To understand how assertions of identity function at the same time as racism, nationalism, and exclusion we need to view these developments as intertwined with religion and in the development of definitions of religion and religiosity (Nye, Weisenfeld, and Moultrie.) The burning of the Amazon, attempts to lay pipelines in North Dakota, or conduct scientific experiments on indigenous sacred lands and responses to other acts of neo-colonialism might be productively analyzed in terms of race, religion, and implicit religion.

Respectability politics has a significant role in the interaction between race and religion and so must be brought into analysis with those categories (Pitcan.) For centuries people of colour, Jews, Muslims, Indigenous peoples, and Black Atlantic Religions have been denied the status of respectability whilst simultaneously having to continue to conform to white, Christian norms in attempts to attain that status (Long, Rafiq, and Eddo-Lodge.) How can we acknowledge these problematic lenses but also move beyond them? Can we productively talk about how race functions (or has functioned) in societies in terms of commitment, integrating foci, and intensive concerns with extensive effects, the three axioms of Implicit Religion?

Implicit Religion was founded in the UK and as such is shaped by the social history of it, which includes colonising lands and peoples, the slave trade, selling arms and having a punitive relationship with immigration. As such then it is important that we consider how race and racism has influenced, shaped, and interacted with Implicit Religion. It is also important that we ask ourselves what role the axioms of Implicit Religion can play in future analyses with race and representation, be that in academia or public life.

Presenters are invited to submit abstracts for consideration on the theme of “Implicit Religion, Race, and Representation”. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Presence, absence, and resistance in representations of race
  • New social movements, resistance, and counter movements (civil rights, indigenous rights, anti-apartheid movements, Black Lives Matter, Say Her Name etc.)
  • Womanist analysis, thinking, being, and doing
  • Agency and social otherness
  • Embodying and embracing difference
  • Technologies (visual, material, and sound) and racial categories in culture
    memory and the formation of identity
  • Racialisation of religion and religious racism
  • Methodologies for decolonising teaching and curricula in the study of religion
  • Political and religious authoritarianism: past, present, and future

Proposal Submissions

We invite submissions for proposals for either a paper or a scratch session on these themes, elaborated below (CFP-UK-A4), for #IR43, May 15-17th, at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK, by 31 March, 2020.

The submission form is now available. You will be asked to indicate if you are submitting a paper or scratch session, and to provide an abstract (with references to secondary literature and sources) and other information as specified below, and what we need to know in order to accommodate your participation if your proposal is accepted.

Please note while you can edit your entries before you select the submit button, the form does not allow the submission to be saved and edited later. We suggest looking at the form for context and then composing the abstract and the notes regarding accommodating your participation in a word processing document and then cutting and pasting these elements of the proposal into the form.


Please select the option “Paper” on the form. Those
submitting papers are asked to submit an abstract of no more than 400 words.


There will be a dedicated panel for undergraduates, MA and early stage PhD students to present at – called a scratch session. These will be shorter papers and rather than the usual practise of asking questions of the presenters, the audience will make suggestions for further reading, pathways for improvement, scholars to explore etc. If you wish to apply for the scratch session, please select that option on the submission form and submit a 250 – 300 word abstract. 


The 2020 Edward Bailey Lecture, “Designing for Humans, Designing Research on Human Subjects: Race, Representations, and Rights” will be delivered by Dr Ipsita Chatterjea, Executive Director of the Study of Religion as an Analytical Discipline Workshop.

Please note we are a small organisation and as such are not in a position to provide bursaries, travel grants or funds for visa applications. We can provide you with an official letter of invite and a subsequent letter of participation if your university or funding body requires it or if it is necessary for travel or visa requirements.


  • Baker, Kelly J. Gospel According to the Klan, The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930, Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2011
  • Bhambra, Gurminder. Decolonising the University, London: Pluto Press, 2015.
  • Eddo-Lodge Reni. Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
  • Fields, Karen E., Barbara Jean Fields. Racecraft : The Soul of Inequality in American Life. London ; New York :Verso, 2012.
  • Gilroy, Paul. There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • ⏤  The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso, 2007.
  • Heng, Geraldine. The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Feminist Thought : Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990
  • Long, Charles H. Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion, Aurora, CO: The Davies Group Publishers, 1999.
  • Moultrie, Monique N. Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017
  • Nye, Malory. Multiculturalism and Minority Religions in Britain. Routledge Curzon, 2001.
  • Pitcan Mikaela, Alice E Marwick, and danah boyd. 2018. “Performing a Vanilla Self: Respectability Politics, Social Class and the Digital World.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 23 p 163 – 179
  • Rafiq Raifa. “Not Just A Black Muslim Woman.” in It’s Not About The Burqa, edited by Mariam Khan, London: Picador, 2019.
  • Weisenfeld, Judith, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration, New York City: NYU Press, 2016.