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Call for Papers: Sociology of Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion

American Academy of Religion Annual Conference
Atlanta, Georgia
November 21-24, 2015

Sociology of Religion Group

Call for Papers:

The Sociology of Religion Group (SOR) aims to bridge the gap between sociology of religion and religious studies. For the most part, these fields have been isolated from each other with scholars from each existing in separate departments, attending different meetings, and publishing in different journals. We believe that this cloistering has hindered the development of both fields and that only a cross-fertilization that transgresses departmental boundaries can foster progress in research. Therefore, we invite scholars from both sociology of religion and religious studies to submit innovative papers pushing the boundaries of both fields.

We are open to both panel and paper proposals across a wide range of topics of interest to both the sociology of religion and religious studies and are particularly interested in papers, which speak to both thereby encouraging increased dialogue between them.

Theory, Method, and their Application

Sociology of Religion as part of a larger discipline is marked by a canonization of its theory and its division by paradigms and methodologies–whether these be the classics (Weber and Durkheim), the old paradigm (functionalism and social constructionism), or the new paradigm (rational choice) on the one hand or quantitative, qualitative, or historical-comparative sociology on the other. As it intersects with sociology of religion, the study of religion has drawn from theories and methodologies in conversation with sociology, anthropology, critical theory, psychology, history, and other related disciplines. We are interested both in papers that utilize the theories of religious studies and bring them into the sociological canon as well as those that help religious studies gain a better grasp of the sociological theory of religion. We encourage papers that exploit both the theory and methodology of sociology of religion and religious studies and use them as frames for analysis of concrete cases. In particular, we request papers that touch upon social divisions examining race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, region, age, etc.

Internationalism and Diversity

Critics of sociology of religion have pointed out that the field is dominated by North Americans scholars primarily interested in Protestantism. The discipline of religious studies provides a clear antidote to these perceived limitations. Therefore, we encourage contributions from academics not only studying Protestantism in North America but those who study the various religious traditions around the world. In particularly, we would like submissions from scholars from all academic ranks across the lines of nationality, region, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.


Below is a list of potential topics in which we are interested. These are merely suggestions, and we are open to a broad range of topics as discussed above. Suggested topics are alphabetized to indicate no particular preference. We encourage submissions on any topic deemed relevant.

  • Critical Religion
  • Critical Sociology of Religion
  • Critical Theory and Religion
  • Feminism and Religion
  • Marxism and Religion
  • Postcolonialism and Religion
  • Queer Studies and Religion
  • Religion and Class
  • Religion and Conflict
  • Religion and Environmental Sociology
  • Religion and Gender
  • Religion and Ideology
  • Religion and Inequality
  • Religion and Political Power
  • Religion and Social Stratification
  • Religious Movements and Social Movements
  • Religion and Race
  • Secularization Theory
  • Sociology of Islam

Co-Sponsored Session

“No Method to the Madness? Sociological Approaches to the Study of Black Expressive Cultures”

We request paper submissions for a possible co-sponsored session with the Critical Approaches to Hip Hop and Religion Group. Topics should explore theory and method in the academic study of religion, in particular, sociological approaches to religion, with attention to race and class in urban contexts, in the domains of hip hop and black expressive cultures. We encourage proposals that consider/make use of varying cultural practices/data, cartographies and formats. The interpretation of cultural products and the analyses that come to bear on them have a tendency to rely on “meaning” (and religion) as/in self-evident ways. As such, this session proposes to wrestle with the challenges faced, overcome and unearthed through the scholarly handling of such materials through sociological/social scientific means.


The Sociology of Religion Group of AAR regularly co-sponsors panels with the peer-reviewed print and online journal Critical Research on Religion (CRR) ( Published by SAGE Publications, over 2500 libraries worldwide have subscriptions to the journal. Presenters of promising papers in SOR panels will be invited to turn their papers into articles and submit them for peer review to CRR.


Please submit paper and panel proposal through on-line system at:

Proposal Deadline: March 2, 2015

For further information, please contact SOR co-chairs: