Call for Papers: Secularism and Secularity Group, the AAR and SBL Meeting in Atlanta, GA, November 21-24

Atlanta Skylines of and from Atlantic Station

Secularism and Secularity Group CFP

Deadline: Monday, March 2nd, 2015, 5:00PM EST, via

Statement of Purpose: 

This Group seeks to explore a set of questions associated with secularism, secularity, and secularization — questions that pertain to the shifting relationship between “the religious” and “the secular” — to the changing role of religion in law, politics, and public life, to the metamorphosis of personal identities, practices, and affiliations (figured as religious, spiritual, secular, or otherwise), and to a broader set of historical transformations that have conditioned and been imbricated in these and other changes. The Group seeks to promote and enable more sustained interdisciplinary engagement among scholars of secularism, secularity, and variously conceived forms of “nonreligion.”

Call for Papers: 

In its first two years, the Secularism and Secularity Group has explored the secular and its precarious, shifting boundary with religion. We now aim to take stock of its lacunae. Our group is especially interested in papers that investigate the secular’s complicated relationship with race and sex/gender. What new spaces has the secular opened up for women and people of color, and what new barriers has it created? What forms of activism does the secular enable that are not available in spaces governed by religious norms, and what forms does it foreclose? How does the divide between secular and religious map onto different kinds of feminism and struggles for rights and recognition? In turn, how do critical analyses of race and sex/gender disrupt that divide? And why are self-avowed nonbelievers disproportionately white and male? We invite paper and session proposals that engage these and related questions through original historical or social scientific research.

We also welcome papers that explore any of the following areas:

• Humanisms, religious and secular, historical and contemporary.

• The role of the secular in effecting a distinction between economic and religious spheres. For instance, how do “private” and “public” become constructed as religious and secular in the discourse and practice of economic development? And how does law work to disrupt or reinforce these distinctions?

• The spiritualization of the secular and the secularization of the spiritual in the context of health, healing, and medicine. For instance, how are certain “spiritual” practices being integrated into “secular” medical settings, and how has secular medical research influenced spiritual and religious practice?


For more information, or to be added to the group’s email list, contact the group’s co-chairs, Joseph Blankholm and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, at [email protected].

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