Sociology of Religion Group, American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, Texas, November 19-22, 2016


Statement of Purpose:

The Sociology of Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion serves
as a bridge between religious studies and the subdiscipline of sociology of
religion. It functions as a two-way conduit not only to import sociological
research into religious studies but also to export the research of
religious studies into both the subdiscipline and the broader field of
sociology. Only through a cross-fertilization transgressing departmental
boundaries can there be breakthroughs in research in both fields. The group
has a wide conception of sociology of religion. It is open to a
multiplicity of paradigms and methodologies utilized in the subfield and
sociology more broadly: theoretical as well as empirical, quantitative,
qualitative, and comparative-historical. By liaising with other Program
Units, the Sociology of Religion Group is able to bring the rich diversity
of critical and analytical perspectives that are housed in the American
Academy of Religion into mainstream sociology of religion. Conversely, it
aims to provide scholars of the study of religion with a deeper
understanding of the landscape of sociology of religion.

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 methods and theories in the
study of religion 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 who study the various religious traditions
around the world as well as those studying North American religious
communities. In particular, we would like submissions from scholars from
all academic ranks across the lines of nationality, region, race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.


Call for Papers:

The Sociology of Religion Group (SOR) invites 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. In particular, this year’s CFP expresses interest in the following

• Following the theme of AAR’s 2016 annual meetings, the Sociology of
Religion Group invites papers that address the multi-dimensions of
“Revolutionary Love.” This includes but is not limited to love communism
(or the communism of love), brotherly/sisterly love, or love as an impulse
for social change. Conversely, it could include the inverse hypothesis –
where love is not revolutionary at all but is egoistic or narcissistic
(self-love), where revolutions are not based on love but on hate, where
love is harmful and tears down dreams rather than build them up. Finally,
papers could contain a synthesis addressing the contradictory impulses of
revolutionary love – e.g. paradoxical reflections of the religious adage to
love thy enemy.

• Social and Religious Movements and/or Social Movements Theory and
Religious Movements Theory

• Competing Canons within the Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies

• Theory and Methodology including issues of reproducibility, validity, and

• Religion and the Public Sphere

• Religion and Education including but not limited to “Religion and
Education in Pluralistic Societies” or “Religion and Education in the
Postsecular Age.”

• In a co-sponsored paper session, the Quaker Studies Group and Sociology
of Religion Group invite proposals on normative religious identity and
notions of the ‘true Church.’ We are interested in papers that utilize
sociological theories and methods in the analysis of this topic. We are
particularly interested in the following questions: What mechanisms do
religious groups use to establish normative identities, particularly
against deviants or schismatics within their own group? How is ‘membership’
and ‘authenticity’ counted and measured? What types of authority are used
to sustain particular identities and how are these operationalized within
the group? How are notions of ‘the world’ constructed and sustained, and
how are these notions adapted when they no longer serve their original
purpose (for example during the processes of denominationalization or
internal secularization)?

• The topics mentioned above are meant merely as suggestions. We encourage
submissions of all papers that utilize sociological theories, methods, and
questions in their analysis of religion. We are particularly interested in
papers that address issues of inequalities of race, class, ethnicity,
gender, sexual orientation, or those that utilize critical paradigms
including but not limited to critical theory, Marxism, feminism, queer
theory, post-colonialism, post-structuralism, and environmentalism.


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 2600
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.


Deadline for Submissions: Tuesday, March 1, 2016



Rebekka King (Middle Tennessee State University)
Warren S. Goldstein (Harvard University)

Steering Committee:
Afe Adogame (Princeton University)
Courtney Bender (Columbia University)
David Feltmate (Auburn University)
Volkhard Krech (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Katja Rakow (Universiteit Utrecht)
Randy Reed (Appalachian State University)