The Midwest Regional Conference is sub-divided into 14 Sections.

Conference paper proposals should be targeted to one of these broad sections listed below. If you have any questions about whether your proposal is appropriate for a particular section, please contact that section’s chair. If you feel your proposal does not fit into any of our current sections, you may submit it to the Special Topics section

Please do NOT send proposals by email attachment to the section chairs. Instead, please submit your conference paper proposal using the online system posted here, when the call to papers becomes active.

The call for proposals deadline for the Spring Regional Conference of 2018 is January 16, 2018.

Section Chairs serve a three year term, renewable by the Board for a second term.

If you are interested in serving as a Section Chair or proposing a new Section for the conference, please contact the Regionally Elected Coordinator or regional President. See Open Positions and Nominations for any current openings.

See the Policies and Procedures for more information on the duties of the Section Chairs.

Sections and Section Chairs

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that treat religion from anthropological or sociological perspectives. Proposals may approach the study of religion as a social institution in relationship to other social institutions and/or belief systems of a given culture. Proposals may also examine cross-cultural comparisons of formal and informal expressions of religion. Additional possibilities include (but are not limited to): religion, social movements, and social change; religion and popular culture; theoretical approaches and assumptions (including secularization); methodological approaches to the social scientific study of religion; religious identity and socialization; new religious movements; religion and inequality/oppressed groups; religion and social conflict; etc.

Jackie Rhoades, University of Indianapolis,


Ecology and Science in the Study of Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that explore the interrelationships between religion and all aspects of the natural world (understood as nature, cosmos, creation, environment, ecology, etc.). Encompasses subject matters and theoretical perspectives generally associated with the scholarly subfields of religion and ecology, religion and science, and religion and animals. Papers and panels may have a theological orientation or be identified as work in the academic study of religion.

Harrison King, Northwestern University,


Ethics and Philosophy of Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels dealing with ethical theory, applied ethics, moral theology, and other topics related to religion and morality, as well as papers dealing broadly with the philosophy of religion, such as questions of religious ontology, metaphysics, and epistemology.

Adam Hankins, Loyola University, Chicago,


Gender and Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that explore the intersections of religion, gender, the body and sexuality and how these meeting points create new places of exploration into the religious experiences of human beings as gendered, sexed, and embodied beings.  Proposals addressing the intersectionality of race, class, and gender/sexuality/embodiment and feminist approaches to the study of religion are especially encouraged.

Katie Deaver, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago,


History of Christianity

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that analyze any variety of Christianity from academic, historical, and social scientific perspectives. Proposals for papers that adopt theological, constructive, confessional, or faith-based perspectives should be submitted to either the Theology or the Ethics and Philosophy of Religion Section.

David Barbee, Winebrenner Theological Seminary,



Solicits proposals for papers and panels focusing on any aspect of the Islamic tradition, including its texts, history, or practices. Proposals may focus on any time period and be from any disciplinary approach, so long as the topic is capable of engaging scholars of Islam.

Matthew Kuiper, Missouri State University, 

Literature and Sacred Texts in the Study of Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that examine the intersection of religion and the arts, with a focus on literature (broadly defined to include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and dramatic works), as well as sacred texts from global traditions. The call also extends to papers and panels that address the connections between religion, sacred and/or secular literature, and the arts.

Tara Flanagan, Loyola University Chicago,


Material and Sensory Cultures of Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that explore the importance of materiality and sensory cultures as they are manifested in and encountered by religion and spirituality. This section welcomes submissions with an interest in religious art and iconography, embodiment, the visual arts, music and aural cultures, sensory encounters, architecture, and photography, with an emphasis on vernacular manifestations.  

Rachel Lindsey, Saint Louis University,

Religion and American Culture

Solicits proposals for papers and panels exploring social, cultural, and historical aspects of religion in the Americas, and of the United States in particular. Studies of religious traditions or ideas that are not specifically situated in, or related to, their manifestations in this geographical context are not accepted.

Kristen Tobey, John Carroll University,


Religions of Asia

Solicits proposals for papers covering textual, ethnographic, or other historical and cultural studies of the religious traditions of South, Southeast, and East Asia, consisting primarily of (but not necessarily limited to) Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Jason Fuller, DePauw University,


Special Topic Sessions: 2018

  • Alcohol in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – Alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and liquor, have played intriguing roles in human civilization from ancient times up to the present. In this Special Topic session(s) we will focus on the various places that alcohol has occupied in the practices and speculations of Jews, Christians, and Muslims through the centuries. For this purpose, we welcome both comparative papers and contributions centering on a single religious tradition. Papers may approach their subject from historical, textual, theological, anthropological, sociological, and/or psychological perspectives.
Vadim Putzu, Study of Judaism –
  • Teaching Religion and Violence – The Teaching Religion Section invites submissions the topic of teaching religion and violence. We invite scholars to reflect on the challenges and importance of teaching particular events, images, texts, and concepts (from recent mass shootings and contemporary terrorism to the Shoah to the history of slavery, colonization). We will be addressing this discussion to the broader questions of pedagogical practice related to student mental health and sustaining an inclusive classroom.
Spencer Dew, Teaching Religion – 

Study of Judaism

Solicits proposals broadly inclusive of Judaism and Jewish tradition. Panels and proposals may address textual studies, history concerning any time period from the ancient to the modern, theology, sociology, or anthropology of Jewish subjects.

Vadim Putzu, Missouri State University,


Teaching Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels on teaching practices (syllabi, assignments, classroom activities), the use of innovative pedagogies, challenges relevant to teaching particular courses, advising and mentoring, or reflections on (the joys and challenges of) teaching in our field.

Spencer Dew, Centenary College of Louisiana,



Solicits proposals for papers and panels in all areas of theology from within or about any religious tradition.  Theology here can be broadly defined as reflections on the nature of God, on humanity (including--in Christian language--sin, salvation, suffering, etc.), epistemology/theological method (i.e. how one knows or speaks of God), and related questions and issues. This section especially invites proposals that are constructive--that is, ones that make contestable claims about theology and theological method and so contribute to the ongoing work of theological reflection--rather than ones that are exclusively historical, descriptive, or comparative in nature.

Candace Kohli, Northwestern University, 

Undergraduate Students

Specifically designed for undergraduate students in the field of religious studies who wish to broaden their academic experience by presenting their research at a formal conference, this Section solicits proposals for papers by undergraduate students on any topic concerning religion.

Brian Smith, Ripon College,

Additional Topics

Solicits proposals for papers and panels not appropriate for other Sections. Preference will be given to those proposals that focus on the topic of the annual conference keynote (To be announced for 2018). 

Melissa Stewart, Adrian College,