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Section Chairs

Section Chairs

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 (available in September, 2010) linked from the call for papers page

The deadline for submissions for the 2011 conference is January 2, 2011.

Section Chairs serve a three year term, re-newable 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 regional President, Thomas Pearson (pearsont@wabash.edu)

See the By-Laws (linked on the left margin of this page) for more information on the duties of the Section Chairs.

SEEKING NOMINATIONS for the following section chairs:
Teaching Religion

Click HERE for more Information on the nomination process.

Thank you.

Section Chairs

Arts, Literature, and Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that examine the intersection of religion and the arts, broadly defined to encompass the visual arts, architecture, literature, cinema, theatre, and dance in both their fine and vernacular manifestations.

Chair:    Kristin Schwain
Department of Art History and Archaeology
109 Pickard Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-3366

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.

Chair:    Dustin Byrd
Assistant Professor of the Humanities
Olivet College

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.


William E. Smith III
Department of Religious Studies
230 Sycamore Hall
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

History of Religions

Solicits proposals for papers and panels investigating any aspects of religions other than Christianity from an historical, anthropological, sociological, or other social scientific perspective.

Chair:    Brian J. Clites
Northwestern University


Chair: Lauren E. Osborne
U. of Chicago Divinity School


Religion and American Culture

Solicits proposals for papers and panels exploring social, cultural, and historical aspects of religion in the Americas, and 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.

Chair:    John Schmalzbauer
Dept. of Religious Studies
Missouri State University
901 S. National Avenue
Springfield, MO 65897
(417) 836-5918

Religion and Sacred Texts

Solicits proposals for papers and panels on the nature of sacred texts from a wide variety of religious traditions, especially those that study what makes these texts “sacred,” what makes them “texts,” and how they originate and function in their religious and cultural settings.

Chair:    Steve Young
McHenry County College
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012
(815) 455-8686

Religion, Ecology, and Culture

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that explore the dynamic interrelationships of religion, ecology (environment, nature, animals), and culture, including those that seek to understand religious responses to, and analyses of, the ways in which human and nonhuman species relate to their natural environments.


Amanda Baugh
Department of Religion
1860 Campus Drive, Crowe Hall
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60208
(210) 683-5293

Hayley Glaholt
Department of Religion
1860 Campus Drive, Crowe Hall
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60208
(847) 869-5622

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.

Chair:   Michael Nichols
P.O. Box 915
Department of Religion and Core
Saint Joseph's College
Rensselaer, IN. 47978

Special Topics

Solicits proposals for papers and panels not appropriate for other sections; preference will be given to those that focus on the annual conference theme or on teaching in religious studies. This year's meeting theme is: "Teaching Religion." Proposals might include analysis of your classroom experience, but the topic might also encompass how religious institutions teach their traditions, how religion is handled in the public school system, or the media, as well as the practices and politics of the academy broadly considered.

Chair:    Scott R. Paeth
DePaul University
2333 N. Racine Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 325-4447

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.


Sarah Imhoff
Visiting Assistant Professor
Borns Jewish Studies Program, Indiana University
223 Sycamore Hall
Bloomington, IN 47401

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.

Chair: C. Hannah Schell
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Monmouth College



Solicits proposals for papers and panels in all areas of theology—broadly defined as critical reflections on the transcendent, the human relationship with the divine, and all related questions and issues.

Chair:    Amy Carr
Department of Philosophy and Relgious Studies
Western Illinois
456 Morgan Hall
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 298-2507

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 undergraduates on any topic regarding religion.

Co-Chairs:    Forrest Clingerman
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Ohio Northern University
525 S. Main Street.
Ada, OH 45810

Ellen Posman
Religion Department
Baldwin-Wallace College
275 Eastland Road
Berea, OH 44017
(440) 826-2176

Gender and Religion

Solicits proposals for papers and panels that explore the many ways that women imagine and construct religious identities, experience religion in their everyday lives, and interpret symbols, myths, and rituals; other topics, including questions of methodology, in the study of women and religion are also welcome.

Chair:    Mary Ellen Konieczny
Department of Sociology
University of Notre Dame
815 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 631-2781