The Bible in American Life: CFP



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Call for Papers:  The Bible in American Life
Conference: 6-9 August 2014, Indianapolis, IN

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis welcomes individual paper proposals on the topic of the Bible in American Life. Focusing on how Americans past and present have used the Bible in their daily lives, the conference (6-9 August 2014 in Indianapolis) will be interdisciplinary in nature, with scholars from various perspectives offering analyses from historical, cultural, sociological, and theological approaches, among others.

Thanks to a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture will cover travel, lodging, and food expenses related to the conference. Additionally, authors will receive a $1000 stipend for participation in the project. More details below the fold. 

The culmination of a three-year study, the conference will have as its touchstone The Bible in American Life Report, which will be released in February 2014. This report, the result of survey questions on both the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study III, offers sociological data about the role of the Bible in the daily lives of Americans. Conference papers need not interact with the report directly, but we encourage proposals that consider some of the report’s findings in their larger historical, cultural, sociological, or theological contexts.

The Bible in American Life Project seeks to provide the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life. It is driven by the recognition that though the Bible has been central to Christian practice throughout American history, many important questions remain unanswered in scholarship, including how people have read the Bible for themselves outside of worship, how denominational and parachurch organizations have influenced interpretation and application, and how clergy and congregations have influenced individual understandings of scripture. These questions are even more pressing today as denominations are losing much of their traditional authority, technology is changing people’s reading and cognitive habits, and subjective experience is continuing to eclipse textual authority as the mark of true religion.


We welcome proposals for papers (20-25 minutes) that focus on some aspect of Americans’ reading and use of scripture outside formal worship services. Papers that complement one another and expand on the historical and cultural understandings of the report will be published in a collected volume. Paper proposals must include a general overview of the argument and evidence to be presented in no more than three pages and a short CV (3 pages). Deadline for receiving proposals is March 14, 2014. Proposals should be sent electronically to raac@iupui.edu; please use “Bible in America” as the subject heading.

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