Call for Papers: African Religions in the Americas Conference

Call for Papers
African Religions in the Americas Conference
University of Chicago Divinity School
May 20th-May 22nd, 2016

Like its disciplinary ancestors, twenty-first century scholarship on African religions in the Americas continues to grapple with the relationship between its two geographical and cultural referents and the role of religion in that complex set of associations. This conference will explicitly and critically address these topics by turning its gaze to the field itself.  Thus, we seek papers in which participants use their own research to answer questions such as:
  • Does the field of “African religions in the Americas” actually exist?  If so, to what should it address itself?  By what methods, theories, themes, and concerns is it bound and how might those boundaries be in need of re-location?
  • What constitutes the “African” in African religions in the Americas?  
  • How does “Africa” figure as historical reality, religious symbol, and/or an actual or mythical homeland for African religions in the Americas?  
  • What is distinct about the religions of the African diaspora in the Americas?  Can they be studied in the same ways and to the same ends as other religions of the Americas?   
  • How has the study of African American religions in the United States complicated the field?
We welcome papers that focus on any number of methodologies, geographies, and traditions, provided that they explicitly address the issues highlighted above.  We are especially interested in papers from advanced graduate students and new scholars. Please note that all participants selected for the conference will be provided with a minimum stipend of $300.

For those interested in applying to the conference, please submit paper abstracts of 400-500 words and a CV to by December 15, 2015.   Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decisions by January 1st, 2016.

This conference will be held at the University of Chicago Divinity School on May 20th to May 21st, 2016. Sessions will take a workshop format in which all selected papers will be read in advance of the discussion, with a brief, informal response offered at the beginning of the session to incite conversation.  In addition, two moderated roundtable discussions about future directions of the field (for which there are no pre-arranged readings) will be held on the evenings of May 20th and 21st.  In keeping with the collaborative structure of the conference, there will be no keynote speaker.


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