Call for Papers

2019 Annual Meeting
 October 25-27, 2019 | Hyatt Regency at the Arch, St. Louis MO


Engaging with Scholarly Research on Religion

Since its inception, members of the Religious Research Association have studied religion from a variety of academic disciplines, using a broad range of social scientific methodologies. Our findings have profound implications, not only for religious leaders and practitioners, but also for the larger public sphere. Societies today face challenges of increased religious heterogeneity, contested boundaries between religious freedom and state authority, increasing suspicion of religious institutions, and a host of other concerns. Often, however, potential audiences are unaware of our research and how it could inform the challenges they face. In part, this may be because other, as yet unstudied, issues occupy their attention, or it may be due to a lag in our ability to use newer media outlets to disseminate our research. The 2019 RRA annual meeting will explore how we can bridge the gap between the religious challenges facing denominations and societies today, and a more widespread awareness of how our research could assist in addressing them.

Presentations, panels and roundtable sessions are welcome at this meeting on all topics related to the social dimensions of religion and particularly on topics related to applied and organizational aspects of religion, which reflect the traditional focus of the RRA. In addition to sharing research findings, this call also encourages presenters to share experiences, strategies, and best practices in disseminating research to applied audiences.

Key topics for this meeting include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How has public discourse on religion changed in the United States in recent years? What
    impact have the 2016 presidential election and recent Supreme Court decisions had on
    discussions of religion in the public sphere?
  • How have churches and denominations reacted to the increased public suspicion of societal
    and religious institutions, such as in the news media? How do demographics (race, gender,
    education, among others) factor into these reactions and responses?
  • In what ways do media outlets, both religious and secular, engage with scholarly research?
    What can scholars do to disseminate their ideas beyond the academic world?
  • How have you seen your own research used in the public sphere? Have you made purposeful efforts to get your research into the hands of “ordinary” people, and if so, how?
  • How does social media impact scholarly research and dissemination on religion? Does social
    media introduce new tools or data sources to study religion from different perspectives?
  • What is the relationship between the topics academics study and the topics religious
    congregations are interested in? Does scholarly research contribute to change on local levels?

Please submit the paper and session proposals through the online portal, choosing the RRA option on the submission form.

Submissions of sessions and individual paper proposals opens on February 1, 2019.
Submissions close on March 31, 2019. Decision notification is on April 30, 2019.
Please direct questions to the 2019 RRA Program Chair, Gina Zurlo, at