AAA 2023 Travel Grants Awarded

Ahead of the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, the Society for the Anthropology of Religion awarded four travel grants to scholars from groups underrepresented in the academy and those who do not have secure employment. The following presenters received funding to deliver papers at the conference in Toronto:

  • Valerio Di Fonzo, University of New Mexico, “Who is the Catholic Church? Examining the Practices of a Jesuit NGO in the Peruvian Amazon”
  • Marc R. Loustau, Springfield College, “‘The Means of Grace’: Toward a Weberian Social Anthropology of Catholic Bureaucracy”
  • Muhammad Osama Imran, University of Minnesota, “Breaths of Extimacy: Haunted Subjectivities and Free Submission in the Sufi Practice of Zikr”
  • Abdul Majeed Ottakandathil, McGill University, “Prefiguration of the present and reappearance of the past in the lives of converts to Islam in South India”

SAR Student Paper Prizes Awarded

At this month’s annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, the 2023 SAR Student Paper Prize winner and runner-up were announced as follows:

The winner was Irene Promodh (University of Michigan) for “(Un)Holy Gold: Arabi Ponnu and a Transregional Politics of Caste Among Kerala Christians.”

Irene Promodh receives the 2023 SAR Student Paper Prize from prize committee co-chair Britt Halvorson for “(Un)Holy Gold: Arabi Ponnu and a Transregional Politics of Caste Among Kerala Christians.”

The runner-up was Ray Qu (University of Virginia) for “How spirits hope? Embodied suffering, complex temporality, and an expanded spectrum of hope in North China.”

Ray Qu receives the 2023 SAR Student Paper Runner Up Award from prize committee co-chair Britt Halvorson for “How spirits hope? Embodied suffering, complex temporality, and an expanded spectrum of hope in North China.”

Travel Grant for Underrepresented and Underemployed Scholars Awardees

The SAR awarded travel grants of $500 to support the attendance and participation of three scholars in the 2022 AAA annual meeting in Seattle. Awards went to:

  • George Wu Bayuga of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs to present their paper “Queer Affect Abroad: Chinese Nuns and Remaking Catholic Worlds,” Panel title: Christian Possibilities and Asian Futures”
  • Aaron F. Eldridge, an Independent Scholar, to present their paper “A Topology of Aphanasis: Tracing the Non-Appearance of Lebanese Asceticism,” Panel title: “Ruin as Trace: Ethnographic Reckoning in the Aftermath of Destruction”
  • Zehra Mehdi of Columbia University to present their paper “Half Hindu, Half Muslim, full Indian: Working through Imagined Natives, Foreigners, and Imagined Others in South Asian Religious Homelands.”

Prizes Awarded at the AAA 2022 Meeting

Geertz Prize jurist Candace Lukasik presents Elayne Oliphant of New York University the 2022 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion for their book The Privilege of Being Banal: Art, Secularism, and Catholicism in Paris.
Candace Lukasik, SAR board member, presents Randeep Hothi of the University of Michigan the SAR Student Paper Prize award for their paper “The Massacre and Martyr(dom)s of Oak Creek: The Scale of Violence, Articulation of Agonisms, and Problem of Diaspora.”
SAR board member Candace Lukasik presents Justin Haruyama of UC Davis the SAR Student Paper Prize runner-up award for their paper “History Written in Advance: Christian Prophecy, Chinese-Zambian Relations, and Diffracted Modernity.”

Travel Grants for Underrepresented and Underemployed Scholars

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) will make five (5) awards of $400 each to scholars of color and underemployed scholars who will be attending the 2022 Annual Meeting in Seattle and will participating in SAR-sponsored panels. Scholars from groups underrepresented in the academy and those who do not have secure employment are welcome to apply.

To apply, please email the following three (3) documents to Daromir Rudnyckyj (, SAR President, by September 15, 2022:

  1. An accepted abstract for an SAR-sponsored panel at the AAA annual meeting.
  2. Notice of paper acceptance from the AAA.
  3. A personal statement outlining your current position/status, your doctoral degree date (or expected) and granting institution, and explaining why you fit the terms of the award (250 words maximum).

SAR Spring Virtual Conference CfP

Society for the Anthropology of Religion

Spring Virtual Conference

May 14-16, 2021

THEME: From Ethics to Politics

Abstracts due February 15, 2021

Rappaport Lecturer: Amira Mittermaier, University of Toronto

Download the SAR CFP Poster

For the last 20 years, many of the most influential and dominant conversations in the anthropology of religion have focused on ethics, morality, and the subject-making processes of religious practice. These conversations pushed the study of religious traditions – especially Abrahamic ones – to the forefront of anthropological consideration and theory-building after a period at the end of the 20th century in which religion was often seen as just an expression of economic or political forces. Defining religious practice as a subject-making force of its own, much of this work centered on people for whom religious identities had become foundational. But in focusing on subjects for whom religious subjectivities and ethical formations were impossible to ignore, not only were some of the more marginal members of religious communities left to the side, but some of the connections between religious practice and other domains of social life were at times demoted.

The 2021 SAR Spring Conference theme hopes to push back against this trend by soliciting current research on religious practices and traditions that highlight the connections linking religion and politics. How do theories of ethical subject-making help us to understand how religious subjects confront political projects? What other theoretical traditions might help to highlight how political and religious concerns interact without dissolving religion or religious practice as an object of study? How can concerns with race, gender, ethnicity, or class become more integrated into theories of ethics, morality, and religious subject-making?

In addition to research on religion broadly conceived, we are particularly interested in soliciting papers focused on the politics of ethics, religion at the margins of other domains of social life, marginal members of religious communities, religion and race/ethnicity, religion and gender, religion and class, religion and colonialism, religion and decolonization, or the religious formations of white supremacy.

We are soliciting abstracts for organized panels as well as individual papers, from graduate students, faculty, and scholars working outside the academy. Because this will be a virtual conference, we are especially interested in non-traditional formats for panels that will work well on a video conference platform. Registration costs will be announced at a later date, but they will be significantly reduced in comparison to other years, and we hope that this reduced fee and lack of travel will allow for scholars who cannot usually attend the SAR conference in person to participate.


Individual papers for 15-minute presentations can be submitted on their own. In addition, organized panels of various formats can also be submitted.

All panels will be 75 minutes long. For standard 15-minute presentations, this means 5 presentations per panel. However, other formats are welcome and can be indicated on the panel submission form. For roundtables, author-meets-critics panels, interviews, or other formats, paper titles and abstracts for participants are not required (but can be submitted if participants would prefer).

The conference will happen in several three-hour long blocks: US Central time 9am-noon (UTC 14:00-17:00); UC Central time 2pm-5pm (UTC 19:00-22:00); and US Central time 6pm-9pm (UTC 23:00-2:00).

How to submit abstracts:

If you are submitting an abstract for an individual paper (one that is not part of a panel), or if you are the organizer of a panel, abstracts can be submitted by using this google form.

If you are going to be a participant (but not an organizer) on a panel, please do not use the google form! Instead, send the information below to your panel organizer, who will input it when they submit the information for the panel as a whole.

  • Name
  • Email
  • Affiliation
  • Paper title (if it is a standard panel with 10- to 15-minute presentations)
  • Paper abstract (if it is a standard panel with 10- to 15-minute presentations)
  • Accessibility requests (optional, see below)

Rough timeline:

Last day to submit abstracts: February 15, 2021

Announcement of decisions about submissions: mid-March 2021

Registration opens: mid-March 2021

Conference schedule announced: early April 2021


If an author of an individual paper or a panel organizer makes accommodations requests for themselves or any participants on a panel, the Accessibility & Meetings Coordinator ( will reach out to you and help identify if current AAA accessibility protocols will meaningfully support your access needs and/or if additional accommodations are necessary and available. This will be done upon completion of the abstract submission form and prior to the review period. Participants are not required to disclose their disability (mobility, auditory, sight, sensory, etc.) or identity status (Disabled, Deaf, Autistic, Chronically Ill, Mentally Ill, etc.), but are welcome to do so if they believe this information will influence the later discussion surrounding their access needs and/or accommodation requests. Please note that participants will NOT be penalized in any way for indicating that they have access needs and/or accommodation requests related to providing a virtual presentation.

If panelists or authors of individual papers do not want to disclose accessibility needs at this time, there will be another opportunity when each participant registers for the conference that accommodations can be requested.

Download and share the official SAR Call for Papers Poster by clicking the image above, or following this link.

SAR Student Paper Prize

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) is pleased to announce its graduate student paper prize competition, which is aimed at encouraging emerging scholars to write compelling ethnographies on religion. This prize is intended to foster theoretically significant, ethnographically rich work by students at an early stage of their career.

The prize includes a cash award of $250 for the winning paper, which might be recommended for publication in Religion and Society. There will also be a $100 cash award for the runner up. SAR will continue its mentorship program that will pair select graduate student finalists with faculty mentors. Finalists will have an opportunity to meet with their mentor at the 2020 AAA meetings in St. Louis to gain valuable feedback on revising their papers for publication.

At the time of submission, authors must be graduate students in anthropology or a related field in a university anywhere in the world and must be a member of SAR. Finalists will be notified early in the fall semester and paired with a faculty mentor before the 2020 AAA meetings. Winners will be publicly announced at a special mentorship reception, where finalists will be invited to present their work with commentary from their mentors. Winners and finalists will also be recognized at the SAR business meeting.

Interested graduate students are invited to submit their previously unpublished, original and polished work to Courtney Handman ( and Ana Mariella Bacigalupo ( by May 15, 2020. Papers must be written in English, and should be no more than 10,000 words inclusive of all notes, bibliography, figures, transcripts, and abstract. Please write “SAR Paper Prize Submission” in the subject line of the email. Limit of one submission per person.