SAR Call for Pitches

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) column in Anthropology News invites submissions that convey short stories about religion inspired by fieldwork, popular media, or current events. Accepted submissions will be published in 2024 and 2025.

Anthropology News publishes engaging anthropology for a general audience rather than inward-facing scholarly discussions. “Vivid description, captivating tales, and adventurous forms of writing are at the heart of what we do. Think short-form magazine-style stories with scientific bite—low on jargon, high on storytelling.” Submissions for our SAR column can take the form of a short essay (up to 1600 words and 3 high-res imagesor a photo essay (up to 600 words and 8 high-res images).

If you are interested, please submit your 250-word pitch to Angie Heo (email:, write “SAR pitch 2024” in the subject heading). A successful pitch includes: 1) promising elements of a story (e.g., character, event, site, experience, etc…), and; 2) their overall connection to the anthropological study of religion (broadly conceived). If you wish to submit a photo essay, please also include 2 photo images in your pitch. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

SAR Election Results

The SAR welcomes three new additions to the board and two returning board members who will serve terms from November 2023 to November 2025, following the AAA meetings in Toronto in November 2023.  The new members of the board include Jacob Hickman (BYU), who will serve as Treasurer, and Elayne Oliphant (NYU) and Michael Edwards (Cambridge) will serve as members-at-large. Angie Heo (Chicago) and Candace Lukasik (Mississippi State) will return for their final terms as members-at-large.

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.”

CFP: 2023 SAR Biennial Conference

2023 SAR Biennial Conference

Theme: “Religious Assemblages”

A signature contribution of the anthropology of religion has been to reveal both the overt and covert ways in which religious practice both informs and can be conjoined to myriad other domains of social life.  From James Frazer’s interrogation of the pagan roots of Christianity to Saba Mahmood’s insights about the implicit Christianity of liberalism, the anthropology of religion has revealed assemblages of religious forms and practices with other forms and practices that superficially appear to be devoid of religious influence.

The 2023 SAR Spring Conference highlights this enduring contribution and build on it by emphasizing this critical perspective in the study of religion at-large.  We seek to showcase disciplinary and interdisciplinary work to highlight and develop understanding of religion both as a lived practice and a category.  The conference will be held in person.

Call for Papers

By focusing on religious assemblages we call for papers that underscore how, although religion is sometimes marginalized from other aspects of modernity, religious discourses and practices can be dissociated from older historical formations and re-combined with new elements.

Among the questions we seek to address are: How are religious practices conjoined to practices that appear on the surface to be irreligious? How is religion evident in domains that claim to be secular or irreligious?   How do religious traditions amalgamate influences from other traditions that appear to be discrete? How do actual experiences of lived religion depart from orthodox religious traditions?  How are modern institutions and forms invested with spiritual significance?  How can greater attention to the ways in which religion infuses myriad aspects of contemporary social life facilitate initiatives of decolonization and indigenization?

In addition to research on religion broadly conceived, we seek papers focused on secularism and liberalism, religion at the boundaries of other domains of social life, the relationship between religion and race/ethnicity, indigeneity, class, gender, colonialism, decolonization, and religious formations of white supremacy and ethno-nationalism.  The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2023.  Information on submission can be found here:

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).

Call for the 2022 Student Paper Prize

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) is pleased to announce its graduate student paper prize competition, which is aimed towards 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 2022 AAA meetings in Seattle to obtain 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 2022 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 Alisa Perkins ( and Candace Lukasik ( by August 30, 2022. Papers must be written in English, and should be no more than 30 double-spaced pages, including abstract, bibliography, and notes, and in 12-point font. Please write “SAR Paper Prize Submission” in the subject line of the email. Limit of one submission per person. Students who have applied before are welcome to apply again.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

SAR 2023 Biennial-SAVE THE DATE

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion biennial conference will be held May 12-14, 2023 at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia.

Please mark your calendars now and watch for the call for papers, which will be forthcoming this fall.

It will be our first in person conference since 2019 so it will be a wonderful opportunity to get together in person again. As an added bonus, Victoria in May is lovely—an environmental marvel that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetimes!

Call for the 2022 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion
A section of the American Anthropological Association

announces the 2022 juried competition for the


The Geertz Prize seeks to encourage excellence in the anthropology of religion by recognizing an outstanding recent book in the field.  The prize is named in honor of the late Professor Clifford Geertz, in recognition of his many distinguished contributions to the anthropological study of religion.  In awarding the Prize, the Society hopes to foster innovative scholarship, the integration of theory with ethnography, and the connection of the anthropology of religion to the larger world.


Any single-authored or co-authored book focusing on the anthropology of religion, broadly defined, is eligible for the Prize. Edited volumes, textbooks, and reference works are not eligible, nor are works in which religion is a secondary subject. The book’s author need not be an anthropologist by profession, but the work should draw on and respond to research and theory within the anthropology of religion. Books must have a publication date of 2020 or 2021. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered.

The prize will be awarded at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November 2022.

Submission Guidelines

If you would like your book to be considered, please ask your publisher to contact me at To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please contact me via email. Deadline for submission of books is:

April 1, 2022

James S. Bielo
Chair, 2022 Geertz Prize Committee