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.