Coming Out Religiously

Religion, the Public Sphere, and Religious Identity Formation

REA Annual Meeting 2013

8-10 November, Boston, Massachusetts

REA2013 Call

Call for Papers


2013 Annual Meeting of the Religious Education Association
(An Association of Professors, Practitioners, and Researchers in Religious Education)
November 8-10, 2013
Westin Waltham Boston
Waltham, MA


Coming Out Religiously: Religion, the Public Sphere, and Religious Identity Formation

From Siebren Miedema, President-elect and Program Chair:

At the end of the 20th cen­tury most of the for­mer defend­ers of the so-called sec­u­lar­iza­tion the­ory had to acknowl­edge that this the­ory was false. As an off­spring of the Enlight­en­ment Project, the the­ory stated that mod­ern­iza­tion of soci­eties nec­es­sar­ily leads to the decline of reli­gion in soci­eties and in the life of indi­vid­u­als. How­ever, in contrast to developments in the 1960s and ‘70s, religious growth has been more per­sis­tent and on a larger global scale than was expected. The dra­matic events of ‘9/11’ have given an extra impe­tus to the debate on the place and role of reli­gion in the pub­lic sphere, nation­ally and globally.

At the level of polit­i­cal the­ory there is the pos­i­tive reac­tion to the return of reli­gion in the pub­lic sphere (Haber­mas; Tay­lor; deVries; Joas), but also the neg­a­tive reac­tion from the side of rad­i­cal sec­u­lar­ists and new athe­ists (Cli­teur; Dawkins). These debates have an imme­di­ate impact on the view of the posi­tion, the role, as well as the func­tion of reli­gious and/or world­view edu­ca­tion in state and denom­i­na­tional schools.

  • Should reli­gious edu­ca­tion be banned from or neglected in public schools, or should reli­gion and world­view become part of the core cur­ricu­lum of such schools?
  • Should the state stop financ­ing denom­i­na­tional schools because reli­gious edu­ca­tion is a pri­vate mat­ter? Here the rela­tion of state and church, as well as the rela­tion of reli­gion and state is at the fore.
  • Should all schools recognize that citizenship education necessarily includes teaching about and from an approach that aims at the religious/worldview identity formation of the students?
  • In what way do reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties fos­ter the iden­tity for­ma­tion of its chil­dren and young peo­ple with an eye on their par­tic­i­pa­tion in social and pub­lic spaces?

These are the press­ing ques­tions in the changed national and global con­texts that need to be addressed by reli­gious educators.

The asso­ci­a­tion wel­comes pro­pos­als for research papers, col­lo­quia, and work­shops that address these issues as well as the fol­low­ing addi­tional research and ped­a­gog­i­cal questions:

  • Should each gov­ern­ment, within its par­tic­u­lar national con­text, take the political-pedagogical respon­si­bil­ity to stim­u­late religious/worldview iden­tity for­ma­tion of stu­dents in ele­men­tary and sec­ondary schools?
  • What role do media (radio, TV, news­pa­pers), polit­i­cal par­ties, asso­ci­a­tions and reli­gious and world­view com­mu­ni­ties play in these debates?
  • Which per­sons, groups, asso­ci­a­tions and com­mu­ni­ties are specif­i­cally excluded when reli­gion is privatized?
  • What can we learn from his­tor­i­cal case studies?
  • Is there a link­ between par­tic­u­lar stances in these debates and cer­tain ped­a­go­gies? How do we eval­u­ate this?
  • What exam­ples of ‘good prac­tice’ could we as an Asso­ci­a­tion pro­vide as a fruit­ful con­tri­bu­tion to these debates?


Guidelines for Submitting Proposals

Step 1: Determine the type of proposal.

Once you have an idea of a topic that inter­ests you, deter­mine which type of pro­posal you wish to sub­mit.  There are four types of pre­sen­ta­tions at the annual meeting.

Research Inter­est Group (RIG). A fin­ished paper of pub­lish­able qual­ity is pre­sented and dis­cussed among a group of con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants. If your pro­posal is accepted, the final paper must be sub­mit­ted by Sep­tem­ber 16th

in order to be posted in the REA Annual Meet­ing Proceedings.

Col­lo­quium. Emerg­ing research, research-in-progress that may lead to a pub­lish­able paper, or cur­rent prac­tices and pro­grams is pre­sented to and dis­cussed among a group of con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants. Since this for­mat is less for­mal than the pre­sen­ta­tion of a paper, con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants come to hear a pre­sen­ta­tion and then are led in dis­cus­sion. While the early sub­mis­sion of an out­line is encour­aged, it is not necessary.

Work­shop. A highly inter­ac­tive ses­sion engag­ing con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants in schol­arly and prac­ti­cal resources or approaches sup­port­ing the mul­ti­ple prac­tices of reli­gious edu­ca­tion. These ses­sions are facil­i­tated and led by the pre­sen­ter. They may increase aware­ness or enhance per­for­mance of spe­cific reli­gious edu­ca­tion prac­tices. The con­texts for these prac­tices vary widely and may include faith com­mu­ni­ties, class­rooms, or other set­tings. While the early sub­mis­sion of an out­line is encour­aged, it is not necessary.

Posters. A pre­sen­ta­tion using words, graphs, charts and tables on a poster (space 90 cm wide and 120 cm high) put on a poster board dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar times­lot at the con­fer­ence, that might be com­bined with the use of dig­i­tal media pre­sented on the author’s own lap­top. This pre­sen­ta­tion will allow the author to meet and speak infor­mally with inter­ested par­tic­i­pants and gen­er­at­ing active dis­cus­sion of research done, still con­tin­u­ing or in prepa­ra­tion, thus stim­u­lat­ing exchange of ideas and net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. This format offers an oppor­tu­nity for both estab­lished and young researchers.

Step 2: Write your proposal.

The pro­posal begins with a 600 char­ac­ter (approx­i­mately 150 word) abstract. You then have an addi­tional 1,000 words to make the case for your proposal.

  • For RIG papers, include main points, method­ol­ogy (e.g., literature-based, qual­i­ta­tive or quan­ti­ta­tive research, his­tor­i­cal, or insights from our com­mu­nity of prac­tice), and a selected bib­li­og­ra­phy (e.g., two or three pri­mary sources ground­ing your work).
  • For col­lo­quia, include main concepts/issues, method­ol­ogy for address­ing the topic, gen­er­ally the sources ground­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, and the sta­tus of the research at the time of the proposal.
  • For work­shops, include con­text, main concepts/issues, practice(s) being addressed, con­text of those prac­tices (e.g., faith com­mu­nity, higher edu­ca­tion, wider com­mu­nity, schools), out­line of the work­shop (sequence of top­ics and meth­ods), resources pre­sented and used.
  • For posters, include con­text, materials/methods and research process, results, con­clu­sions and dis­cus­sion, and core references.

Step 3: Submit your proposal.

The deadline for proposal submissions was  15 May 2013.

Step 4: Wait for notification of acceptance.

Notification of your proposal’s acceptance status to the Annual Meeting program will be sent by Monday, 17 June 2013.

Participation requirements at the Annual Meeting:

You do not have to be a member of REA to submit a proposal. However, if selected to present, presenters must renew for upcoming membership year as well and register for the meeting.

Persons may submit no more than two proposals in response to the Call for Papers.

Audiovisual Requests:

The REA rec­og­nizes the impor­tance of using dig­i­tal equip­ment dur­ing pre­sen­ta­tions. How­ever, costs for rent­ing this equip­ment at a hotel are pro­hibitive. We encour­age par­tic­i­pants to bring and share a per­sonal or depart­men­tal LCD pro­jec­tor and lap­top.  Alternatively, ana­log equip­ment such as over­head pro­jec­tors, etc., is avail­able to rent at the participant’s cost.  There is a place to note your audio­vi­sual needs in the pro­posal sub­mis­sion form.

Important Additional Information Regarding Research Interest Group Papers:

Research Inter­est Group pre­sen­ters will receive a copy of the Guide­lines for Con­trib­u­tors to the jour­nal Reli­gious Edu­ca­tion. Your Pro­ceed­ings must be no longer than 3000 words (plus ref­er­ences), sin­gle spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman Font, 1” mar­gins all around. (Pre­sen­ters of Col­lo­quia and Work­shops are not required to con­tribute a paper although they may wish to sub­mit mate­r­ial for post­ing on the web­site for par­tic­i­pants in their groups.)

Completed RIG papers for the program must be received in electronic format (‘doc’ or ‘pdf’) by the Executive Secretary Lucinda Huffaker (reaappre [at] msn [dot] com) no later than 16 September 2013. PAPERS NOT RECEIVED BY THAT DATE WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE PROCEEDINGS AND WILL BE CANCELED FROM THE ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM. Unless otherwise requested, all papers will be posted on the website prior to the meeting. Proceedings will be distributed to participants as they register at the meeting.

RIG papers that were pre­sented at the meet­ing may be revised and sub­mit­ted, post­marked by Jan­u­ary 2, 2014, to the Call for Papers Com­mit­tee, which will act as a peer review jury for the con­fer­ence issue of Reli­gious Edu­ca­tion. Selected papers are rec­om­mended for pos­si­ble pub­li­ca­tion and sent to the edi­tor of the jour­nal, who then makes the final selection.


For questions about the Call for Papers, please write to:

Dr. Ted Brelsford
Chair of the Call for Papers Committee
theodore [dot] brelsford [at] emory [dot] edu

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