Diversifying the Social Scientific Study of Religion: The Next Seventy Years
he annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion provides scholars from across the social and behavioral sciences the opportunity to present their research, network with other scholars, meet with acquisitions editors from major publishing houses, and become familiar with current research. Each year SSSR meets jointly with the Religious Research Association (RRA) at the end of October or beginning of November. A typical annual meeting includes three plenary sessions, several receptions, and approximately 450 papers in 140 sessions over the course of three days.
At a time of unparalleled communication among societies; at a time when religion holds both the power to bring conflict and the power to bring peace; at a time when pluralism and globalization are recasting what it means to study religion; it is the right time to celebrate and champion nuanced diversity in the social scientific study of religion. We need studies that bring together scholars from different social locations and different disciplines in service of a deeper understanding of diversity. We need studies that examine how religion sits alongside, influences, and is influenced by other social locations, identities and institutions: social institutions where religion is important. We need studies that examine different nation and state contexts. We need studies that compare different religious traditions as well as understand the varieties of non-religion. We need studies that examine diverse publics as well as initiatives, which translate our research to and receive feedback from diverse publics. As we both critically examine the past while charting the vision for the future of the social scientific study of religion, we invite papers and panels that address some aspect of diversity in the social scientific study of religion.