Call for Papers
Identity has become a highly contested topic in recent years, epitomized by mass movements such as Black Lives Matter, #metoo and the movement for LGBT+ rights. Diversity has increasingly become an equally contested ideal, encompassing both individual rights and group identities defined by race, ethnicity, gender or religion. At the macro-level, identity and diversity relating to culture and religion have been used in various nationalist and postglobal discourses around the world. On the local level a number of campaigns and social movements across the world rally behind the same types of symbols and ideologies of identity and diversity.
As influential social phenomena, identity politics and diversity management have also had an impact on academia, especially in the social sciences and the humanities. Gender studies, black studies, Afro-American studies, queer studies, intersectional studies and Critical Race Theory have criticized the privileged positions of whites and men, just like Orientalism, postcolonialism and decolonial studies have questioned the skewed power structures based on Western colonialism, enlightenment philosophies and Eurocentrism. In some American and European universities, scholars and management have responded with manifestos, public letters and campus campaigns to what they perceive as structural racism, whitewashing of university curricula, Islamophobia and cultural appropriation. Such initiatives have generated counter-movements and warnings that academic freedom and freedom of expression are being undermined in the name of campus ‘wokeness’. Long before these debates, however, the academic study of religion in the tradition of Religionswissenschaft has been a target for criticism in postmodern and identity-focused discourses and various postmodern turns, exposing ethnocentric and Protestant biases as color-, gender-, culture- and religion blind universality. Western and Protestant models have been deconstructed and challenged by relativist strategies presenting religions and cultures as more dynamic and fluid, while another revisionist deconstruction of contemporary identity perspectives insists on discourses of difference and re-essentialized and re-racialized understandings of religious and cultural identities.
For this special issue of Implicit Religion we are interested in articles critically analyzing and discussing the impacts of identity politics on the study of religion, and the challenges it raises.
Some of the potential topics may include the following:
- How has identity politics had an impact on the general study of religion?
- How does the new ‘identity turn’ challenge or contribute to particular fields in the study of religion (e.g. particular religions or topics such as race, gender, diversity)?
- Can the academic study of religion accommodate subjectivist and activist studies while still doing comparative studies using ‘Western’ analytical concepts?
- Can ‘identity’ as a special category by analyzed through traditionally applied theories within the study of religion?
- How does the ‘identity turn’ relate to critical and discursive approaches to the study of religion?
We seek proposals of about 200 words and papers of around 6-8000 words. All submissions will undergo standard procedures of peer review. The deadline for abstracts to be considered as part of the special issue is November 31st, 2021. Full drafts should be submitted by February 28th, 2022, with publication aiming for October 2022. Full submission and formatting guidelines can be found at https://journal.equinoxpub.com/IR/about/submissions.