Religion in America: "Kindness"

deadline for submissions: 
October 20, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Religion in America Unit of AAR-WR

In light of the larger conference theme devoted to “Kindness,” the Religion in American section welcomes any and all submissions related to the study of American religion as it relates to “Kindness,” especially those that expand interdisciplinary approaches to the study of religion and offer new insight into the current state of religion in America.  
While “Kindness” is a term that lacks exact definition, it is often used in the contemporary moment to denote sentiments of tolerance, civility, and general spirituality. Within the context of American religion, “Kindness” has been used as a means of promoting ideas of diversity, pluralism, and inclusivity, as well as social and political activism. At the same time, the discourse of “Kindness” (i.e., “benevolence,” “rescue,” “love,” etc.) has been utilized to both control and oppress. For this reason, critiques of “Kindness” remain necessary. Among other approaches, a critical consideration of “Kindness” might look at how it is connected to narratives of the secular and secularization, or even “post-” narratives. We invite you to consider the following themes:

  • Kindness rhetoric as it relates to the current political climate in the U.S.
  • Kindness as related to “spirituality,” religion-as-ethics, and the various “post-” narratives
  • Critiques of Kindness as a source of morality and social control
  • The “Kindness of the King” -- sovereignty and the sovereign self
  • Religious education and the public discourse of Kindness
  • Appropriation of Kindness within New Religious Movements

Please submit proposals and participant forms to Nathan Fredrickson (, Cristina Rosetti (, and Konden Smith (

For further information and to see the cfp's of the other units, please consult the AAR-WR website: