ATHE 2019 - Religion and Theatre Focus Group Call for Papers

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) - Religion and Theatre


Religion and Theatre Focus Group Call for Papers 

Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference

Orlando, Florida

August 7-11, 2019


Scene Changes: Performing, Teaching, and Working through the Transitions


For a religion to thrive, it must constantly evolve in response to the scene changes taking place in the world at large. Alongside the ATHE 2019 conference call to engage theatre and performance in moments of transition, the Religion and Theatre Focus Group seeks scholarship and artistry that respond to the constantly evolving study of religion and spirituality. As theologian Timothy Tseng has argued, changes in the contemporary moment have “necessitated biblical and theological reinterpretations that [are] sensitive to cultural and historic contexts” (The Future of Evangelicalism in America, 2016, p. 196). In other words, instances of cultural and societal change stimulate religious transitions in a variety of ways, from approaches to religious practice to major shifts in theology.

In keeping with the overall conference theme of “Scene Changes,” and continuing pertinent discussions about Revolution/Revelation from last year’s conference, the Religion and Theatre Focus Group seeks proposals for individual papers and full panels that highlight the (r)evolutionary tendencies of religion. How is religion changing? How is performance integral to such change? What is the correlation between revolution and evolution? How might these changes be used to create a force of good in the world? What are the negative side effects of religious change? And how does performance highlight the way we think about religious scene changes?


Proposed sessions might address:


  • General changes and/or transitions in religion and religious studies 
  • Religion and Evolution: the sacred embracing the profane
  • The relationship between culture and change 
  • Modes of performing religious evolution
  • The syncretism of religious thought 
  • The commodification/commercialization of religion through performance 
  • The role of popular culture in the development of religion 
  • Changes in religious literacy


Submission Deadlines: 

Interested participants may apply in two ways: 

  1. Submit an abstract (250-300 words) for individual papers to Joseph D’Ambrosi at by October 21, 2018. 
  2. Submit a complete panel proposal to the ATHE conference website by November 1, 2018. 


Full Panel Submission Guidelines 

To submit a full panel proposal, navigate to the ATHE 2019 Proposal Form on (under the Conference tab). Fill out all necessary items including a session title, a brief description of the session, and a full abstract (300-word limit). Unless your panel is multidisciplinary in scope, select “Single Focus Group Session” and choose Religion and Theatre as your focus group sponsor. Applicants will be notified of their status by February 15, 2019. For more specific instructions on the proposal process, please visit


Questions or concerns? Contact Religion and Theatre Focus Group conference planner Joseph D’Ambrosi at