Call For Papers

Click above for Call for Papers PDF

** The Call for Papers is now CLOSED. **

The Religious Studies Department of Northwestern University invites graduate student papers for a conference on “Sovereignty and Strangeness,” to be held in Evanston, Illinois on October 19-21, 2018.

This conference aims to explore the constitutive relationship between sovereignty and that which is strange, queer, or illegible. How might the language of sovereignty be useful for thinking about power in religious or secular contexts when spiritual communities, charismatic individuals, and state institutions make claim to and perform supreme authority over populations and territories? And how might the language of strangeness help trace the disruptive potential of places, practices, and bodies that exceed the logic of sovereignty? Such questions converge in talking about queer and trans* materialities, racialized cosmologies, gender troubles, cultic communities, and liberation theologies, to name just a few examples. This conference hopes to put two intellectual currents — studies of sovereignty and studies of strangeness — into conversation in ways that open these terms up to new and unexpected meanings.

Possible paper topics include:

  • Cults, Fanaticism, and the Surveillance of “Dangerous” Religions
  • Homophobia and Homonormativity in the War on Terror
  • Queer Futurity and Dystopian Desires
  • Celebrity Worship and the #MeToo Movement
  • Monstrosity and the Fantastic in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Black Lives Matter and the Limits of Liberalism
  • The Glass Closet and Black Sexual Cultures
  • The Women’s Marches and the Politics of Pussy Hats
  • Tibet and the Religious Affects of Self-Immolation
  • Ceremonies of Possession and Protest at Standing Rock
  • Spiritualized Nationalisms and Eschatologies of Occupation
  • Disability, Debility, and Capacity
  • Feminist Killjoys and Complaint Biographies

We seek burgeoning scholars from academic disciplines, including but not limited to:

Religious Studies   African / African-American / Black Studies   Anthropology   Art History   Asian Studies   Chicana/o / LatinX Studies   Comparative Literature   Critical Race Studies   Cultural Studies   English   Gender / Women’s / Sexuality Studies   History   Indigenous Studies   Jewish Studies   Linguistics   Media / Theatre Studies   Middle Eastern Studies   Performance Studies   Philosophy   Political Science   Sociology


We are no longer accepting submissions for the conference. Thank you for your interest!