Contact Information

Roman R. Williams, Ph.D.

Calvin College
Department of Sociology
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

(616) 526-6026


SSSR 2017 Call for Papers Back to List

Call for Papers: 2017 Annual Meeting
Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC
October 13-15

Building on this year’s focus on the diverse public roles of religion, the theme of next year’s annual meeting of the SSSR is “Going Public: The Social Impact of Scientific Research on Religion.” Increasingly, funding agencies require researchers to include in their proposals knowledge transfer strategies or plans for ensuring that the research results have an impact on a broader public audience. A subcommittee of the American Sociological Association recently tabled a report on including the evaluation of public communication by university scholars as part of their assessment for tenure and promotion. How does thinking about public impact influence the way that we do research? Where do knowledge transfer strategies fit into the research process? How do we know if our research on religion makes a difference? And does it matter?

We invite proposals for individual papers or sessions that focus on various aspects of the process of translating the results of scientific research on religion to a variety of audiences beyond, and within, academia including religious individuals, groups and organizations; government and politicians; public service providers; educators; medical professionals and health care workers; therapeutic professionals; members of community agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the media, to name just a few.

Potential topics may include:
•     The use of diverse media including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, television, radio, social media, websites, and blogs;
•     The opportunities and challenges of new technologies;
•     Issues related to the process of knowledge translation;
•     Evaluating the impact of knowledge transfer strategies;
•     Collaboration with non-academic partners and stakeholders;
•     The promises and pitfalls of public engagement in shaping the research process;
•     The democratization of scholarly research;
•     The role of scholarly research in public debates about religion;
•     The development of policy guidelines;
•     Blurring of the lines between the scholarly and the public;
•     The rise of religious nones;
•     Diverse methods: visual, action-oriented, community-based, qualitative, and quantitative;
•     How diverse contexts of religious establishment influence knowledge transfer strategies;
•     The impact that the research of graduate students and emerging scholars is making;
•     The challenges involved in going public with scientific research on religion;

Of course, proposals for panels and papers on any topic in the scientific study of religion are welcome.

Submissions Open: February 1, 2017 (see
Submissions Close: March 31, 2017
Decision Notification: April 30, 2017

Please direct any questions to Catherine Holtmann, Program Chair, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada, E3B 5A3,

Copyright 2017 - Society for the Scientific Study of Religion