Call for Papers

Call for Papers and Proposals

The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), in cooperation with the India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are excited to announce an international conference on the theme of mountains and sacred landscapes.

Since its founding in 2006, the ISSRNC has promoted critical inquiry into the complex relationships between human beings, the religious dimensions of their cultures, and the environments which they inhabit and from which they evolved. This year’s conference will feature a series of special presentations based on recent field research by the India China Institute’s Sacred Himalaya Initiative on the intersections of religion, nature and culture.

The conference seeks to critically explore the ways in which the idea of sacred landscapes is entangled with diverse communities, with particular attention to mountain landscapes. The conference will feature interdisciplinary dialogue about what kinds of meanings shape, and are shaped by, the effects of climate change, mass extinction, human population growth and ecological degradation of mountains, forests, rivers and other sacred landscapes.

As we enter the new geologic epoch that scientists and scholars are referring to as the Anthropocene, diverse global mountain communities have begun to face growing social, economic, political, and ecological challenges. Melting glaciers, shifting agricultural patterns, conflicts over mining and resource extraction, risks to livelihoods, and the consequences of increasingly erratic global climate change pose unknown future challenges to many sacred landscapes, including mountain communities and ecosystems around the world, as well as the human and non-human beings that rely on them.

We invite scholars from all disciplines, including environmental history and environmental studies, science studies, anthropology, philosophy, political science, religious studies and geography, to submit proposals related to sacred landscapes.

Proposals may address any of the following themes:

  • ~Challenges and opportunities for sacred landscapes in the 21st century
  • ~Theoretical and/or religious conceptualizations of place, space, and landscape
  • ~Negotiation of community, climate change, and mountain spirituality
  • ~Traditional/local knowledge and its effects on social and ecological justice
  • ~Ecosystem sustainability and the future of mountain and forest people
  • ~Ecosystem destruction and the fate of the non-human community
  • ~Mountains as diverse ecosystems and sites of religious negotiation
  • ~Manifestations of the sacred in diverse landscapes
  • ~Negotiating environmental challenge through ritual practices

This year’s conference explicitly seeks to disrupt the conventional “three people reading papers” session. We seek innovative and unconventional proposals from all fields for this interdisciplinary conference. We invite proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, round-tables, interactive workshops, conversations, and alternative formats. We are also proposing two experimental TEDx style presentations of 10 minutes with 5-7 presenters.

Submission Guidelines

Monday, October 10th by 5:00 pm EST is the deadline for paper and panel proposals. Submission guidelines, the travel aid application process and details about requesting Visa letters are posted above. The conference paper submission form is at the bottom of the page. CFP and conference-related questions and inquiries can be directed to:

Participation Requirements for Presenters

All presenters must be members in good standing of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture and registered for the conference by March 1, 2017. All scholars interested in religion, nature and culture are encouraged to support the Society by joining or renewing at the ISSRNC membership page.

Conference Registration, Travel and Housing

Information about conference registration, fees, lodging and transportation in New York City will be updated later this fall. Please check back for updates.


Presenters and session organizers are encouraged to submit their articles for publication, or their sessions for special issues, to the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (JSRNC).

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