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Working Group

Each year at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion, ATRE gathers people together around another theopoetics-related theme, facilitating a panel discussion, providing a venue for presentation, and encouraging dialogue. Many of the presentations given at working group meetings have ended up in issues of THEOPOETICS.

Intent and Theme

Each year there is a recurring intention to explore the mutual influence and effect of theology with imagination, aesthetics, embodiment, and the arts. The working group meets to address the impact of employing embodied, non-propositional poetics in the exploration of theological practice and scholarship. Additionally however, each year there is a particular thematic focus to guide proposals and presentations. The yearly themes are all listed in the Working Group Papers section.

Proposal Process

In the early-to-mid summer there is an open call for proposals for a theopoetics working group meeting during the following year’s meetings of the American Academy of Religion. In keeping with the oft times non-standard perspective of theopoetic thought, both the selection process and the meeting itself with be in formats notably different from traditional academic conference engagement.


Proposals accepted need not be limited to academic theology papers: sociological research, creative non-fiction, films, etc. could all be feasible as well, however all proposals should be A) substantially grounded in an engagement with the role of the poetic in faith and/or religious practice, B) be able to be shared in advance with the panel, and C) be created for considered inclusion in an issue of the journal THEOPOETICS (authors/creators maintain copyright and have an opportunity to revise after the meeting). Panelists and all interested panel attenders will be provided with access to the accepted pieces at least three weeks prior to the event.

Submission and Selection

Proposals should consist of an abstract – no longer than 500 words – detailing the nature and content of your proposed offering. Of particular interest are the field(s)/discipline(s) from which your perspective originates and specific authors/artists/poets/ideas/etc. that you will engage.

Once all proposals are received they will be uniformly formatted without names and made available to everyone who submitted: submitters will themselves be the jury of peers by which proposals will be evaluated. Each person who submits will select the three other proposals that most interest them, and the four proposals generating the most interest among the group will be the panel. The intent here is to allow for a more equitable and egalitarian selection process.


We annually meet for two hours, during which time a panel of four individuals is each given 15 minutes to highlight key topics from their papers/projects. At the close of their presentations the panel is opened up to a dialogue format in which panelists and attenders are encouraged to engage in conversation emerging from ideas presented. At the participants’ discretion, the meeting may be recorded for archival, thus making it accessible to those for whom traveling to the conference is not feasible.


Contact editors here.