On September 27-29, 2013, the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington will host a conference entitled “Religious Studies 50 Years after Schempp: History, Institutions, Theory.” Conference organizers have issued a call for papers:

Schempp_LogoFifty years ago the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in Abington v Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). While the case before the Court concerned the constitutionality of mandatory Bible reading in Pennsylvania public schools, the opinions in the case have come to be understood as the authorizing texts for the academic study of religion in public colleges and universities across the U.S. and beyond. The Court wrote that while prescribing religious exercises in public schools violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization” could be said to be a necessary part of a complete education.

The years following the Schempp decision witnessed a flourishing of departments of religion in public colleges and universities and an intense conversation about the appropriate approach to the academic study of religion in the U.S. context. Now, fifty years later, the anniversary of the decision provides an occasion for an appraisal of Schempp’s role and for a broader assessment of the past, present, and future of the field of religious studies. This conference will explore the impact that Schempp may have had on the comparative and multi-disciplinary nature of the study of religion as well as other significant influences on shifts in the study of religion over that time.

We invite proposals for papers across the disciplines of religious studies. While Schempp provides a focal point for the conference, we invite conferees to propose 20-minute paper presentations that consider the broader history and phenomenology of the study of religion in the multiple locations in which such study takes place, private and public.

More details here.