Divinity School Essay Contest

Essay Contest on Race and Religion

How have religious traditions historically helped conceptualize the category of race, its predecessors or analogues? How have these traditions produced or reinforced hierarchies of racial difference, or conversely, helped combat such hierarchies? In what ways and to what ends have dominant structures of power (state bureaucracies, colonial courts, scientific laboratories, capitalist modes of valuation, forms of militarism, policing, and incarceration, religious authorities, etc) racialized the practitioners of specific religious traditions? How have racism and religious discrimination become enmeshed with other forms of violence? What resources do religious practice and thought offer for overcoming racism? 

As the historical legacies of racism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination continue to persist in our contemporary world, such questions demand increasing attention from scholars in the study of religion. To this end, the University of Chicago Divinity School invites submissions for an international essay contest on Race and Religion. 

We welcome contributions from graduate students at the master's and doctoral levels in any field in the humanities, social sciences, or divinity, and graduates and early career scholars who obtained their PhD no earlier than 2016 (or, if a terminal MA, MDiv, or equivalent, a graduation date of no earlier than 2016). 

Essays should be 5,000-10,000 words in length, draw on original research, exhibit awareness of contemporary debates on race and religion, and formulate a contribution to these debates. 

The winning essay will be awarded $2,000 and an opportunity to deliver a lecture at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Essays in second and third-place will be awarded $500 each. Up to six finalists will be invited to participate in a publishing workshop alongside senior colleagues to revise their entries for publication.

The deadline for submissions has now passed.

 For questions, please contact Sarah Hammerschlag (sehammer@uchicago.edu) or Alireza Doostdar (doostdar@uchicago.edu).