The Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary, in conjunction with the biannual meeting of the Collectif d’Anthropologie et d’Histoire du Spirituel et des Affects, invites paper proposals for an interdisciplinary conference on the theme “Preaching as Performance.” The conference will take place October 26-28, 2018 at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Preaching and its impact as a cultural form of not only religious but also social, political, literary, and aesthetic value has become a growing area of scholarship. This conference aims to foster research on the anthropology and history of religious teaching and public communication by providing an occasion for the interdisciplinary and comparative analysis of preaching as a performance event. We welcome papers focused on any religious tradition or historical period that explore some aspect of the way preaching uses theatrical, material, sensory, linguistic, and affective resources to produce religious sentiment, form religious subjects, and transmit doctrinal messages.

Suggested areas of focus include but are not limited to:

  • Content – Relationship between sermonic genres and liturgical, political, or religious events in different traditions and periods.
  • Scene – The locations and environments of preaching.
  • Audience – The relationship between preaching and audience response and performance.
  • Preacher – The training, performance methods, self-presentation, and reputation of those who preach.
  • Affect – The emotional impact of preaching and its environment (crowds, venue, music, special effects, etc.)
  • Props – The use of objects to activate the senses, augment the preacher’s message, or facilitate devotion during the preaching event.
  • Distractions – Internal or external obstacles to retaining audience attention and strategies adopted to enhance or promote preaching or the preacher.


Papers can be submitted in either English or French. (Note that although written communications related to the conference will in most cases be bilingual, some portions of the program will be in English, such as the welcome and keynote addresses.) Proposals of one page or less (including the author’s biographical information) should be sent by May 1, 2018 to the following email addresses: and


Dr. Joy Palacios, University of Calgary
Dr. John Vanderspoel, University of Calgary
Dr. Emmanuelle Friant, Université de Montréal
Dr. Anne Régent-Susini, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3