Topics and Categories for Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion: NEH-supported mini-conference and essay collection

On March 18-20, 2022, nearly two dozen global-critical philosophers of religion will participate in a NEH-supported mini-conference that explores alternative sets of topics, methods, and aims for global-critical philosophy of religion. Presentations will later be developed as essays and collected into a volume to be published with Bloomsbury.

Since at least the European Enlightenment, the core topics of western philosophy of religion have consisted of the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, and the immortality of the soul. These topics are implicitly taken as natural or rational, even used in some cases as the fundamental categories for global philosophy of religion. Witness, for example, the multi-million-dollar “Global Philosophy of Religion Project” recently funded by the John Templeton Foundation at the University of Birmingham, which deploys the categories of existence and nature of deities, death and immortality, and evil and suffering in the world “to make progress on central issues in the philosophy of religion by incorporating multi-religious perspectives” ( But what if philosophy of religion had begun in some other place or at some other time? Would its core categories of inquiry resemble those of contemporary western philosophy of religion?

This mini-conference and essay collection addresses these questions, exploring what the core topics (as well as the methods and aims) of philosophy of religion might have been (or actually were or are) in socio-historical contexts, religio-philosophical traditions, and methodological-theoretical orientations other than contemporary, western philosophy of religion (especially in its analytic mode). In doing so this volume of essays challenges the implicit claim that the core topics of western philosophy of religion are somehow natural or rational and therefore well-suited for global philosophy of religion. It also provides a wealth of resources for those seeking to develop philosophies of religion with greater degrees of globality and criticality, and it offers inspiration for those seeking to reimagine different fundamental starting points and categories of inquiry for “global-critical philosophy of religion.”

For more information about the conference, especially about attending or participating, please contact Tim Knepper.


Bilimoria, Purushottama. Graduate Theological Union

Detwiler, Fritz. Adrian College

Dickman, Nathan Eric. University of the Ozarks

Dolinsek, Cody. Drake University

Gorisse, Marie-Hélène. University of Birmingham

Hustwit, Jeremy. Methodist University

Kalmanson, Leah. Drake University

Knepper, Timothy. Drake University – project director

Komjathy, Louis. University of San Diego

Kopf, Gereon. Luther College – project co-director

Loewen, Nathan. University of Alabama – project co-director

Moyo, Herbert. University of KwaZulu Natal

Ogunnaike, Ayodeji. Bowdoin College

Ogunnaike, Oludamini. University of Virginia

Park, Jin. American University

Patil, Parimal. Harvard University

Rostalska, Agnieszka. Ghent University

Schilbrack, Kevin. Appalachian State University

Simmons, J. Aaron. Furman University

Singh, Nikky. Colby College

Weed, Laura Weed. The College of Saint Rose