Special Issue "Unitarian Universalism and Religious Liberalism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Dan McKanan

Emerson Senior Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Unitarian Universalism; intentional community; religion and the left; religion and ecology; anthroposophy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Unitarian Universalism and kindred traditions of religious liberalism are changing rapidly. Prophetic voices within Unitarian Universalism have highlighted the ways white supremacy has persisted alongside the denomination’s public commitment to anti-racism. Others, equally prophetic, have called for a more energetic response to the clergy sexual misconduct that has taken place in many congregations. Expressions of racial and gender-based violence in the larger society give additional urgency to these concerns. Meanwhile, levels of religious participation in the US and worldwide are declining, with uncertain implications for a movement that has often recruited new members from among those disenchanted by more conservative forms of religiosity. Amid all these changes, it is no longer possible to take for granted that Unitarian Universalism is a form of “religious liberalism.” Yet no alternative characterization has yet achieved consensus.

I am editing this special issue of Religions to give space for scholars who wish to reflect constructively on the message and identity of Unitarian Universalism and related traditions in this time of change. We seek scholarly essays in the fields of constructive theology, practical theology, and ethics. Essays may focus on such broad traditions as religious humanism, religious naturalism, process thought, liberation theology, liberal Christianity, and western Buddhism; they may also explore denominationally specific concerns.

Authors are encouraged to refer, as appropriate, to recent constructive works by such scholars as Rebecca Parker, Sharon Welch, Anthony Pinn, Thandeka, Michael Hogue, Pamela Lightsey, Jerome Stone, William Murry, Galen Guengerich, Stephanie Mitchem, Carol Wayne White, and others. Essays may do their constructive work in dialogue with recent historical scholarship on, for example, the cultural influence of religious liberalism (e.g. Leigh Eric Schmidt’s Restless Souls, Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Tracy Fessenden’s Culture and Redemption, and Tisa Wenger’s Religious Freedom) or the experience of Unitarian Universalists of color (e.g. Mark Morrison Reed’s The Selma Awakening and Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy, Nikki Taylor’s America’s First Black Socialist). We also encourage submissions that reflect the experiences of Unitarian, Universalist, and religious liberal organizations around the world, especially those that participate in the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists or the International Association for Religious Freedom.

Thanks so much for your attention, and I hope to see your submission!

Dr. Dan McKanan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Unitarian Universalism
  • religious liberalism
  • humanism
  • naturalism
  • process thought
  • liberation theology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
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