First Annual Conference on Information & Religion:
Research Frontiers in the Study of Information & Religion
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Brenda Dervin - "Spiritual Knowledge"

May 20, 2011
Kent State University, Kent, OH

Call for Papers

Web site: http://csir.slis.kent.edu


Sixteenth- through eighteenth-century definitions of "information," as found in the Oxford English Dictionary, spoke of "the shaping of the mind or character; communication of instructive knowledge" and linked such shaping to information about the conduct of life and the way to God and a reclaiming of oneself. These early definitions brought together the concepts of information and religion.

Various disciplines have studied religion. At the Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR), housed in the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University, an interdisciplinary approach is being used to facilitate research that is focused on the various institutions and agents of religion and their effect on social knowledge through the use, dissemination, and diffusion of information. The goals of the CSIR are (1) to investigate the importance of information in the religious world; (2) to understand the relationship between the information-seeking behavior of clergy and the body of knowledge that exists to serve their information needs; and (3) to advance our understanding of the role of information in religious practice. CSIR will host the First Annual Conference on Information and Religion in May 2011.

This call for papers seeks original contributions in all areas related to information and religion. The conference theme invites participants to share their work in a variety of areas that might be called "frontiers," where scholars are exploring the intersections of religion and information. Topics that might be addressed include but are not limited to the following:

  • The information-seeking behavior of clergy;
  • The role of the sermon as an influential communication medium in society;
  • The utilization of multimedia in sermon delivery;
  • Information in its application to local congregations as communities of practice;
  • Faith and many types of intelligence (e.g., emotional intelligence);
  • Information, entropy (understood as the rate of transfer of a message), and belief;
  • Case studies of pastors, priests, rabbis, imans, and other religious leaders to explore the role of information in the sermon preparation task;
  • Longitudinal study of religious leaders engaged in congregational ministries to study changes in the sermon preparation task over the course of their careers, the role of information in the development of new congregations or the growth of established ones;
  • Intersections of interests in the study of information and religion, where different disciplines might find it worthwhile to collaborate in research.


Prospective participants are encouraged to submit abstracts that report on recent research and scholarship. Contributions to this call for papers should not have been previously published. There are no restrictions on research methodology.

Instructions for Submitting Refereed Paper Extended Abstracts:

  • The abstract should be no longer than 250 words (including research question, methods, results).
  • Include the title of the paper, names, affiliations, and contact information of the authors (with one author to be designated as the contact for the paper).
  • Submit abstracts in PDF or WORD format by Dec. 31, 2010, to Dr. Rosemary DuMont at [[rdumont@kent.edu<file:/C:\Documents and Settings\fcunning\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\PC3TCPA8\rdumont|rdumont@kent.edu<file:/C:\Documents%20and%20Settings\fcunning\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\PC3TCPA8\rdumont]]@kent.edu>


  • Notification of Acceptance: February 1, 2011

Papers accepted for presentation at the conference are eligible for consideration for the ARIR (Annual Review of Information & Religion). Details regarding submission of full papers will be given to those whose abstracts are accepted for conference presentation.

The Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) is a research branch of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University. Located in northeast Ohio, in close proximity to the cities of Akron-Canton and Cleveland, Kent State has an enrolment of more than 38,000 students. SLIS is home to approximately 700 master's students and is a partner in the doctoral program of the College of Communication and Information (CCI).

For more information, please contact Dr. Don Wicks ([[dwicks@kent.edu<mailto:dwicks]]@kent.edu>), Interim Director of SLIS and Director of CSIR, or Dr. Dan Roland ([[droland1@kent.edu<mailto:droland1]]@kent.edu> ), CSIR Primary Researcher.