February 8, 2021


Dear Friends,

We realize that this letter, the call for proposals, is two weeks late, but over the past few weeks Erin O’Leary and Andrea Taylor from Talley Management have been building out the website so as to make it much easier for you to submit proposals. 

I am therefore very happy to announce that we and our website are now ready to receive your proposals for the 2022 annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics which is scheduled to begin in person on the evening of Thursday January 6, 2022 at the Hilton Orange County Hotel in Costa Mesa, California.

Conference Theme and Plenary Panels

Following from this year’s superb conference on Questioning the Human, the conference theme for the 2022 Annual Meeting will be Examining the Ethics of our Institutions: The Academy and the Church.  While proposals need not address the meeting theme, I particularly invite paper, panel, and poster proposals that reflect on the need to investigate the ethics of the institutions where we teach, mentor and research and where we gather to pray and worship. Just as this year’s conference was an invitation to reflect on the human, now I ask that we consider where, why, and in what ways the academy and the church live up (or not) to their public missions, particularly in areas of equity, transparency and accountability. While the SCE has often examined the ethics of other institutions like business, law, medicine, and media, and while occasionally we have considered the sexual abuse scandals in the church, still, we have not had in any rigorous or comprehensive way an extended ethical engagement of the church and even less so the academy, even though both institutions wrestle with scandal on a lamentably frequent basis.  Now is the time for us to turn our gaze on the two institutions where we most frequently gather.

Inasmuch as these are the two institutions to which SCE members are most committed, they deserve to be critically supported by the SCE itself.  Toward this end we will have plenary panels on each institution.  For the first, Examining the Ethics of the Academy, Ki Joo (KC) Choi, Matthew Gaudet, and Nikia Robert have agreed to present from their three very different places as faculty in the academy. I have asked Jennifer Harvey to serve as the session’s presider so as to have a full plenary with a robust, variegated engagement of the university.  For the second, Examining the Ethics of the Church, MT Davila, Darlene Fozard Weaver, and Traci West have also agreed to present and Emilie M. Townes will serve as the presider of that plenary session.  I am delighted that these eight colleagues have agreed to help us with our investigations.

Poster Session

We will be continuing our experimental poster session in 2022.  Note that posters can be employed in a variety of ways, i.e., to present a condensed version of an article, trace a longer-term trajectory in your work, discuss a pedagogical experiment, and more. Let me add that this year’s conference would be well accompanied by posters that visually capture the ethical opportunities and challenges evident within the academy and the church. The poster session then allows us to expand opportunities for participation and engagement in the Annual Meeting, and offers a flexible, tangible format for the sharing of ideas. If your proposal is selected for the 2022 meeting, it will not affect your eligibility to submit paper or poster proposals for our 2023 meeting. Finally, many universities and colleges provide institutional support for those who are listed in the program as presenters, including those of poster sessions. I hope this year we generate even more posters so as to further engage each other.

Submitting Proposals

All proposals (from individual Members, Interest Groups, and Working Groups alike) are due Tuesday March 30, 2021.  Proposals that are submitted after that date will not be eligible for the 2022 meeting.  Proposals will be accepted only from members whose 2021 SCE dues have been paid.  (FYI: In order to receive the next issue of JSCE 2021 membership dues must be paid by March 1).  All the relevant policies governing proposals for papers, panels and posters are summarized in the document “Submission Guidelines” which is available on the SCE website along with the array of forms to be used for the online submission of proposals and nominations. 

The International Scholarly Relations Committee wishes to announce that two $500 scholarships will be available to support conference-related expenses for international scholars who wish to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting.  Priority will be given a) to applications from the global South, and b) to those presenting at the meeting.  Applications will be due by May 1, 2021, with notifications by June 1.  Instructions on how to submit applications are on the SCE website.

Call for Nominations

It is also my happy task to call for nominations.  Note that Tuesday, March 30, 2021 is also the deadline for proposing names to the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee.  For more information about the selection committee and the submission process, see the the letter from Jennifer Herdt on the 2022 Annual Meeting page (linked below).

The Nominations Committee also invites your recommendations of well-qualified candidates for the office of Vice President and for seats on the Board of Directors.  Please know that self-nominations are welcome.  This year the chair of the Nominations Committee is KC Choi.  He can be reached at [email protected].  Other members of the committee--- Elizabeth Agnew Cochran, Craig Ford, Kristin Heyer, Tallessyn Grenfell-Lee and Xavier Montecel---would be equally happy to hear from you.

The deadline for members to nominate persons to serve as the 2023 Global Scholar will be October 14, 2021. More complete information about this nomination process, with its fifteen-month timeline, can be found on the “Bring a Global Scholar to the SCE” page of the SCE website.  If you have immediate questions, feel free to get in touch directly with the current chair of the International Scholarly Relations Committee, Simeon Ilesanmi ([email protected]).

Finally, I am happy to announce that we are finishing up plans to host the SCE's "First Virtual MidTerm Group Meeting" from August 2-6th.  Details will come within the next ten days, but it is a simple pilot. Inasmuch as our groups (Working Groups, Caucuses, and Interest Groups) have, if you will, their own specific agenda and goals, and inasmuch as we had over 400 members at the recent virtual conference (including many students), it seems that we could try another modest virtual meeting for our groups to further incorporate members into SCE activities. Clearly, we will continue to host all groups at the annual conference; this plan is simply an occasion to build out and bridge from one Annual Meeting to the next.  Look out for another letter from me in about two weeks with further information.




James F. Keenan, S.J.