Current Call for Submissions


In addition to its regular content explaining and commenting on a wide range of topics, Canopy Forum also publishes thematic series addressing issues at the intersection of law and religion from a range of perspectives. These series explore important current concerns through a series of essays or other multimedia content published over the course of several days or weeks, and aim to spark further conversations among our readers about how best to think about and deliberate on these questions.



Religion, Property Law, and the Crisis of Houses of Worship: A Virtual Conference

Submit by 2/17/2023

In May 2023, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University (CSLR) and Canopy Forum will convene a virtual conference about issues facing religious congregations, neighborhoods, towns, and cities where houses of worship are falling into disrepair or vacancy. Countless locales in the USA and around the world are confronting questions of what to do with empty religious buildings in town centers or along major streets. These challenging situations are complicated by economic, social, legal, theological, and cultural questions that merit analysis and attention.

Participants will deliver a short virtual presentation (via Zoom) and submit a 2000-word article on their chosen topic or theme. Conference proceedings will be livestreamed and published on Canopy Forum, CSLR’s online publication, which has tens of thousands of readers spanning every country in the world. Scholars, practitioners, and other topical experts are invited to submit a 200-word proposal outlining the key arguments and insights they wish to present. Additional details and instructions for submitting proposals are below. An example of this conference format can be viewed on the Canopy Forum website.

We invite proposals that explore diverse issues related to religious property and the law, drawing on both theoretical perspectives and specific examples. For example:

  • How do houses of worship and other religious architecture(s) contribute to a local sense of identity and place, and how does that change if a building is repurposed?
  • In which ways, and to what extent, do local congregations and communities maintain ownership and control of emptying or vacant properties over and against the broader denominational bodies of which they are a part?
  • To what extent are the potential (re)uses of religious buildings limited or defined by local or national laws and regulations?
  • To what extent can the repurposing of religious buildings sustain their historic role as public gathering places? Should such reuse be a priority?
  • How can partnerships be built around buildings traditionally considered the private domain of a particular religion?
  • What legal remedies in preservation, property, and tax law and practice would contribute to the preservation, revitalization, and/or repurposing historic houses of worship?
  • How do municipal or county zoning, property tax, and building code ordinances affect historic houses of worship, and how could they be modified to facilitate rehabilitation and reuse of these properties?
  • What complications arise from deeds for religious properties and denominational rules?
  • What are the risks, limitations, and possibilities of using public funding for repurposing houses of worship?
  • What is the nature of the sacrality of a house of worship? Does it retain a sacred quality or designation even if it has been deconsecrated, and what is the appropriate adaptation of such a sacred space?
  • How do the property laws of various countries and/or jurisdictions differ from one another in relation to religious property?

We will accept approximately fifteen proposals representing varied disciplines, perspectives, religious traditions, and areas of expertise. Please submit a proposal of 200 words maximum describing the thesis and primary examples of what you propose to write and present about. Upon selection, participants will prepare short articles of no more than 2,000 words, written for the general educated public rather than specialists alone. Additional brief endnotes and bibliographic references are welcome. Please attach a two-sentence biographical statement with all submissions.

Note: this conference and article series will be conducted in English, but non-English written contributions will be considered for publication as part of this series.

Please submit proposals no later than February 17, 2023, via the Canopy Forum submissions page, and direct questions to the conference organizer, Dr. Thomas E. Frank, University Professor Emeritus at Wake Forest University, at frankte@wfu.edu.


200 Years of Johnson v. M’Intosh: Law, Religion, and Native American Lands

Submit by 2/10/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University, in partnership with the Indigenous Values Initiative (IVI), Syracuse University, and Canopy Forum, seeks short articles and multimedia submissions marking the 200th Anniversary of Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823).

In its landmark Johnson v. M’Intosh decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated a principle that was previously established in the Non-Intercourse Act of 1790, namely, that private citizens could not purchase lands from Native American Nations. As Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion explained: “discovery gave title to government…[and] the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives.”

Marshall’s allusion to the “Doctrine of Discovery” invoked a medieval theology of conquest, and a legacy of global exploitation, genocide, slavery, and despoliation. Originally formulated by the Papal curia, the doctrine espoused the inequality of Christians and non-Christians, and provided a basis for Euro-American hegemony and the domination of Indigenous Peoples and the land.

The Johnson v. M’Intosh holding adapted this doctrine into American legal practice, namely as a device by which the United States’ government could claim superior title to the land of North America, and reduce Indigenous ownership—with its legal, religious, cultural, and economic dimensions—to a mutable and dissolvable “aboriginal” or “Indian” title. The Doctrine as articulated by Marshall would become a foundational principle not only of U.S. property law and Federal Indian Law – cited favorably by the US Supreme Court as recently as the 2005 case of City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation – but also of Manifest Destiny and colonial expansion to the Pacific Ocean.

The year 2023 marks the 200th anniversary of Johnson v. M’Intosh. With the approach of this significant date, Canopy Forum invites short articles and multimedia presentations analyzing the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery and/or Johnson v. M’intosh in U.S. law and international contexts. We further invite informed reflections on alternative ecologies, spiritualities, legal principles, and socio-economic systems articulated in light of the Doctrine’s history and legacy. Submissions may address questions such as:

  • What is the legacy of Johnson v. M’Intosh in U.S. property law, Federal Indian law, and/or other areas of law?
  • What is the broader history of the “Doctrine of Discovery” in religious or political thought and practice?
  • To what extent is Johnson v. M’Intosh still “good law” in the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence?
  • How did/does the decision influence or reverberate in international, environmental, and/or property law?
  • How did Johnson v. M’Intosh influence the legal discourse of coloniality adopted by other jurisdictions in the Anglosphere?
  • To what extent, if any, does the Doctrine remain part of contemporary politics and popular culture?
  • What influence, if any, has the Doctrine had on American foreign policy over the last 200 years?
  • Submissions on other topics/questions are also welcome.

Submissions that are received before February 10, 2023 are strongly preferred.

A methodological note from the Indigenous Values Initiative

The Gä•sweñta’ (Two Row Wampum belt) is the earliest treaty between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the settler-colonists of Europe. The wampum belt is comprised of two purple rows of wampum beads running parallel with each other. The Haudenosaunee in their canoe and the Dutch in their boat would each travel down the river of life side by side with one another without interfering with one another. Sadly, the settler-colonial governments never understood that what links us all together is that our diversity of identities stems from being in proper relationship with the land. Therefore, a destructive wedge has undermined upholding this first treaty. We use the principles of the Two Row Wampum as a central organizing principle for this call for papers. We invite Indigenous and non-indigenous submissions.

The Indigenous Values Initiative’s “200 Years of Johnson v. McIntosh” project is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and Syracuse University. Learn more at https://indigenousvalues.org/. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Canada – Secularist Laws in Quebec

Submit by 1/31/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University seeks short articles and multimedia submissions regarding the relationship between secularist laws and religious groups in the Canadian province of Quebec.

We are currently accepting submissions that address the following:

  • Historical, religious, and cultural relationships in Quebec that are affected by secularism
  • The relationship of religious groups to the legal systems and current political processes in Quebec, for example, Bill 21, which forbids wearing religious symbols during work
  • Other matters – historical or contemporary – that shed light on the intersections of law and religion in Quebec and Canada

Submissions will be considered for publication on a rolling basis, with submissions received before January 31, 2023 preferred. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Brazil – Religious Communities and New Leadership

Submit by 1/31/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University seeks short articles and multimedia submissions that discuss the relationship between the Brazilian government and religious groups.

We are currently accepting submissions that address the following:

  • The current political and legal landscape operates in relationship to religious groups in Brazil 
  • How the legal system may be influenced by conservative politics, ie, Bolsonaro’s anti-rhetoric against minority groups 
  • Religious Freedom under new leadership (President Lula  and his promised support for Evangelical voters)

Submissions will be considered for publication on a rolling basis, with submissions received before January 31, 2023 preferred. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Respect for Marriage in the US Act

Submit by 1/31/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University seeks short articles and multimedia submissions about the role of the recently passed bill, Respect for Marriage in the US Act.

We are currently accepting submissions that address the following:

  • What roles have religious groups played in the proposed the bill? How does the current political and legal landscape operate in relationship to religious groups who support/do not support the bill? 
  • Which aspects of US political and religious history are most important for understanding the current call for same-sex and interracial marriage protections into federal law, and the responses to it? 

Submissions will be considered for publication on a rolling basis, with submissions received before January 31, 2023 preferred. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Violence in Bolivia – Religious Activists

Submit by 2/28/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University seeks short articles and multimedia submissions about the recent violence in Bolivia and the role of religious activists.

We are currently accepting submissions that address the following:

  • Historical, religious, and cultural relationships in Bolivia – the use of religion as protest, for example the protests this past October in Santa Cruz by Catholics
  • The relationship of religious groups to the legal systems and current political processes in Bolivia, such as the recent call for laws and policies against gender-based violence and overcrowding in jails by The Committee against Torture
  • Other matters – historical or contemporary – that shed light on the intersections of law and religion in Egypt

Submissions will be considered for publication on a rolling basis, with submissions received before February 28, 2023 preferred. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Human Rights and Religious Freedom in Algeria

Submit by 2/28/2023

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University seeks short articles and multimedia submissions about human rights and religious freedom in Algeria.

We are currently accepting submissions that address the following:

  • Historical, religious, and cultural relationships between Christians and Sunni Muslims in Algeria
  • The effect of Covid-19 on religious groups in Algeria and relationship of religious groups to the legal systems and current political processes in Algeria
  • Other matters – historical or contemporary – that shed light on the intersections of law and religion in Algeria 

Submissions will be considered for publication on a rolling basis, with submissions received before February 28, 2023 preferred. Submit your essay at canopyforum@emory.edu.


Please send general inquires and submit contributions to
canopyforum@emory.edu


Canopy Forum welcomes submissions from experts in the field(s) of law and religion, as well as other relevant disciplines, such as theology, ethics, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, political science, history, and other fields. Submissions should be between 1,500-2,500 words (though longer pieces may be considered) and written in a generally accessible style, with embedded links rather than footnotes for supporting materials. When referencing sources, we encourage contributors to use hyperlinks. Additionally, court decisions should be linked once to the first reference to that case, using the full case name (i.e., “In its recent ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court held …”), and, whenever possible, link to the case’s page on the SCOTUS Religion Cases database. Academic papers and presentations should be adapted or rewritten accordingly.