2021 Annual Conference | November 17-21 | Seattle, Washington


RCA 2021 Annual Conference Call for Papers

The Religious Communication Association (RCA) welcomes submissions for the 2021 National Communication Association Convention, November 18-21, 2021, in Seattle, Washington. RCA opens its portion of the Seattle meeting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, one day before the NCA meeting officially opens on Thursday. 

RCA is an interfaith 501(c)(3) organization independent from NCA. As an affiliate organization, RCA proudly showcases religious communication scholarship during the NCA meeting and during its separate one-day program before the NCA convention begins. Submissions to Convention Central will be considered simultaneously for NCA panels as well as for inclusion in RCA Conference’s programming on November 17, 2021. Submission to the NCA review process for programming indicates your agreement to attend the preceding RCA Conference should your paper be programmed there. 

The standards for acceptance for NCA and RCA are equally stringent. NCA allots multiple program sessions to RCA. This relationship and arrangement allow RCA to strengthen scholarly inquiry and foster meaningful dialogue among colleagues with the increased number of presentation opportunities. 

The 107th Annual Convention theme of the National Communication Association is “Renewal and Transformation.” After a year of great upheaval and suspension of normal activity, "renewal" reminds us that we must find a way to reconstruct our broken communities and reforge the connections that have been lost. But renewal is only half the theme. "Transformation" reminds us that our renewed communities and communication can incorporate positive changes that improve the ways that we speak, act, work, and live. NCA Second Vice President Roseann M. Mandziuk, who chose the theme, encourages us to ask the following questions: 

  • What is the relevance and value of our scholarship and teaching as we recover from this time of crisis? 
  • How can Communication researchers, teachers, and practitioners contribute to rebuilding and restoring our communities? 
  • What should be done to replenish and advance our discipline? 


RCA celebrates and embraces the Convention theme in its programming. “Renewal and Transformation” inspires us to think about the ways communication and religion together improve lives, build relationships, sustain communities, change society for the better, and cultivate peace. As scholars, teachers, students, leaders, clergy, and community members, the RCA community seeks to meaningfully engage in thoughtful discussion about the way in which we advocate for change, communicate cross-culturally, and address public policy, health, religious freedom, interpersonal dialogue, and the myriad of other issues that impact the lives of human beings. Research exploring the dark side of religious communication is also invited.  

In pursuing the idea of the “Renewal and Transformation,” RCA is particularly interested in cross-sponsoring with other NCA units and affiliates. In your rationale, please indicate if your paper/session/panel proposal involves potential inter-divisional cooperation either within RCA or between RCA and other NCA divisions or affiliate groups. 

The Religious Communication Association accepts submissions in a variety of formats: competitive individual papers, paper sessions, panel discussions and performance sessions. 

Individual Papers: Individual papers should include an uploaded abstract and are limited to 25 double-spaced pages, excluding notes. Only completed papers will be considered. Individual paper uploads should not contain any identifying information (author name, university affiliation, etc.). Note that the same paper may not be submitted to more than one division or planning unit, but there are no limits on the number of unique papers one individual may submit to NCA. 

Student Papers should be clearly marked as such in order to be eligible for the RCA Student Paper of the Year Award as well as the Donald P. Cushman Award for top student paper at the NCA convention. For multi-authored works to be eligible for these awards, all authors must be students. INDICATE if the paper is a STUDENT PAPER (undergraduate or graduate) by checking the appropriate box on the NCA Convention Central form. 

Review the “Scholar-to-Scholar” description below and be certain to indicate your willingness to have your paper presented as part of this Scholar-to-Scholar exchange if you think this an appropriate venue for your scholarship. Choosing this option does not exclude your paper from consideration as a competitive paper. Choosing this option is an ADDITIONAL consideration and increases your chances for presentation acceptance at NCA. 

Paper Sessions: These theme-based submissions should include:  

1. A session title 
2. A list of presenters with their institutional affiliations (multiple institutions must be represented) 
3. Titles and full abstracts for each individual presentation 
4. A detailed session description for the online convention program 
5. A thoroughly developed rationale arguing for the significance and relevance of the session 

A session chair is required and should not be presenting a paper during the session. A respondent is optional. 

Panel Discussions: Panel discussions should include: 

1. A panel title 
2. A list of presenters and their institutional affiliations (multiple institutions must be represented) 
3. A detailed session description for the online convention program 
4. A thoroughly developed rationale describing the format of the discussion and arguing for the significance and relevance of the panel 

Proposals for panel discussions are encouraged to demonstrate creative adaptation of the discussion format. A session chair is required. 

Performance Sessions: These submissions must include a session title and description. Submissions must include individual performance title, descriptions, and performers. A chair for the session is required. In your rationale, please indicate if your paper/session/panel proposal involves potential inter-divisional cooperation either within RCA or between RCA and other NCA divisions or affiliate groups. Please provide a session rationale for acceptance outlining the importance of the submission to the convention’s theme. 

Scholar-to-Scholar Sessions: A one-on-one interactive format for communication and discussion will be employed. Individual papers are submitted for public display in dedicated sessions with engagement by selected “wandering scholars” (experts in the field). This format is appropriate for presentations such as videos, interactive media, slide shows, experiential activities, and posters. If you would like to be considered for Scholar-to-Scholar, please be certain to check the appropriate approval box on the electronic submission form. Choosing this option does not exclude your paper from consideration as a competitive paper. Choosing this option is an ADDITIONAL consideration and increases your chances for presentation acceptance at NCA. 

Submit ALL papers/sessions/panels to RCA online via NCA’s Convention Central site. Audio-visual requests must be made at the time of submission. Due to the excessive number of requests, late requests cannot be accommodated. All participants should review the “Professional Standards for Convention Participants” that will further clarify expectations. The “Professional Standards for Convention Participants” site includes live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, and is available in the NCA Convention Library: 

www.natcom.org/conventionresources 

If you have any questions, please contact the RCA program planner, Andrew J. Harris, at andrewjharis@cedarville.edu; 937-766-7966 (voice); or by mail at: Andrew J. Harris; Department of Communication; Cedarville University; 251 N. Main St.; Cedarville, OH 45314 USA.


Religious Communication Association

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Each November, RCA holds its Annual Conference in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Communication Association. Scholars are invited to submit competitive papers and panel proposals for consideration. Instructions and guidelines are specified in the annual RCA call for papers.


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