Spring 2020 Interdisciplinary Conference at SMU: Call for Papers

MAMMON AND MORALITY: an interdisciplinary conference on ethics and economics

April 16 – 18, 2020


Humans engage in economic exchange of goods and resources, so it is fitting to subject these human acts to careful and rigorous ethical reflection and critique. In our contemporary context, human acts of exchange are often enormous and devilishly complex, but so are the systems and structures through which persons carry out economic activity. Economics, money, markets, and finance touch and interweave with innumerable aspects of our lives in complicated ways. Given the humanness, the ubiquity, and the complexity of economics – broadly considered –a panoply of voices and a variety of approaches must enrich academic discussions of ethics and economics. For this reason, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary discussion of economics is a promising path towards richer analysis and critique of economics, enabling discussion to move beyond the purely abstract and intra-academic conversation.

In an effort to prompt interdisciplinary conversation about ethics and economics, the Department of Religious Studies and the Maguire Center for Ethics at Southern Methodist University, in collaboration with the Department of Religion at Baylor University, will host a conference entitled “Mammon and Morality: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Markets, Finance, and Economics.” The conference will foster interdisciplinary conversations about ethics and economics, giving special attention to the place of religion and theology in ethical engagement with economics, markets, money, and finance. We invite papers from graduate students and early-career scholars. We seek papers that will speak to this triangulation of themes (ethics, economics, and religion/theology) and are, in some way, oriented towards interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary engagement. We hope to attract campus-wide conference participation and attendance, so papers that facilitate conversation with other disciplines (sociology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, finance-theory, political science, legal theory, etc.) will be especially suited for the conference.

Possible topics or themes for papers include (but are not limited to):

  • Capitalism as religion
  • Mammon as a theological concept
  • Eugene McCarraher’s book The Enchantment’s of Mammon
  • Banking, finance, and theology
  • Economics and political theology
  • Secularity
  • Religion and disenchantment
  • Economics and race
  • Economic justice - Jubilee
  • Economics and the Bible
  • Debt and forgiveness

In tandem with the Mammon and Morality conference, the SMU Graduate Program in Religious Studies will host the Tate Wilson Lecture on Thursday evening, April 16, 2020. Eugene McCarraher will give a lecture discussing his new book, The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity.



Mary Hirschfeld, Villanova University
Jonathan Tran, Baylor University



Please submit a 300-word abstract explaining the theme and argument of the presentation, along with your name and the institution with which you are associated.

Proposals are due by February 14, 2020 and should be emailed to signsconferencesmu@gmail.com.

*Funding of up to $400 will be provided for travel, transportation, and lodging for accepted paper presentations. All inquiries may be addressed to signsconferencesmu@gmail.com.