SSRC Announces New Religion and International Affairs Advisory Committee
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) announces the creation of a Religion and International Affairs Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Scott Appleby, Katherine Marshall, and Alfred C. Stepan, and supported by a major grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. The committee, which in addition to the three co-chairs includes five more members, will oversee a new project on religion and international affairs undertaken in conjunction with the SSRC’s work on Religion and the Public Sphere.
“The SSRC is uniquely placed to respond to the practical, intellectual and public challenges associated with Luce Foundation's aim of strengthening academic and public attention to religion and international affairs,” said Jonathan VanAntwerpen, who directs the SSRC’s work on religion and serves as founding editor of its popular blog The Immanent Frame. “With the leadership of this committee, we will work to support a more engaged scholarship and to promote a more public social science. We particularly look forward to the committee’s efforts to forge important links between senior scholars and the next generation of researchers who are studying the place of religion in international politics and world affairs.”
At the top of the new committee’s agenda are three major international workshops. In addition, it will organize the inaugural summer institute on religion and international affairs, which will connect doctoral students to senior mentors in the field for help with their dissertations.
Advisory Committee Co-Chairs
Scott Appleby, professor of history, University of Notre Dame; John M. Regan, Jr. Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Scott Appleby (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1985) is a specialist in American religious history, comparative religious fundamentalisms, and peace studies. He chaired the Department of Religious Studies at St. Xavier College (1982–1987), co-directed the Fundamentalism Project (1988–1993), and directed Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism (1994– 2002). Since 1996 he has been a fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame, where he has also served as director since 2000. Appleby is the author of The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000) and the co-author of Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms Around the World (University of Chicago Press, 2003).
Katherine Marshall, senior fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University. Katherine Marshall has worked in international development for over three decades. She is currently a visiting professor at Georgetown University. Marshall previously enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the World Bank (1971–2006), working extensively on issues in the Southern African, Eastern African and Latin American contexts, including conflict resolution and the role of women. Today, she serves on the Boards of several NGOs and advisory groups, such as IDEA (International Development Ethics Association), and is a trustee of Princeton University. Marshall has been closely involved in the creation and development of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and is its executive director.
Alfred C. Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University. Alfred Stepan taught at Yale for thirteen years, and was later dean of SIPA at Columbia University, the first Rector of Central European University, and the Gladstone Professor of Government at All Souls College, Oxford University. His most recent publications include Arguing Comparative Politics (Oxford: 2001) and Democracies in Multinational Societies: India and other Polities (Johns Hopkins: 2007), with Juan J. Linz and Yogendra Yadav. His recent publications relating to religion and politics include “The World’s Religious Systems and Democracy: Crafting the ‘Twin Tolerations,’” in his book Arguing Comparative Politics (2001) and “An ‘Arab’ More Than ‘Muslim’ Electoral Gap,” in the June 2003 issue of the Journal of Democracy (he went on to author a forum on that topic in the journal's October 2004 issue).
Advisory Committee Members
Mohammed Abu-Nimer, professor of international peace & conflict resolution, School of International Service, American University. As a scholar-practitioner, Mohammed Abu-Nimer (Ph.D., George Mason University, 1993) both studies the topic of conflict resolution, specializing in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and works directly in areas of conflict across the world, conducting conflict resolution workshops. He is the director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute at American University and is the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacekeeping and Development. His publications include the recent, co-authored text Unity in Diversity: Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East (USIP, 2007).
Robert Hefner, director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University. A professor of anthropology, Robert Hefner has directed Boston University’s program on Islam and Civil Society since 1991. His research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia as well as on the comparative study of Muslim culture and politics. Hefner has authored or edited over a dozen books and major policy reports. His most recent edited volume is Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education (Princeton, 2007), and he has been invited to edit the sixth volume of the forthcoming New Cambridge History of Islam, Muslims and Modernity: Society and Culture since 1800. He is a member of the advisory committee to the SSRC project on the Religious Lives of Migrant Minorities, and has been commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation to write a book on Islamic education and democratization in Indonesia.
John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding, Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Notre Dame University. John Paul Lederach (Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1988) is widely known for his original work on conflict transformation and has been involved in conciliation efforts across the globe: he has helped design and conduct training programs in 25 countries and across five continents. His most recent publications include The Moral Imagination: the Art and Soul of Building Peace (Oxford University Press, 2005) and The Journey Toward Reconciliation (Herald Press, 1999).
Ruth W. Messinger, president, American Jewish World Service. After a 20-year career in public service, including 12 years on the New York City Council and eight years as the Manhattan Borough President, Ruth Messinger became the president of the American Jewish World Service in 1998. The recipient of several honorary degrees, she has served as a visiting professor at Hunter College and Hebrew Union College, and she often delivers public lectures on global social justice and related topics. She is a national leader in the movement to end the genocide in Sudan and was called upon to advise President Obama on the subject. She has also recently been appointed to Obama’s newly formed Task Force on Global Poverty and Development. Messinger sits on the board of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women and the Save Darfur Coalition.
Gerrie ter Haar, chair in religion and development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Gerrie ter Harr teaches courses on religion, human rights and social change. Additionally, she serves as secretary of the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion and as deputy secretary-general of the International Association for the History of Religions. She has edited and authored numerous publications, including, most recently, “Africa’s Religious Resurgence and the Politics of Good and Evil,” in Current History (April 2008); and “The Role of Religion in Development: Towards a New Relationship between the European Union and Africa,” in The European Journal of Development Research (September 2006).