• 1.Why Prayer? A Conference on New Directions in the Study of Prayer

    Date
    Location
    Italian Academy, Columbia University
    Program
    New Directions in the Study of Prayer
    Meetings & Events
  • 2.Authority, Community, Identity II

    The focus of the second consultation on Authority, Community, and Identity was to understand how Catholic, Muslim and secular actors communicate, conceptualize, institutionalize, and organize these three factors in two geographic regions: sub-Saharan Africa and Indonesia. Consultants with expertise in each region gathered to propose relevant topics for further research, to explore possibilities for a comparative study between the regions, and to identify methods and possible participants for a working group.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Contending Modernities
    Meetings & Events
  • 3.Authority, Community, Identity I

    The goal of the first consultation on Authority, Community, and Identity was to explore themes, methods, and possible participants for a working group that will spend three years examining the ways that modern Catholic, Muslim and secular actors understand and navigate interactions among these three defining elements of associational life and public presence. In keeping with Contending Modernities' constructive agenda, the meeting aimed to provide guidance for the potential working group as it attempted to identify creative responses to the challenges facing communities.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Contending Modernities
    Meetings & Events
  • 4.Science and the Human Person: Engaging Tradition and Informing Public Discourse

    Rapid advances in science and technology are raising fundamental questions about human life, flourishing, suffering, and death. When does human life begin and deserve protection? How is deeper knowledge of genetics reshaping our conceptions of the human person? What does it mean to live and die with dignity amid 21st century medical technologies? These and other ethical questions at the intersection of science and the human person have a global character, encompassing all of humanity, cutting across national, cultural, and religious boundaries. The Science and the Human Person working group will advance a global, interreligious and intercultural conversation about science, ethics, and the human future. Its activities will foster collaboration among secular scientific communities and the world’s two largest faith traditions, Islam and Catholicism, along with other secular and religious voices.

    Date
    Location
    Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs
    Program
    Contending Modernities
    Meetings & Events
  • 5.Religion and the United Nations: Religion, Development, and World Affairs

    This workshop brought together policy advisors from the United Nations, scholars from academic institutions, and representatives of faith-based organizations (FBOs) from a variety of religious traditions. The first session featured authors Michael Barnett and Janice Stein, as well as respondent Robert Keohane, who reflected on the recently published edited volume, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism (Oxford University Press, 2012). A second panel featured five representatives of UN agencies discussing various points of shared interest, such as faith-inspired humanitarian assistance; the implications of partnerships with FBOs for UN agencies working in conflict and humanitarian relief and development; and specific roles of religious actors in multi-track diplomacy and peacebuilding. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY), and Princeton University's Office of Religious Life (ORL), this is the fourth in a series of dialogues and consultations on religion and the United Nations.

    Date
    , 12:00pm –
    Location
    Princeton University
    Program
    Religion and the United Nations
    Meetings & Events
  • 6.Finalists' Symposium

    On March 30 and 31, 2012, a symposium was held in New York City for the finalists in the New Directions in the Study of Prayer Research Initiative. Each finalist project was presented by its respective principal investigator. The symposium provided participants with a unique opportunity to gather feedback on their projects from their peers and fellow finalists, as well as from the advisory committee. This feedback will be instrumental as finalists move forward with their projects and submit full proposals later this year.

    Date
    Location
    Desmond Tutu Conference Center
    Program
    New Directions in the Study of Prayer
    Meetings & Events
  • 7.Religion and International Affairs Dissertation Workshop

    This five-day dissertation workshop convened twelve advanced graduate students and five distinguished professors in Pacific Grove, CA. The workshop provided participants with a unique opportunity to share their ongoing work and receive critical feedback from their peers as well as from a small group of faculty members. During the course of the workshop, students lead discussions of their own projects and entertained critiques from both student and faculty participants on their fieldwork, research plans, writing strategies, and conceptual frameworks.

    Date
    Location
    Asilomar Conference Grounds
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 8.Conference on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life

    What are the consequences of the increasing salience of “spirituality” in American civic and political life? Do actors and groups publicly identified as spiritual challenge commonly held understandings of social and political involvement? How strongly are they committed to any particular set of political goals or ideals of citizenship? How do they engage in public life, and do their patterns of involvement differ in a systematic way from those of others? What kinds of alternatives to, or cautionary tales about, dominant understandings of civic engagement might political expressions of “spirituality” present? Building on a wide swath of recent scholarship, the SSRC conference on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life explored the institutions and traditions that construct spiritual activities and identities, and it considers their relations to systems and patterns of political participation and public engagement in the contemporary United States.

    Date
    Location
    Lindsay Rogers Common Room, International Affairs Building 707, Columbia University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 9.Conference on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life

    Building on a wide swath of recent scholarship, the SSRC conference on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life explores the institutions and traditions that construct spiritual activities and identities, and it considers their relations to systems and patterns of political participation and public engagement in the contemporary United States. Invited papers addressed questions of spirituality in politics, culture, and the media as well as the meaning of the "public sphere" and civil religion, while other topics were taken up during multidisciplinary panel discussions in which leading scholars assessed the current state of the study of spirituality in their respective fields.

    Date
    Location
    Lindsay Rogers Common Room, Columbia University
    Program
    Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life
    Meetings & Events
  • 10.Religion and the United Nations: Dynamics of Gender and Peacebuilding

    A roundtable discussion including a small group of scholars alongside members of the religious NGO community and UN staff from key agencies engaged in their operations with issues of gender, conflict, and peacebuilding. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and the Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY), this is the second in a series of dialogues and consultations on religion and the UN.

    Date
    , 12:00pm –
    Location
    United Nations Population Fund
    Program
    Religion and the United Nations
    Meetings & Events
  • 11."Lives of Great Religious Books" Launch Event

    The Institute for Public Knowledge and the SSRC Program on Religion and the Public Sphere is delighted to host the launch of the "Lives of Great Religious Books," a new book series at Princeton University Press. The Institute for Public Knowledge and the SSRC Program on Religion and the Public Sphere are delighted to host the launch of the "Lives of Great Religious Books," a new book series at Princeton University Press. Join three authors from the series in discussion about their new books with Jeremy Walton, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow of Religious Studies at NYU. Donald Lopez, Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, will discuss The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography. Martin E. Marty, Professor Emeritus of Religious History at the University of Chicago, will discuss Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison: A Biography. Vanessa Ochs, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at University of Virginia, will discuss The Passover Haggadah: A Biography. The Lives of Great Religious Books is a new series of short volumes that recount the complex and fascinating histories of important religious texts from around the world. This event is co-sponsored by Princeton University Press and the SSRC Program on Religion and the Public Sphere.

    Date
    , 6:00pm –
    Location
    The Bronfman Center New York University 7 E 10th Street New York, NY 10003
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 12.Religion, Peacebuilding, and Development in Cambodia & Kenya

    Held in conjunction with the SSRC's ongoing work on religion and international affairs, this two-day workshop convened a group of interdisciplinary academics and practitioners to engage in a comparative conversation concerning the role of religious communities and beliefs in development and peacebuilding efforts in Cambodia and Kenya.

    Date
    Location
    Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 13.Theorizing Religion, Peacebuilding, and Development

    In conjunction with the SSRC's ongoing work on religion and international affairs, this workshop convened a select group of interdisciplinary scholars for a two-day workshop. Aimed at establishing the theoretical links between religious beliefs, rites, and actors, and peacebuilding and development efforts abroad, the discussion also examined links and discrepancies between the distinct actors and ideologies, both secular and religious, dedicated to peacebuilding and development practices throughout the world.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 14.Religion and the United Nations: Dynamics of Development and Peacebuilding

    Convened in conjunction with the SSRC's work on religion and international affairs and in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund and The Interfaith Center of New York, over thirty guests attended this panel session, including leading scholars and representatives of multiple UN agencies and various faith-based NGOs, including the Interfaith Center of New York, Religions for Peace International, Women in Islam, Inc., and World Vision International. Moderated by Azza Karam, a senior advisor to the United Nations Population Fund, the panel featured discussants Mark Scheuer (Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations), Jean Duff (Senior Advisor for Strategy and Resources at the Center for Interfaith Action), and Leslie Vinjamuri (Co-Director of the Centre for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice). The panel took as its point of departure a recent issue of the journal CrossCurrents, which was dedicated to the exploration of how religion intersects with and impacts the activities of the UN.

    Date
    , 1:00am –
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Religion and the United Nations
    Meetings & Events
  • 15.Spiritual Politics/The Politics of Spirituality

    An interdisciplinary group of scholars convened to discuss the intersections of the spiritual and the political, looking in particular at specific sites and issues in which political contention and discourses of the spiritual are closely conjoined, such as ecology, health and medicine, sexuality, and civil religion. Conversation centered on ten papers presented over the course of the workshop, which addressed themes ranging from transnational Evangelical and Pentecostal movements and associations to the politics of sex in Western Europe and the United States, and from medicine and healing to ecological activism and the governmental production of spirituality in state parks.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life
    Meetings & Events
  • 16.Religion and International Affairs: Assessing the State of the Art

    In collaboration with the Henry Luce Foundation, the SSRC convened over thirty leaders of ongoing and recently concluded projects supported by the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs for a two-day conference on the present state of the field. A select number of special guests were also invited on the basis of their renowned expertise and unique perspectives on the multiple intersections of religion and global affairs. Participants represented a broad spectrum of institutions, from major universities to international nongovernmental organizations to widely recognized public affairs media outlets. The conference was organized around an extensive and multifocal set of thematic areas and operational concerns; it also provided a unique opportunity to forge new relationships while extending and reinforcing existing networks among scholars and practitioners working at the crossroads of religion and international affairs.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 17.Religion, Peacebuilding, and Development in Mindanao

    The conflict in Mindanao raises important questions regarding the cultural and religious dimensions of economic development and peacebuilding. At the heart of the conflict over land and resources, one encounters issues of social and communal identity; material inequality owing to the economic, political, and social marginalization of Muslims and indigenous peoples; and institutions (policies, laws, structures) that perpetuate this inequality. Gathering a group of scholars, peacebuilding professionals, and development practitioners from the U.S. and abroad, including several participants from Mindanao, this workshop fostered two days of discussion centered on the extent to which religion figures as a cause of conflict as well as a source of peace and development on the island; the politics of peacebuilding and development, particularly in relation to political dynamics in Manila; and comparative questions concerning how lessons learned in the continuing struggle for peace and economic advancement in Mindanao can be utilized in other areas of conflict in the region and across the globe.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 18.Sites of Civic Engagement

    In recent decades, the United States has seen a remarkable decline in religious affiliation and, correspondingly, the emergence of "spiritual-not-religious" as an alternative index of identity. Concomitant with these phenomena is a widespread premonition—and anxiety—that such transformations of the religious topography of the United States mark a turn toward an insidious individualism and the dissolution of those forms of civic engagement and political participation thought to have traditionally sustained American democracy. In the interest of challenging such assumptions and, in so doing, developing a sharpened analytic perspective from which scholars can engage questions of American spirituality and politics in new ways, the participants in the Sites of Civic Engagement Workshop came together for two days of vigorous debate and discussion focused on the historical emergence of spirituality as an articulation of individual and collective identities, the construction and deployment of discourses of the spiritual in the public sphere today, and the optimal methods for the study of spirituality in both its historical and present-day configurations.

    Date
    Location
    Social Science Research Council
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 19.Workshop on Religion, the Public Sphere, and World Society

    Jürgen Habermas’s recent work has centered in part on an analysis and critique of the secularization thesis that has informed much of mainstream sociological theory. This work has included attention to: how such theories fail to properly address the challenge of different paths to modernity; how religion challenges the secular self-understanding of liberal, democratic, rule of law-based societies; and how postmetaphysical thinking should work toward the development of a postsecular understanding of reason, one that does not invidiously prejudge a Eurocentric or rationalistic understanding of reason and the social achievements of the West. The SSRC, in concert with the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and the Humanities Institute at SUNY Stony Brook, convened an international cohort of scholars in both philosophy and social theory to engage directly with Habermas on the topic of religion's place in postmetaphysical philosophy and the public spheres of today's multicultural world society.

    Date
    Location
    Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 20.The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere

    On Thursday, October 22, 2009, from 4:00-8:30PM, the SSRC, the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, and Stony Brook University co-sponsored a major public event at The Great Hall at Cooper Union, in New York City. The event featured four of the most important and innovative public intellectuals of our time—Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor and Cornel West—discussing the role religion can, should, and might play in the public sphere.

    Date
    , 12:00pm –
    Location
    The Great Hall, Cooper Union
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 21.Exploring the "Post-Secular"

    There has been a great deal of talk in recent years suggesting that we have entered a “post-secular” age. But what, if anything, does the term “post-secular” even mean? Have we really entered into a post-secular age? And if so, what implications, if any, does this have for the social sciences? Do these developments imply a new approach to the study of religion? A wholesale reconstruction of social science? A shift towards social philosophy? Is there such a thing as “post-secular social science”? This conference brought together a number of analysts of religion and its entanglements with the world in an attempt to assess these questions. It addressed the possible meanings of religion and the various terms with roots in the term “secular”: secularism, secularity, secularization. Without some grappling with the question of what religion is, it is very difficult to say what secularity or secularization might entail. This conference explored the extent to which the “return of religion” is a product of an actual upsurge of religiosity around the world as opposed to greater scholarly attention to religion, and examined the ways in which the global religious situation may compel us to reconsider how we think about both religion and social science.

    Date
    Location
    Henry R. Luce Hall, Yale University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 22.Religious Counterpublics

    This workshop brings together leading scholars in order to ask to what extent developments in a variety of religious traditions (past and present) can fruitfully be understood as religious counterpublics. The increasing prominence of modern media techniques in religious organizing, and by extension the increasing religious presence within mass media, have been obvious to almost everyone. And this seems to be true in all parts of the world, as well as all the major religious traditions. But less obvious, or less well understood, is how environments of circulating media have affected the practice, social imaginaries, and political form of religious worlds.

    Date
    Location
    Yale University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 23.Religious, Spiritual, Secular: Invidious Distinctions and Ambivalent Attachments

    Scholars and practitioners alike have constantly invoked and constantly confused distinctions among religion, secular, and spiritual life. The proliferation of terms has left social scientists uncertain about how to proceed. Conference participants addressed the interplay between religious, spiritual, and secular in a range of institutional and personal pursuits with an eye to the ways these terms allow individuals and groups to position themselves relative to institutions and histories that they simultaneously engage and resist, thus signaling what we have called “ambivalent attachments.” The conference laid the groundwork for a forthcoming edited volume.

    Date
    Location
    The Italian Academy, Columbia University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 24.Humanitarianism, Activism, Media, Religion

    Contemporary activist groups saturate our worlds with images and sounds. Seeking solidarity with different movements and publics, some groups use media complexes to generate outrage and others to invoke sympathy; some seeking to minimize religious, national, and regional differences and others working to intensify them. While distinctions between religious and secular activist media often seem self-evident, this panel asked what they might share. How do religious and secular forms of activism overlap? How do contemporary humanitarian and activist movements use complex networks of mediation? How do visions of suffering function when mediated and deployed globally? How do the formal properties of media signs and symbols constitute humanitarian and activist movements? Co-sponsored by the SSRC and Columbia University's Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, the panel included Birgit Meyer, Charles Hirschkind, Peter Redfield, and moderator Brian Larkin.

    Date
    Location
    The Italian Academy, Columbia University
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events
  • 25.Sex and Secularity

    In conjunction with the one year anniversary of the launch of The Immanent Frame, the Social Science Research Council’s blog on secularism, religion and the public sphere, this panel discussion featured Michael Warner on the topic of “Sex and secularity,” with responses from Stathis Gourgouris and Kathryn Lofton.

    Date
    , 6:00pm
    Location
    Institute for Public Knowledge
    Program
    Religion and the Public Sphere
    Meetings & Events