RELATED EVENTSMarch 24, 2014
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February 12, 2013
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December 14, 2012
Policy Consultation on Religious Freedom, Violent Religious Extremism, and Constitutional Reform in Muslim-Majority Countries: Lessons for U.S. Policy MakersDecember 7, 2012
October 24, 2012
Which Model, Whose Liberty?: Differences between the U.S. and European Approaches to Religious FreedomOctober 11, 2012
September 14, 2012
September 13, 2012
Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate: a Conversation with Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Diane Black, Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan LipinskiJune 28, 2012
May 14, 2012
May 1, 2012
April 11, 2012
March 22, 2012
March 16, 2012
March 1, 2012
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January 31, 2012
December 5, 2011
November 17, 2011
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PROJECT LEADERSThomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting associate...
Timothy Samuel Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and...
ASSOCIATE SCHOLARSIlan Alon is the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of International Business and director of the China Center at Rollins College, specializing...
Anthony (Tony) Gill is a professor of political science and adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Washington, a distinguished senior...
Brian J. Grim is president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and a leading expert on the socioeconomic impact of restrictions on...
Allen Hertzke is Presidential Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma and faculty fellow in Religious Freedom for OU’s...
William Inboden is associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and executive director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy, and...
Karrie J. Koesel is assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon and an associate scholar with the Berkley Center's...
Timur Kuran is professor of economics and political science and Gorter Family Professor in Islamic Studies at Duke University, as well as an...
John M. Owen IV is the Ambassador Henry J. and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Professor of Politics and faculty fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies...
Daniel Philpott, a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for Peace Studies and an associate scholar with...
Ani Sarkissian is an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University (MSU) and an associate scholar with the Berkley Center's...
Rebecca Samuel Shah is a research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and an associate scholar with the Berkley...
W. Bradford Wilcox is an associate professor of sociology and the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, as well...
Robert Woodberry is an associate professor of Political Science and director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change at the National...
PROJECT STAFFNicholas Fedyk joined the Berkley Center in June 2014 as a project associate with the Religious Freedom Project. He graduated from Georgetown's...
Claudia Winkler joined the Berkley Center in February 2014 as a project associate with the Religious Freedom Project. Before joining the center,...
PROJECT NEWSJuly 23, 2014
July 21, 2014
July 13, 2014
July 8, 2014
July 7, 2014
July 2, 2014
July 1, 2014
June 30, 2014
June 27, 2014
June 23, 2014
June 11, 2014
June 9, 2014
Recent decades have seen an explosion of academic interest in the anthropological, philosophical, psychological, and biological basis of religious experience as a human universal. Scholars across the natural and social sciences have deepened their exploration of religion as it intersects with questions of individual and collective identity, ethics, and action. The project will institute a standing seminar series to bring leading scholars to present their findings and explore their implications for the idea of religious freedom. The seminars will generate an extended conversation among scholars from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and inform the core research carried out across the project's four other thematic areas.
An adequate understanding of the contemporary significance of religious freedom requires a grasp of its history and institutionalization over time. While the idea of religious freedom grows out of the Classical and Judeo-Christian traditions, it became a major social and political issue during and after the Reformation. Over the past two centuries, the idea of religious liberty has advanced against fierce opposition, both religious and secular, and has found diverse forms of political expression. Understanding the persistence of discrimination against and persecution of religious communities in the contemporary world -- and countering it effectively -- requires a deeper understanding of history. The project will bring together leading scholars to examine the evolution of the idea of religious liberty, its institutionalization, and contemporary relevance.
>> Religious Freedom in the Wake of the Arab Spring
While the role of religion can be strikingly different on both sides of the Atlantic, American and European societies face similar challenges to religious liberty. The U.S. model of high levels of religious practice, denominational competition, and non-establishment contrasts with European models of low religious participation and either state churches (as in the U.K.) or the state-state-enforced privatization of religion (as in France). Different historical legacies and religious and political constellations have shaped responses to trends including the growth of Islam and the emergence of same-sex marriage as a contested issue, with implications for the rights of both religious minorities and majorities. The project will address a thicket of controversial legal and ethical issues not adequately addressed on either side of the Atlantic.
Recent empirical research suggests a positive correlation between levels of religious freedom across countries and measures of economic, social, and political development. It appears that citizens' capacity to act on the basis of core beliefs has positive effects on civic and political life, including economic development and the onset and consolidation of democracy. Drawing on this research, the project will explore the conditions under which religious freedom serves other ends. What dimensions of religious freedom -- belief, practice, and political engagement -- have positive effects? When and how do they do so? The project will address these questions through ongoing research to be presented through events and publications.
Policy debates about how to combat religious extremism, terrorism, and violence have typically pitted supporters of military and police force against advocates of economic and social development. A vital policy tool -- the advancement of religious freedom -- has been neglected. This thematic area will explore the causal mechanisms linking religious freedom and violence. Is the suppression of religious freedom linked to religiously-motivated violence or terrorism? Do restrictions on religious liberty undermine moderates or reformers who might otherwise oppose extremism? Can the advancement of religious freedom catalyze the kinds of political theologies that support democratic governance and counter religious extremism and terrorism? The project will ask these and other questions of diverse societies around the world.
>> Religious Freedom and Religious Extremism in the Aftermath of 9/11
>> Religious Conflict and the Future of a Democratic Egypt
The Religious Freedom Project is undertaking a two-year research initiative to explore Christianity’s contributions to the construction and diffusion of freedom in its political, religious, and economic dimensions. Through groundbreaking research by an international team of scholars as well as through a cycle of public symposia and conferences, “Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,” will examine ways in which Christian thinkers and communities have generated new concepts and practices of freedom in interaction with other religious traditions and secular ideas and institutions. Religious Freedom Project Associate Director and Scholar in Residence Timothy Shah is the Project Leader. Allen Hertzke, Presidential Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma, will Co-Chair the initiative’s distinguished Steering Committee alongside Timothy Shah.
The initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs (RIHA) program administered by the Historical Society, with additional support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute.
>> On Christianity and Freedom