Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Home Berkley Center Home Berkley Center on iTunes U Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page Berkley Center's Twitter Page Berkley Center's Facebook Page Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page WFDD's Twitter Page WFDD's Facebook Page Doyle Undergraduate Initiatives Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey Junior Year Abroad Network Undergraduate Fellows Knowledge Resources KR Classroom Resources KR Countries KR Traditions KR Topics Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Forum Back to the Berkley Center World Faiths Development Dialogue Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Blog Back to the Berkley Center Catholic Social Thought Back to the Berkley Center Normative Orders Collaborative
April 17, 2014  |  About RFP  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
Themes People Publications Events Media Resources  


Everybody's Business: The Legal, Economic, and Political Implications of Religious Freedom

March 24, 2014

Is International Religious Freedom Policy Becoming Respectable?

February 25, 2014

Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

December 13, 2013

Freedom to Flourish: Is Religious Freedom Necessary for Peace, Prosperity, and Democracy?

October 9, 2013

British Christianity: Historical Contributions and Contemporary Challenges

October 2, 2013

Is Europe Joining the International Religious Freedom Bandwagon?

September 18, 2013

The Good Muslim and Religious Freedom

May 31, 2013

Threats to Religious Freedom in the U.S. and Europe: Concerns of Majority and Minority Communities

May 30, 2013

Rick Warren on Religious Freedom - A Conversation

February 12, 2013

Theism and Rationality: A Seminar with Alvin Plantinga and Ernest Sosa

January 7, 2013

Inaugural Symposium: Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

December 14, 2012

Policy Consultation on Religious Freedom, Violent Religious Extremism, and Constitutional Reform in Muslim-Majority Countries: Lessons for U.S. Policy Makers

December 7, 2012

Religious Freedom Past and Future

October 24, 2012

Which Model, Whose Liberty?: Differences between the U.S. and European Approaches to Religious Freedom

October 11, 2012

Just and Unjust Peace

September 14, 2012

Catholic Perspectives on Religious Liberty

September 13, 2012

Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate: a Conversation with Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Diane Black, Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Lipinski

June 28, 2012

Religion & State After the Arab Spring: Devising Ground Rules for a New Era

May 14, 2012

Rethinking Religion and World Affairs

May 1, 2012

Religious Freedom and Equality: Emerging Conflicts in North America and Europe

April 11, 2012

Religious Freedom and Healthcare Reform

March 22, 2012

Religious Freedom and Religious Extremism: Lessons from the Arab Spring

March 16, 2012

Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right

March 1, 2012

Equality, Freedom, & Religion

February 13, 2012

Standing Seminar: Religion & Human Personhood, Culture, and Society

February 10, 2012

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide

January 31, 2012

Standing Seminar: Religion, Health, and Happiness

December 5, 2011

What's So Special About Religious Freedom?

November 17, 2011

The Price of Freedom Denied

October 20, 2011

Sourcebook Seminar on Religious Freedom and the Struggle against Extremism

September 23, 2011

The Cognitive Science of Religion

May 4, 2011

Sourcebook Seminar on the Historical Origins of Religious Freedom

April 29, 2011


Thomas FarrThomas Farr

Thomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting associate...

Timothy ShahTimothy Shah

Timothy Samuel Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and...


Ilan AlonIlan Alon

Ilan Alon is the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of International Business and director of the China Center at Rollins College, as well as a...

José CasanovaJosé Casanova

José Casanova is one of the world's top scholars in the sociology of religion. He is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown...

Jean Bethke ElshtainJean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago from 1996 until her...

Anthony GillAnthony Gill

Tony Gill is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington, adjunct professor of sociology at the UW, and a...

William InbodenWilliam Inboden

William Inboden is associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and executive director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy, and...

Timur KuranTimur Kuran

Timur Kuran is professor of economics and political science, and Gorter Family Professor in Islamic Studies at Duke University. Kuran’s research...

David NovakDavid Novak

David Novak holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies as Professor of the Study of Religion and Professor of Philosophy at the...

John M. OwenJohn M. Owen

John M. Owen is the Ambassador Henry J. and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Liberal...

Daniel PhilpottDaniel Philpott

Daniel Philpott, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, specializes in the...

Ani SarkissianAni Sarkissian

Ani Sarkissian is an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, where she is a core faculty member of the Muslim...

Mona SiddiquiMona Siddiqui

Mona Siddiqui is professor of Islamic and inter-religious studies and assistant principal for religion and society at the University of Edinburgh....

Monica Duffy ToftMonica Duffy Toft

Monica Duffy Toft is professor of government and public policy at Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government. She previously was associate...

Roger TriggRoger Trigg

Roger Trigg, of St Cross College, Oxford, is senior research fellow in the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford, and a member of Oxford's...

Robert WoodberryRobert Woodberry

Robert Woodberry is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change (PREC) at the...


Kyle Vander MeulenKyle Vander Meulen

Kyle Vander Meulen joined the Berkley Center in January 2011. Before coming to the center, he completed his master's studies in Divinity at the...

Claudia WinklerClaudia Winkler

Claudia Winkler joined the Berkley Center in February 2014. Before joining the center, Claudia completed her master's degree in German at...

Project Themes

Religion as Intrinsic to Human Experience

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.

Historical Origins of Religious Freedom

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

Religious Freedom in the U.S. and Europe

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.

Religious Freedom and Economic, Social, and Political Development

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.

Religious Freedom and the Struggle against Extremism

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

Christianity & Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


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