A Quarter Century of Public Religions

April 19-20, 2022
Location: Copley Hall Copley Formal Lounge Map

The 1994 publication of Public Religions in the Modern World, by Berkley Center Senior Fellow José Casanova, marked a paradigm shift in the study and understanding of religion in the modern world. The book challenged the dominant narratives of secularization and particularly secular liberal theories of democracy that claimed that religion had become and ought to remain a private affair.

More than a celebration of the book and its argument, this conference on "A Quarter Century of Public Religions” was an invitation to examine the global transformations of religions in the public sphere in the last twenty-five years. Leading experts in sociology, philosophy, anthropology, religion, history, and political science evaluated these transformations from their own area of expertise and research.

Public Health Measures: This event took place in-person on the Georgetown University campus. All visitors were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or to attested to having a medical or religious exemption from being vaccinated.


Tuesday, April 19

12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. EDT | Lunch

1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT | Welcome and Introduction
Thomas Banchoff, Georgetown University

1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. EDT | Global History and the Sociology of Religion: Casanova’s Contributions
Hans Joas, Humboldt University of Berlin

2:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT | Religions, Secularisms, and Public Spheres
Craig Calhoun, Arizona State University
Mirjam Künkler, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Rajeev Bhargava, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
Jocelyne Cesari, Georgetown University (moderator)

4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. EDT | Coffee Break

4:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EDT | Forum Discussion: A Quarter Century of Public Religions in a Global Secular Age
Charles Taylor, McGill University
Nilüfer Göle, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Most Rev. Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
Thomas Banchoff, Georgetown University (moderator)

Wednesday, April 20

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. EDT | Religions, Secularisms, and Public Spheres
Robert Hefner, Boston University
David Buckley, University of Louisville
Rev. Patrick Gilger, S.J., Loyola University Chicago
Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University (moderator)

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EDT | Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT | Contested Concepts: Religion, Fundamentalism, Secularism
R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University
Hent de Vries, New York University
Michael Kessler, Georgetown University (moderator)

12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EDT | Concluding Remarks
José Casanova, Georgetown University

1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. EDT | Lunch

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Related Publication

Book June 15, 1994

Public Religions in the Modern World

José Casanova's Public Religions in the Modern World reevaluates the theory of secularization in light of the global resurgence of religion during the last four decades, focusing on the phenomenon of “deprivatization,” or religious re-engagement in the public sphere.
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