Religious Freedom, Pluralism, and Secularisms

ASU's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict (CSRC) promotes interdisciplinary research and education on the dynamics of religion and conflict with the aim of advancing knowledge, seeking solutions and informing policy.

Disputes over the nature and legitimacy of the secular state and society have exploded in recent decades both in the United States and abroad. Religious actors and movements increasingly challenge, and sometimes violently resist, the secular consensus that has dominated politics and policy in modern democratic states. Greater understanding of the nature and varieties of secularism is urgently needed to move past polarized and increasingly inflammatory positions that pit an antireligious secularism against religious actors suspicious if not hostile to the secular state and society.

The project, funded by the Ford Foundation, will explore the varieties and politics of secularism and the public role of religion, focusing on France, India, Turkey and the United States. It will support international conferences, workshops, and publications in order to:

  • Generate a deeper understanding of the dynamics of religion and the secular across these countries (France, India, Turkey, and the US), in light of broader global dynamics.
  • Rethink the dominant public narratives that shape attitudes and perceptions about the interface of religion and the secular within and across countries.
  • Foster new crossdisciplinary and international conversations that create space for fresh thinking on the challenges of religious pluralism within the new global order.

The project is led by Linell Cady, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and Franca G. Oreffice Dean's Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University, in collaboration with an international project team and additional researchers at ASU.

Charles Taylor "Master Narratives of Secularization"
Nilüfer Göle "Manifestations of the Religious/Secular: Definitions of Self, State and the Public Sphere"
Zoya Hasan "Centrist Politics and the Dilemmas of Secularism"
Aditya Nigam "Towards an Understanding of the ‘Postsecular’: Religion, Nationalism & the State"
Shail Mayaram "Critical Political Theologies: Post Islamist Reclamations of Indian Democracy and Secularism"
Akeel Bilgrami "Was Gandhi a Radical?"
Tisa Wenger "Rewriting the First Amendment: Competing American Secularisms, 1850-1900"
Linell Cady "Navigating the Religion-Secular Boundary in the United States: Theological Considerations"
Winnifred Fallers Sullivan "Spiritual Governance: Citizen as Pastoral Care Client"
Gauri Viswanathan "Secularism and Heterodoxy"
Veit Bader "Secularism or Liberal-Democracy in Turkey and India? The Pitfalls of ‘Secularism’ in Constitutional Debates "