Religion and Politics

Convened by the MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics and Society
May 3, 2017
Luce Hall, room 203

The purpose of this conference is to engage in sustained conversation about how to advance our understanding of the relationships between religion and politics. Led by Junior Fellows in the MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society, the conference is structured around three roundtable sessions, each of which speak to broader questions that drive the Initiative. What do we mean by the concepts of religion and politics? How do we understand ideas like secularism, toleration, multiculturalism, or pluralism, which are often tied up in our efforts to understand the relationship between religion and politics? How do historical and comparative perspectives contribute to our understanding of contemporary problems in religion and politics? What is the role and value of interdisciplinary conversation, and how do we advance productive research agendas across disciplines?
The conference is open to the public, and we invite all who are interested to join us in conversation.
So that we can adequately prepare, please register for the conference by April 28th here.
If you have questions, please contact Catherine Arnold at
Conference Schedule
10:00-10:30am: Tea and coffee
10:30am-12:00pm: Religion and the State
What is the relationship between religious and political authority? How does that relationship shape the way that states operate?
Catherine Arnold, History
Jonathan Endelman, Sociology
Cody Musselman, Religious Studies
Luke Wagner, Sociology
Tisa Wenger, Faculty moderator, Divinity
12:00-12:30pm: Lunch
12:30-1:15pm: Religion and Politics Colloquium 2017-2018 Planning Session
How can the Religion and Politics Colloquium best advance the objectives of the Initiative on Religion, Politics and Society? Which sessions from 2016-2017 did you find most fruitful? What topics or areas would you like to see covered in the 2017-2018 colloquium? Do you have recommendations about whom we should invite to present?
Jonathan Wyrtzen, Faculty moderator, Sociology
1:15-1:30pm: Tea and coffee break
1:30-3:00pm: Toleration and Public Discourse
What is the relationship between religion and politics in shaping toleration and public discourse? How is toleration expressed? What are the limits of toleration, and when does it break down?
Justin Hawkins, Religious Studies
Elisabeth Becker, Sociology
Sam Stabler, Sociology
Alicia Steinmetz, Political Science
Kathryn Lofton, Faculty moderator, Religious Studies
3:30-5:00pm: Community, Identity, and Boundaries
How are religious and communal boundaries established, and how do they relate to one another? What role does identity play in the construction of boundaries?
Roger Bauman, Sociology
Kelsey Champagne, History
Billy McMillan, Sociology
Amy Gais, Political Science
Philip Gorski, Faculty moderator, Sociology
5:30-7:30pm: Reception at Mory’s