Religions & Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics


The Religions and Public Life Initiative is a collaboration among Duke Divinity School, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

The Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics explores the role of religions in historical and cultural context as they influence the lives of their adherents, interact with each other across time and geography, and contribute to the formation of institutions that make up the public sphere. A joint endeavor with Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and Duke Divinity School, it is an interdisciplinary platform that puts scholars, students, and practitioners in conversation with one another through collaborative research, innovative teaching, and community engagement.

Programmatically, our work takes account of the surprising and powerful return of religion in the twenty first century as a force – local, national and international – shaping public life in a postsecular society. The initiative explores the opportunities and dilemmas that religion’s new role presents. It seeks to create at Duke an interdisciplinary space for the discussion of these questions by engaging students, faculty, and practitioners at all levels, and developing collaborations with scholars at other North Carolina universities and around the world. The program supports and coordinates research programs addressing religion’s social and historical role, and brings to campus innovative scholars and public intellectuals to stimulate debate. It has special interest in advancing interreligious dialogue, in examining the accommodation of religious minorities, and in understanding the working of religious diasporas in a globalizing world.