Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics examines the paradoxes that abound at the nexus where faith, citizenship, and law intersect with processes of globalization in order to produce new forms and reconfigurations of the public sphere. This new initiative is a collaboration among Duke Divinity School, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Religions and Public Life aims to surface crucial yet neglected dimensions to negotiating the impact of globalization—particularly with regard to issues such as public health, the environment, welfare provision, schooling, development, immigration, urban regeneration, and security—on the local, national, and international levels. Religious beliefs and practices are vital components of grassroots attempts to address inequality through democratic means. At the same time, religious groups are perceived as reinforcing and exacerbating conditions that produce inequality, particularly for women, embodying undemocratic institutions, and contesting visions of public life as secular and plural.
This spring, a new graduate seminar was launched, “A Paradoxical Politics? Religions, Poverty, and the Re-imagining of Citizenship within a Globalizing World.” In conjunction with the course, a series of guest speakers were invited from international institutions.