Current debates about secularization among social scientists, historians, and journalists focus on the apparent gap between relative religiosity of the United States and the relative secularity of Western Europe. The US, it is often alleged, simply refutes “secularization theory” as developed with the experience of historically Christian Europe in mind. This lecture argues the contrary, that a sound understanding of American history vindicates, rather than undermines the essential claims of classical secularization theory.
David A. Hollinger is Preston Hotchkis Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former President of the Organization of American HIstorians. His books include After Cloven Tongues of Fire (Princeton, 2013) and Science, Jews, and Secular Culture (Princeton, 1996).
This event is sponsored by Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Center for European Studies at Duke University.
Christianity and Its American Fate: Where History Interrogates Secularization Theory
Monday, February 22, 4:30 pm
240 John Hope Franklin Center