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Religion and Nationalism Panel

Thursday, October 29
5 – 6 p.m.

The relationship between religion and nationalism has been at the forefront of Orthodox Christian identity since the fall of the Ottoman Empire for people who migrated to such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany during the 20th century, and now in the post-communist revival of the religion in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Georgia. In the United States, default thinking usually separates religion from national identity, and it is only recently that the elision of the two has emerged to impact public life, especially national elections. But is it only recently?

Has the current situation simply made more explicit a consistent undercurrent of American identity? Will the presidential campaign be a national moment of reckoning on the relationship of religion and nationalism in the U.S.? How does the relationship between religion and nationalism in the United States compare with the experience in orthodox countries? Can anything be learned from the orthodox encounter with the question of religion and nationalism over the past two centuries? This panel of experts will discuss the similarities and differences of the religion-nationalism dynamic as it is experienced in the United States, the Orthodox Christian world, and beyond.

Panelists include José Casanova, Elizabeth Prodromou, and Eric Gregory.

About the Speakers

Casanova, a world-renowned sociologist of religion, is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and emeritus professor of sociology, theology, and religious studies at Georgetown University. From 1987 to 2007, he served as a sociology professor at the New School for Social Research. His book, Public Religions in the Modern World (University of Chicago Press, 1994), has become a modern classic and has been translated into many languages, including Japanese, Arabic, and Turkish. He is also the author of Europas Angst vor der Religion (Berlin U.P., 2009), GenealogĂ­as de la SecularizaciĂłn (Barcelona: Anthropos, 2012), Beyond Secularization (in Ukrainian, Kyiv: Dukh I Litera, 2017), and Global Religious and Secular Dynamics (Brill, 2019). Recently, he co-edited The Jesuits and Globalization (Georgetown UP, 2016) and Islam, Gender and Democracy in Comparative Perspective (Oxford, 2017).

Prodromou is a faculty member at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she directs the Initiative on Religion, Law, and Diplomacy. She is a non-resident senior fellow and co-chair of the working group on Christians and religious pluralism in the Middle East at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute and was a non-resident senior fellow in national security and the Middle East at the Center for American Progress. She is a co-president of Religions for Peace. Prodromou served as vice chair and commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2004-2012) and was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Religion & Foreign Policy Working Group (2011-2015). Her research interests focus on geopolitics and religion, with particular focus on the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeastern Europe. Her current research projects concentrate on cultural heritage and institutional religious freedom in Turkey, as well as Eastern Orthodox Christianity in contexts of religious pluralism. The author of multiple edited volumes and many publications in scholarly and policy journals, Prodromou is a frequent commentator and contributor in U.S. and international media. She holds a Ph.D. and an S.M. in political science from MIT, a M.A.L.D. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a B.A. in history and international relations from Tufts University.

Gregory is a religion professor and chair of the Humanities Council at Princeton University. His research and teaching span religious and philosophical ethics, theology, political theory, and the role of religion in public life. In addition to articles and scholarly reviews, he is the author of Politics and the Order of Love: An Augustinian Ethic of Democratic Citizenship (2008). A graduate of Harvard College, he earned an M.Phil. and diploma in Theology from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a doctorate in religious studies from Yale University. He has received fellowships from the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York University School of Law. Among his current projects is a book tentatively titled The In-Gathering of Strangers: Global Justice and Political Theology, which examines secular and religious perspectives on global justice. In 2007, he was awarded Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.