Senior Fellow Dr. Liz Bucar for Our Podcast Series The Square

In this edition of The Square, our senior fellow Liz Bucar talks with Jane Little about the sometimes fractious relationship between journalists and scholars, the #MeToo movement inside the academy, and how she’s learning from younger women academics on how to engage in scholarship that shifts the conversation.

For more episodes of The Square, featuring E.J. Dionne, Luke Bretherton, R. Marie Griffith, and more, head to our Podcast Page.

New Podcast with E.J. Dionne

In this special edition of The Square, E.J. Dionne talks with Jane Little and an audience of scholars about truth, patriotism, Donald Trump, and the “King Cyrus theology” that helped white evangelicals elect him.

E.J. Dionne is a columnist for The Washington Post, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, and Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

For more episodes of The Square, head to our Podcast page.

Interview with Michael Banner

The Reverend Dr. Michael Banner is a well-known ethicist in the UK and Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge. He recently visited us to deliver two lectures on bio-ethics.

Our Co-Director, Charles Mathewes, sat down with him to talk about his extensive public work, which has included advising government on some of the toughest moral questions, from lethal weapons to the use of human tissue.

For more conversations exploring the intersection of religion and public life, head to our Podcast page and our Audio resources page.

Big Data & Providence: Political Theologies of Omniscience in the Digital Age with Hanna Reichel

Religion and Its Publics hosted a paper workshop with Hanna Reichel, Associate Professor of Reformed Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. The paper, entitled “Big Data & Providence: Political Theologies of Omniscience in the Digital Age”, explores conversations between the doctrine of God and emergent surveillance cultures.

Date: April 27, 2018



Faith and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue | Lecture with Melissa Rogers | April 19th at 5:00pm | Nau Hall 211

Religion and Its Publics welcomed Melissa Rogers for a lecture entitled Faith and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Thursday, April 19 at 5:00pm in Nau Hall 211. Rogers discussed ways in which religion played a role in the White House during the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as the future of faith and the federal executive branch.

In addition to a public lecture, Rogers also met with undergraduates about working in religion, law, and public policy in DC, and with graduate students on current controversies in religion and public life.

Melissa Rogers recently served as special assistant to the president and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration, and previously served as chair of the inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Date: April 19, 2018

Senior Fellows Meet in Washington, D.C.

The senior fellows of the Project on Religion and Its Publics met in Washington, D.C. for a second weekend of rich discussion and workshops. On Friday evening, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post came to talk with Jane Little about his latest book, One Nation After Trump.

The scholars probed him on truth, threats to civil institutions, and evangelicals; why the “values voters” who swallowed their concerns about Candidate Trump continue to support the president in numbers well beyond the general population.

The next day began with a discussion of Amanda Anderson’s 2016 book Bleak Liberalism, which argues that liberalism is more than Rawlsian proceduralism. On Anderson’s account, the liberal tradition is a rich one, enlivened by significant literary and critical voices, and containing a set of values and an aesthetic sensibility of its own.

The next object of discussion was senior fellow, Slavica Jakelić’s forthcoming book, tentatively titled The Practice of Religious and Secular HumanismsThe book defends humanism, but understood expansively: Humanism is not, contrary to some popular understandings, an inherently secular (much less atheistic) philosophy. Rather, it is a place of encounter between religious and secular worldviews, and one that recommends a way of being in the world that bears a certain resemblance to the Aristotelian concept of flourishing.

Over lunch, the group discussed several essays taken from Mark Greif’s Against Everything and Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams. These writings are interesting examples of work produced by writers who are academically initiated (both earned PhDs at Yale), but who work outside the academy. Particular attention was paid to their writing style, from the structure of their essays down to the cadence of their sentences.

Saturday ended with a session dedicated to a recent essay by senior fellow, Thomas Lewis on moral formation, which on Lewis’s account has not ceased in modernity, despite influential claims to the contrary. We can see this in part by exploring the concept of Bildung in the philosophy of Hegel and the novels of Jane Austen, the dual focus of Lewis’s paper. A version of the essay the group read was recently presented at a conference and will be published in a forthcoming volume, but its insights stem from his larger research program and is connected to Lewis’s current book project, The Eclipse of Ethical Practices in the Modern West.

The weekend concluded with a discussion of possible directions forward for the group. Among other things, the group continues to reckon with the purpose and value of public scholarship, and how such work should fit into an academic research agenda. The Senior Fellows will convene again in Charlottesville in July.

Report by Evan Sandsmark, Religion and Its Publics Graduate Research Assistant