How to Take Religion Seriously in World Politics: Can Religious Studies Help?
At the end of February, Katherine Brown, Jocelyne Cesari, Andrew Davies and Francis Davis were privileged to speak at the world-famous Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
In a special seminar session entitled 'How to take Religion seriously in World Politics', which attracted students and faculty members from a number of Washington-area universities and federal government agencies, the panel discussed a variety of ways that some of the component disciplines of religious studies can contribute to addressing global political challenges. Francis looked at the underestimated contribution religious orders make to social wellbeing, whilst Jocelyne chaired the event and explained the need for a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to tackling some of the great global issues. Andrew talked about the need to take conservative religious traditions seriously and highlighted the challenge that conservative Christian readings of the Bible pose to world peace, particularly in respect of the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, and then Katherine compared the journey that the discipline of international relations had travelled in terms of engagement with feminism a decade ago to its present cautious interaction with religious studies, highlighting some possible challenges and opportunities for religion and international relations scholarship going forward.