Research Projects

Religious Revivals in China’s Economic Core, 2010-2012

Religious Revivals in China’s Economic Core, directed by CURA’s Robert Weller, focuses on understanding the relations between religious and civil life in China’s most developed region–the provinces in the lower reaches of the Yangzi River.  The research phase took place in 2010-2012.  The research team covers the entire range of religious life in the region.  An edited book based on the work is in press in Chinese, and in preparation in English.

International Religious Demography

International Religious Demography aims to provide comprehensive religious demographic information. The IRD project is collecting, collating and analyzing primary and secondary source material on religious demography for all major religions in every country of the world.

Religion, Conflict, and Civic Education in Deeply Plural Societies: Programs on and for Pluralism, Public Policy and Citizen Education, 2010-2012

Religion, Conflict, and Civic Education in Deeply Plural Societies was co-directed by both Robert Hefner and Adam Seligman. This three-year project examined, and sought to conduct research on and develop educational resources for addressing the challenge of religion and citizen inculturation in deeply plural societies.

Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism in the Next Generations: Implications for Democracy, Civic Education, and Economic Ethics, 2010-present

Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism in the Next Generations: Implications for Democracy, Civic Education, and Economic Ethics is co-directed by Peter Berger and Robert W. Hefner. This project examines cultural developments among second and third generation Evangelicals and Pentecostals in different countries around the world, highlighting the implications of these communities’ expansion for political participation, citizenship, and economic morality.

Secularism and Its Adversaries, 2011-2012

Secularism and Its Adversaries, directed by Peter Berger, aimed to address key policy questions concerning the place of secularism, secularity, and public religion in democratic politics.

Emerging Evangelical Intelligentsia, 2007-2011

An Emerging Evangelical Intelligentsia was a three -year research project under the directorship of Timothy Shah and James Wallace.  The project examined the emergence of a new generation of evangelical intellectuals in the United States, both the secular academy and the broader public sphere, and explores the phenomenon’s implications for citizenship, civility, and American public life.

Shari’a Politics and U.S. Policy, 2008-2011

Shari’a Politics: The Cultures and Politics of Movements for the Implementation of Islamic Law, directed by Robert W. Hefner was a three-year project examining the ideals and practices of modern shari’a movements in eight Muslim-majority countries, and their implications for citizenship, gender relations, and social pluralism.

Religion, Social Movements, and Progressive Reform in Latin America, 2010-present

Religion, Social Movements, and Progressive Reform in Latin America examines the role of religious actors in social and political life across Latin America.  The project aims to foster a heretofore uncommon dialogue between researchers on social movements and scholars of religion in Latin America.

Annual Summer Seminar on Public Religion and Modern Social Life, 2002-2010

Annual Summer Seminar, directed by Peter Berger and co-sponsored by the Boston University School of Theology, provided students with a two week intensive seminar on religion and world affairs. Topics included, among others, religious globalization; religion, plurality, and violence; and new religious movements.

Between Relativism and Fundamentalism

Between Relativism and Fundamentalism explores the theological and institutional resources in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions for engaging the plurality and challenge of the modern era in a manner neither ethically relativistic nor religiously fundamentalist.

Spiritual Narratives in Everyday Life

Spiritual Narratives in Everyday Life examines the contemporary diversity and vitality of American religiosity through extended comparisons of the narratives through which faith-oriented citizens understand and enact their beliefs.

Civil Democratic Islam: Prospects, Comparisons, and Policies for a Changing Muslim World, 2002-2004

Civil Democratic Islam aimed to carry out comparative research to determine the policies and circumstances that can best promote the consolidation of a civil and democratic Islam. This project brings together fifteen senior scholars to conduct research and prepare reports on the social and intellectual resources for, and obstacles to, pluralist democratization in the Muslim world.

Enduring Reform: Progressive Activism and Business Visions of Change in Latin America’s Democracies

Enduring Reform documents a degree of business openness to progressive reform that would have been unthinkable before the 1990s in Latin America.

The Toleration Project: A Cross-National Study of Inter-Religious Tolerance

The Toleration Project is designed to identify and explore the resources for tolerance and pluralism intrinsic in the three revealed religions-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-in a global context, with a particular emphasis on the relevance of these resources to educational practice.

Orthodox Christianity and the Construction of Civil Society and Democracy is Russia

Orthodox Christianity and the Construction of Civil Society and Democracy in Russia aims to bring together scholars and political and ecclesiastical leaders from Russia and the West to foster an informed debate and promote rigorous examination of the role of civil society in contemporary Russia.

Economic and Political Potential of the African Charismatic Churches

Economic and Political Potential of the African Charismatic Churches seeks to explore the strength of the Pentecostal movement in Africa.

Engaged Religions and the Public Good in Chinese Societies

Engaged Religions and the Public Good in Chinese Societies explores the resurgence of religion in contemporary China, and examines the implications of China’s diverse particular religions for cultural and civil life.

A Study of the Role of Corporations in Developing Societies

The Role of Corporations in Developing Societies seeks to determine the role of corporate activity in developing societies, and the lasting impacts on both institutional and diffuse situations.

The Newest African Americans: Identity and Incorporation among Recent West African Immigrants to the U.S.

The Newest African Americans posits questions related to the percolating issues of ethnic and racial identity in the American context particularly in relation to the native-born black populations.

Madrasas, Modernity, and the Future of Muslim Higher Education, 2004-2005

Madrasas, Modernity, and the Future of Muslim Higher Education was directed by  Robert W. Hefner and was a comparative research project on madrasas and religious education in eight Muslim-majority countries.

Madrasas, State Islamic Universities, and Civic Education in Indonesia, 2004-2005

Madrasas, State Islamic Universities, and Civic Education in Indonesia was co-directed by Dr. Azyumardi Azra and Robert W. Hefner, with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Civil Society and Social Pluralism in Yogyakarta, 2000-2001

Civil Society and Social Pluralism in Yogyakarta, directed by Robert W. Hefner, was a training and research project with the Lembaga Kajian Islam dan Sosial (Institute for Islamic and Social Studies, a democratic Muslim non-governmental organization), Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Southeast Asian Pluralisms: Social Resources for Civility and Participation in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, 1998-2000

Southeast Asian Pluralisms, directed by Robert W. Hefner, was a three country project involving sixteen senior researchers examining ethnoreligious pluralism, conflict, and democratic citizenship in multicultural Southeast Asia.