Over the past twenty years, there is evidence that—while remaining one of the most religious nations in the industrialized world—the United States has been experiencing a growth in secularism. Increasing evidence also suggests that this secular turn has been caused, at least in part, by a negative reaction to the mixture of religion and partisan politics. In this lecture, David Campbell, Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, will present new ways of thinking about what it means to be secular in contemporary America, and then explain how those types of secularism are, and are not, affected by the mixture of religion and politics.
David Campbell is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and the founding director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy. He is the co-author (with Robert Putnam) of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, which has been described by the New York Times as intellectually powerful, by America as an instant classic and by the San Francisco Chronicle as the most successfully argued sociological study of American religion in more than half a century. American Grace has also received both the 2011 Woodrow Wilson Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs and the Wilbur Award from the Religious Communicators Council for the best non-fiction book of 2010.
Professor Campbell’s lecture is part of the IRCPL’s Religion and Politics in American Public Life lecture series, coordinated by Professors Karen Barkey (CU Sociology), Jean Cohen (CU Political Science, and John Torpey (CUNY GC Sociology). Throughout the 2013 Fall term, the IRCPL will present four public conversations that explore the often contentious role of religion in American political and public life. Seeking to further understand the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, the series continues to explore a number of timely topics that intersect with religion, such as civil religion, public discourses of morality, and reproductive and sexual rights.
Sponsored by the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, The Department of Political Science at Columbia University, and the PhD Program in Sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY.