Lexical Entries

The research team members selected a set of key “Lexical Entries” about which we will engage in a written dialogue. Each center selected two key terms that it will define and analyze in a brief essay statement that can be subsequently engaged in responses. The first round of terms includes: Nationalism (Utrecht), Science (Portland), Faith (Tel Aviv), Fundamentalism (Arizona), and Civil Religion (Hong Kong). The essays that we write will guide the next step in the project-wide dialogue this December in Utrecht and will also constitute part of the project’s written deliverables.

Science The complex relations between religion(s) and science(s) may be conveniently divided into three categories of contemporary interest, especially in the so-called West. 1. Contemporary religious perspectives on the sciences. Religious beliefs sometimes conflict with scientific theories: Christian, Muslim, and Jewish “creationists,” for example,... Read More
Nationalism 'Now, the essence of a nation is that the people have many things in common, but have also forgotten much together. No French citizen knows if he is Burgundian, Alain, Taifale, Visigoth; every French citizen must have forgotten the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre and the massacres in the Midi in the 13th century.' Auguste Renan, ‘What is a Nation... Read More
Fundamentalism In the spirit of genealogical inquiry, this essay aims to ask, not what is the truth of fundamentalism but instead what work is performed by the truth claims about it. We are therefore focusing less on those whom we call “fundamentalists” than on what calling them (or sometimes ourselves) fundamentalists might accomplish, particularly when... Read More
Faith When asked to explain “time”, Saint Augustine famously said: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” This “explanation” rings true when one wishes to explain “faith” as well. In fact, it rings even truer when one wishes to consider how faith inspires political belonging in... Read More
Civil Religion in the Context of Chinese History Before discussing civil religion in the Chinese historical context, in accordance with the theme of the Mellon Project, Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging, A look at the concept of “civil religion” –as propagated by Rousseau—should be of some help, since this concept intercepts with all the three key terms. Rousseau on “Civil Religion”... Read More

RelSec is comprised of five partner sites situated in universities around the world. The participating centers conduct parallel research projects whose exact shape reflects the distinct missions of the centers and research profiles of the teams. All will include some combination of public presentations and events, faculty workshops, and/or curricular initiatives, such as the development of team-taught courses on secularism, religion, and political belonging.
Click on the icons below to link to each partner’s individual websites.