Introducing the Sacred-Sovereign Project

In the months following the "The Sacred and the Sovereign" conference in October 2000, this web site has attracted a consistent flow of visitors—over 10,000 and counting.  (For a brief post-conference report, click here.)  Most visitors to the site have made use of the numerous articles available in the Background Reader section (which was last updated on July 3, 2001), or the extensive bibliography on the theme of religion and international politics.  

We have therefore decided to broaden the site's scope somewhat, in keeping with the Sacred-Sovereign Project's mission: to promote discussion and scholarship on religion and  international politics.  At the dawn of the twenty-first century, religion remains an irreducible and essential dimension of international politics, yet its contributions and effects are often overlooked or poorly understood.  Political scientists have devoted considerable effort to charting the direction of international relations in the post-Cold War world, yet few have fully considered the role religion has played in shaping recent developments in global political life.  Scholars of religion, for their part, have often been reluctant to embrace the dynamics and interests of nation-states as focal points for investigation and deliberation in religious studies.  As a result, interdisciplinary scholarship on many aspects of global politics has suffered, and foreign policy experts too often work without an interpretive framework that properly accounts for religious perspectives and influences.  Simply put, religious traditions and institutions are forces of great influence and change in international political life that should not be ignored.

We hope this web site and other publications from the Sacred-Sovereign Project can, in some small way, contribute to or inspire much-needed scholarship on religion and international politics.  Toward that end we are presently compiling an edited volume, entitled The Sacred and the Sovereign: Rethinking Religion and International Politics that is forthcoming from Georgetown University Press in Fall 2002. We welcome any suggestions or comments you may have about the book, the web site, or the S&S Project as a whole.

Best regards,

Erik Owens and John Carlson

The Sacred-Sovereign Project


The Sacred-Sovereign Project  is sponsored by:

University of Chicago Divinity School

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