Contending Modernities: Catholic, Muslim, Secular—Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

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Contending Modernities: Catholic, Muslim, Secular
Contending Modernities is a multi-year, interdisciplinary research, education, and peacebuilding initiative based at the Kroc Institute that involves secular and religious institutions and individuals from around the world. The project seeks to generate new knowledge and greater understanding of the ways in which religious and secular forces interact in the modern world.

Led by Scott Appleby, the project will begin with a focus on the interaction among the world’s two largest religious communities (Catholics and Muslims) as well as secular people and institutions, and eventually will expand to include all major religions.

Contending Modernities recognizes that the world’s problems in the 21st century — from mass violence and economic injustice to government corruption, environmental degradation, and human rights abuses — will not be solved by secular organizations acting independently of religious communities. The project seeks to develop a rich and nuanced understanding of how religious and secular institutions and individuals interact, for good and ill.

The project’s research agenda will inform discussion of sensitive but crucial contemporary issues such as: the proper role of religiously inspired political parties and social movements; debates about gender and the rights of women and children; the conflict between claims to exclusive truth and respect for religious pluralism; bioethical issues ranging from birth control to abortion to genetic engineering; and the tension between religious principles of social justice and the seemingly value-neutral dynamics of a global market economy.

While the project will have many scholarly and institutional partners worldwide, its primary base is Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.Contending Modernities will advance the University’s mission to place the best of human learning in the service of justice, peace, and the common good.

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