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Grant to Study Religion and Politics

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd receives grant from Henry R. Luce Initiative

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November 29, 2010

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, assistant professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, is one of four scholars to receive a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs to study the global politics of religious freedom.

The award, totaling just under $500,000, seeks to deepen understanding of religion as a critical dimension of national and international policies and politics.

In the three-year project, titled “Politics of Religious Freedom,” Hurd and colleagues from University of California, Berkeley, the University at Buffalo Law School and the University of Maryland School of Law will study how religious freedom is being transformed through legal and political contestations in Egypt, India, South Africa, the United States and the European Union.

The grant also will fund the development of graduate and undergraduate courses on religious freedom and provide opportunities for graduate students to work in legal aid organizations in Egypt and India, with whom the research team will be collaborating.

The project is jointly based at Northwestern’s Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and U.C. Berkeley’s Institute for Integrative Social Sciences. It also is affiliated with law schools at the University of Maryland and the University at Buffalo.

The project's capstone conference will be held at Northwestern in the fall of 2013.

Hurd is the author of "The Politics of Secularism in International Relations" and, most recently, co-editor of "Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age." She writes and teaches about the politics of secularism, religion and international law and the Middle East in international politics.

The Henry Luce Foundation, established in 1936, seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.