According to Christian Smith et al, “American sociology has not taken and does not take religion as seriously as it needs to in order to do the best sociology possible. Despite religion being an important and distinctive kind of practice in human social life, both historically and in the world today, American sociologists often neglect religion or treat it reductionistically.”
Smith and his team at Notre Dame are asking “What if American sociology took religion seriously?”
Religion is an essential and core area of study to the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and allied fields. As academic departments contemplate their course offerings and research priorities, we think that the study of religion should be on the table. Studies of religion would then be more often used to speak to constitutive concerns.
As Smith et al point out, “since its inception, American sociology has had a complicated, shifting relationship with ‘religion.’”
What if religions were more comfortably integrated into the mainstream of social science disciplines?
This interdisciplinary and international initiative involves a number of diverse competitive funding opportunities for scholars working at various levels across the academic disciplines, including competitive dissertation fellowships, seed grants for relevant data collection projects, early career research development and sabbatical grants, international travel grants to support transnational and trans-cultural research collaboration, undergraduate research fellowships, several conference panels and a workshop, and a post-doctoral training program.
What if the social scientific study of religion was more globally diverse, with less of a focus on mainstream religion in the U.S. and Europe and less dominated by one or two theoretical paradigms?
The goal of this project is to achieve a more thorough understanding of the role of religion in the lives of individuals and societies worldwide and, as a result, be more up to date and relevant in global affairs.
We’re taking the study of religion global.