Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life
80 Claremont Avenue, Room 203, MC 9611
New York, NY 10027
Tel. 212-851-4145 • Fax. 212-851-4126 • [email protected]


The revitalization of religion in the last four decades has taken many scholars and analysts by surprise. They believed that modernization, secularization, and the privatization of religion would affect the world globally, leading to overall patterns of religious decline. What has happened is quite different and more complex. While religion has declined in some societies and grown in others, it has also changed and evolved in different ways in a variety of contexts. This transformation of religion, long-standing or novel, impacts our world in key ways. From the rise of religious movements, to the role of religion in politics and to the much more spirited engagement of religion in the public sphere and the public lives of adherents we experience religion in many different ways.

To address this unexpected and rapidly changing situation, the IRCPL brings together scholars and students in religion, cultural anthropology, history, political science, economics, sociology and social psychology, and other allied fields to support multi-disciplinary analysis, reflection, and response to historical and contemporary issues of great significance. Founded in 2008, the Institute also engages in its programs political and economic figures and policy practitioners, as well as religious and cultural leaders. The scope of the Institute encompasses a broad range of phenomena and while seeking to understand the bases of conflict and unrest across and within religions, it also examines beliefs, practices, and historical examples that demonstrate the potential for understanding, tolerance, and ecumenical values within religious traditions, as well as patterns of social institutions that may facilitate coexistence and mutual support. By taking an expansive rather than a restricted view of religious thought and practice, the Institute recasts the traditional opposition between the secular and the religious in ways that promote innovative approaches to familiar problems.