Elizabeth S. Hurd and Winnifred F. Sullivan, "At Home and Abroad: The Politics of American Religion" (Columbia UP, 2021)


From right to left, notions of religion and religious freedom are fundamental to how many Americans have understood their country and themselves. Ideas of religion, politics, and the interplay between them are no less crucial to how the United States has engaged with the world beyond its borders. Yet scholarship on American religion tends to bracket the domestic and foreign, despite the fact that assumptions about the differences between ourselves and others deeply shape American religious categories and identities.

At Home and Abroad: The Politics of American Religion (Columbia UP, 2021) bridges the divide in the study of American religion, law, and politics between domestic and international, bringing together diverse and distinguished authors from religious studies, law, American studies, sociology, history, and political science to explore interrelations across conceptual and political boundaries. They bring into sharp focus the ideas, people, and institutions that provide links between domestic and foreign religious politics and policies. Contributors break down the categories of domestic and foreign and inquire into how these taxonomies are related to other axes of discrimination, asking questions such as: What and who counts as “home” or “abroad,” how and by whom are these determinations made, and with what consequences?

Offering a new approach to theorizing the politics of religion in the context of the American nation-state, At Home and Abroad also interrogates American religious exceptionalism and illuminates imperial dynamics beyond the United States. Find the sister-project, Theologies of American Exceptionalism, here.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is professor of political science and the Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations (2008) and Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (2015).

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is Provost Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, director of the Center for Religion and the Human, and affiliated professor of law at Indiana University Bloomington. Her books include The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (2005) and Church State Corporation: Construing Religion in U.S. Law (2020).

This episode’s host, Jacob Barrett, is currently a PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Religion and Culture track. For more information, visit his website thereluctantamericanist.com

Your Host

Jacob Barrett

Studying religion, theorizing about governance, and making use of computational analysis. @jakebarrett25 and https://thereluctantamericanis...

View Profile