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Institute for Advanced Study Presents

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan: Teaching Religion in Public

3/7/19, 3:30 PM

About this event

What does it mean to teach religion in public? Is the task of religious studies instructors different at a public university? The US has decided constitutionally not to define religion—indeed, it is radically indeterminate by design—yet under the free exercise clause the US has decided to protect it, and it must be defined in order to be protected. And while religious studies instructors reflexively understand the words “religion” and “religious” to change meaning over time and place, the law plays a part in the consolidation of those meanings. In this year's Roetzel Family Lecture in Religious Studies, Professor Winnifred Fallers Sullivan of Indiana University Bloomington will examine the ways in which law haunts and constrains the teaching of religion at public universities under disestablishment. She will examine the obligations of teachers at public institutions through a close reading of a widely misunderstood case, Abington v Schempp—the US Supreme Court’s 1963 decision ending Bible-reading in public schools in the US.

Cosponsored by the Law School.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and director of the Center for Religion and the Human at Indiana University. She studies the intersection of religion and law in the modern period, particularly the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law. She is the author of Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Cambridge: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1994), The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), and A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care and the Law (2014). She is also co-author of Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (Chicago 2018) and co-editor of Politics of Religious Freedom (Chicago 2015).
Event Location
  • Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop
  • 84 Church St SE
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA - United States