What is religion?  What are possible channels of influence and interdependence between religion and politics?  What is the relationship between religion and social structure, and how has it changed over time and across societies?  How and why does religious identity change and what effect do these changes have for political behavior?  Do some modern state institutions have religious roots, and how do religious principles get embedded into secular institutions?  What is secularization?  What is the proper place of religion in public life, especially in liberal democracies?  The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society at Yale University is dedicated to bring philosophical, comparative and historical analysis to bear on the understanding of contemporary political problems and to stimulate new research agendas that lead to new and exciting insights into the connections between religion and politics.

The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society is designed to be home for scholars working on a. wide-range of problems of concern to the contemporary world.  Among the topic areas it seeks to address are: conflict, violence, and war; toleration and reconciliation; social movements and electoral politics; utopianism, communitarianism and religion; religion as a source of identity; the place of religion in public life; the impact of religion on civil society and the welfare state. 

The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society has the following major components:

The Colloquium on Religion and Politics will meet twice a month to discuss papers by invited guests on their current research. The Colloquium will aim to represent a broad range of disciplinary approaches to the study of religion and politics. All faculty, students and visitors at Yale are invited to attend.

The Graduate Student Workshop will provide a forum for students from around the university to engage with their peers and present their work-in-progress.

Specialized Symposia lasting a full day at a time will be offered twice a year, during which invited guests will lead more sustained and in-depth engagements with topics of particular interest to participants.

A Distinguished Lecture in Religion and Politics will be offered once a year. The Program will offer a seminar for discussion with the lecturer on the morning following the lecture, and will make every effort to publish the lecture and selected responses to it.

Support for Research and Teaching will be offered through grants for research and course development. Faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will all be eligible for support.

It seeks to facilitate a wide-ranging interdisciplinary dialogue by providing a forum for faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from across the university. The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society will provide the infrastructure to enable scholars and students to think innovatively about religion and its intersection with politics across time and space and will seek to bring together research communities that would otherwise remain insulated from one another in different parts of the university.