Religious Pluralism and Democracy Symposium


Religious diversity is at the heart of ethical debates surrounding democratic culture, peace, and civil society. We live in a world in which religious pluralism is deeply contested. The escalation of violence against religious minorities threatens to undermine core democratic values of tolerance, respect for difference, and interfaith dialogue. This interdisciplinary conference will engage the intersection of religious diversity and democracy from historical, legal, ethical, and peacebuilding.

Student Workshop

Students are invited to attend a special symposium workshop designed for UVU undergraduates to present their own ideas and paper projects and get personalized feedback from conference participants. Each student will also receive a personalized, autographed copy of one of the works published by our invited scholars and have an opportunity to submit their work to the Peace and Justice Studies’ online journal, JustPeace or the Center for the Study of Ethics’ Undergraduate Ethics Journal.

Interested participants must submit an abstract (200-300 words) of a potential paper idea or a work in progress to Courtney Burns at courtney.burns@uvu.edu by March 1, 2018. This abstract must be generally related to the conference themes.


Thursday, March 29th 
10:00 - 11:15 a.m. 
"Religious Toleration & Diversity: Framing a History"
Evan Haefeli, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M University
11:30 - 12:45 p.m. 
"Joseph Smith's Religious Liberty, and Ours" 
Benjamin Park, Assistant Professor of History, Sam Houston State University
2:30 - 3:45 p.m. 
"Towards an Empathetic Politics: Structural Injustice, Democratic Practices and Development of the Egalitarian Personality"
Carol Gould, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College & Graduate Center
Director, Center for Global Ethics & Politics, City University of New York
4:30 - 5:15 p.m. 
Panel Discussion
Friday, March 30th
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. 
"American Civil Religion and Structural Violence"
Richard Rubenstein, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, George Mason University
11:00 - 11:50 a.m. 
"Was the Constitution the Problem? The Politics of Religious Intolerance in Nineteenth-Century America"
Spencer W. McBride, Historian, Joseph Smith Papers Project
12:00 - 12:50 p.m. 
"Religion with Walls: Pluralism & the Politics of Disengagement"
Julie Ingersoll, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Florida
1:00 - 1:50 p.m. 
Brownbag Panel Discussion
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. 
Student Workshop