The Group for the Study of Religion, Humanity and Social Change (GSRHSC), based in the Department of Sociology, works in close collaboration with scholars in the U.S. and abroad. Research focuses on the relationships of religion and spirituality with altruism, interfaith and interethnic tolerance, conflict and peace in the context of societal and global change, and assess these relationships across nations, cultures and traditions.
Research currently underway within the group includes:
This work builds on accomplishments of our previous and current studies. Research and educational projects since 2004 include:
In 2008, the group developed a grant proposal entitled Islam, Religious Intolerance, and Militancy on Civilizations' Frontiers and Contested Territories. The proposal involved collaboration with researchers from the U.S., U.K., France, Israel, Russia, and other countries. The proposal won the first round of a national competition for funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.
An excellent record has been established of publications including books and articles in prestigious journals in the sociology of religion. Most of this research and publication is genuinely collaborative with over a dozen conference papers co-authored by faculty and graduate students. Five papers are being prepared for submission to journals.
The group has also contributed to graduate program development. Dr. Vyacheslav Karpov has recently offered a three-course sequence in comparative sociology of religion. The sequence's seminars became an important forum for enthusiastic discussions of theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues relevant to the Group's collaborative research. Coordinated with the seminars was the Kercher Symposium lecture series that included leading authorities in comparative studies of religion (Drs. Paul Freston, Daniel Olson, Christopher Marsh, and Corwin Smidt). Presently, several of the Group members are preparing for an area exam in Comparative Sociology of Religion.
David M. Barry
Lori Jo Verspoor
Jon Van Wieren
Georgios Loizides (University of Wisconsin – Stout)
Vyacheslav Karpov (Director)