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UB Law Professor Winnifred F. Sullivan Awarded Prestigious Luce Grant to Study Politics of Religious Freedom

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: November 24, 2010

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Winnifred Sullivan has received a Luce grant for a new project, "Politics of Religious Freedom."

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Winnifred F. Sullivan, professor and director of the Law, Religion and Culture Program in the University at Buffalo Law School, is one of four national scholars to receive a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs for a new project entitled "Politics of Religious Freedom."

This three-year project (2011-2014) will be jointly based at the University of California, Berkeley's new Institute for Integrative Social Sciences and Northwestern University's Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, and affiliated with law schools at the University of Maryland and the University at Buffalo.

"Politics of Religious Freedom" will consider how religious freedom is being transformed through legal and political contestations in Egypt, India, South Africa, the United States and the European Union. The grant will generate a body of research and writing on the global history and politics of religious freedom intended to inform both academic research and contemporary policy debates at local, national and international levels.

Graduate and undergraduate syllabi on religious freedom will be developed and taught by each of the four scholars at their respective institutions, and a related set of teaching aids and materials will be available in print and on the project's web site.

Sullivan is currently a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. During the 2010-2011 academic year she is a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J. Her research focuses on 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.

In her latest book, "Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution," released in 2009 by Princeton University Press, Sullivan looks at "faith-based" prison programs in light of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

Scholars also associated with this new initiative include Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (associate professor of political science, Northwestern University), Saba Mahmood (associate professor of social cultural anthropology, UC-Berkeley) and Peter Danchin (associate professor of law, University of Maryland Law).