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Credit: Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura Series

This international symposium will bring scholars of Islam, international and public affairs, education, race, and law together with practicing journalists and attorneys for a sustained reflection on the conventions and tropes that pervade contemporary public discourse on religion, with focused attention to coverage of Islam and Muslims in the United States and abroad.

In particular, we aim to foster a critical conversation about Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives, ‘radicalization,’ and journalistic coverage and scholarly debate on so-called religious violence.

We will explore methods and strategies of writing and reporting on these issues that de-center religion as an explanatory framework. Our intention is to cultivate and to publicize modes of public discourse that do not re-inscribe the very tropes that are in most need of critique.

This symposium is part of the Talking ‘Religion’: Publics, Politics and the Media project, made possible by the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism and International Affairs and the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs. Talking ‘Religion’ provides scholars of religion and politics with new avenues for publicizing their work, and journalists with new ways of understanding and conceptualizing religion in their reporting. 


Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is a professor of politics at Northwestern University. She studies the politics of religion in international relations and is writing a book on religion and politics on the border. She is a faculty fellow at the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and the co-director of its Global Politics and Religion Research Group, and co-organizer of the Luce Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad initiative. 

Brannon Ingram is a specialist in Islamic studies at Northwestern University, with a particular interest in how Muslims have debated Sufism, Islamic law, and politics in the modern era. His first book, Revival from Below: The Deoband Movement and Global Islam, was published by the University of California Press in 2018. He is the co-director of the Northwestern Buffett’s Global Politics and Religion Research Group.