Jason A. Springs
Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Peace Studies
Areas of expertise: Religious ethics and moral philosophy; political and social theories, focusing on modern Europe and North America
Jason A. Springs earned his Ph.D. in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Harvard University’s Committee on the Study of Religion. His research and teaching integrate religious ethics with moral philosophy, political and social theories with specific attention to modern European and North American contexts.
Springs is particularly interested in ethical, philosophical and theological dimensions of restorative justice, attending specifically to its potential to intervene in racialized and class dimensions of the U.S. prison-industrial complex. He works on questions of structural and cultural violence; conceptions of religious toleration and the challenges posed by religious pluralism for transforming conflict; Islamophobia in Europe and North America; democratic theories and practices as frameworks for peacebuilding. These concerns are oriented by his broader research interests in American Pragmatist thought and postliberal theology. Springs’ current book project studies the effectiveness of restorative justice initiatives in responding to structural forms of racism and injustice (e.g. the new Jim Crow).
Springs’ latest book, Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society: From Enemy to Adversary (Cambridge University Press, 2018), develops conceptions of healthy conflict and strenuous pluralism that are realistic about the challenges and limitations of religious tolerance in a society that is both deeply religiously plural and politically volatile. The book examines seemingly intractable episodes of religious intolerance and moral conflict across contemporary U.S. and European public life — from abortion law battles, religious freedom, to moral and religious defiance of racism and economic marginalization in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements. It takes up the emergence and persistence of religious intolerance toward Muslims (e.g. Islamophobia) in the U.S. since 9/11 and in France more broadly. The book develops a model of religious interaction that strives to engage the constructive potentialities of conflict.
Springs is also the author of Toward a Generous Orthodoxy: Prospects for Hans Frei’s Postliberal Theology (Oxford University Press, 2010), and co-author (with Atalia Omer) of Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 2013).
Professor Springs’ articles appear in the Journal of Religion, Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Modern Theology, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Contemporary Pragmatism.
You can read more about Springs' upcoming research in the recent Kroc news article, "Restorative Justice Helps Rehab Chicago Neighborhoods."
View the course trailer for "Violence vs. Nonviolence in the Black Lives Matter Uprisings of 2020" here.
View the course trailer for "Love and Violence: Religion, Civil Disobedience, and Nonviolent Social Change" here.
- Journal Article: Jason Springs. (2020), Healthy Conflict in an Era of Intractability. J Relig Eth, 48: 316-341. https://doi.org/10.1111/jore.12313
- News story: Undergraduate course explores Black Lives Matter movement