New Book Advances Research on Religion, Conflict and Peace

Author: Renée LaReau

The recently published Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding provides a comprehensive scholarly account of the role of religion in both contributing to conflict and fostering peace.

The book is edited by Atalia Omer, associate professor of religion, conflict and peace studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and David Little, professor emeritus of the practice in religion, ethnicity and international conflict at Harvard Divinity School. It includes essays by 25 scholars in anthropology, history, law, peace studies, political science, sociology and theology. Notre Dame contributors include Kroc Institute faculty members Scott Appleby, John Paul Lederach, Rashied Omar, Atalia Omer, Daniel Philpott, and Jason Springs and theology and peace studies Ph.D. students Heather DuBois and Janna Hunter-Bowman.

“Our contributors comprise a diverse group,” said Omer, the lead editor. “In inviting contributors, we brought in not just the ‘usual suspects,’ but also some fresh faces — scholars who have not directly addressed religion, conflict and peacebuilding but whose research is somehow related to it.”

“Our intent was not to produce an encyclopedia but to think about the ‘growing edges’ of the conversation and identify new research trajectories,” Omer said. This new research includes a shift away from a more conventional focus on religion and direct, deadly violence and more attention to how religion affects subtler forms of violence embedded in cultures and social structures, she added.

Essays include “The Possibilities and Limits of Inter-Religious Dialogue,”  “Religion and Development as Partners in Strategic Peacebuilding,” “Religious Violence and State Violence,” “The Intersection of Christian Theology and Peacebuilding,” “Youth and Interfaith Conflict Transformation,” “Religion and Peace in Asia,” and “Spirituality and Religious Peacebuilding.”

“This book focuses on the various roles of religions and religious actors in fomenting or legitimating deadly conflict, on the one hand, and building peace and reconciliation on the other,” Scott Appleby said. “It is both a major contribution to the field and a way of further constituting it.”

Contact: Atalia Omer, 574-631-7121,