Research on Catholics & Muslims Selected for Funding

Author: Kristi Flaherty

The University of Notre Dame has selected Contending Modernities, the Kroc Institute’s multi-year project to examine the interaction among Catholic, Muslim, and secular forces in the modern world, as one of 10 projects to receive support from the Strategic Research Investment initiative.

The funds will be used for three new professorships — in Islamic studies, Islamic law, and global Catholicism, said Scott Appleby, John M. Regan director of the Kroc Institute and principal investigator for the project. 

“I’m grateful to associate provost Robert Bernhard and provost Tom Burish for recognizing the project’s significance for Notre Dame’s mission as an international Catholic university and a leading academic center for the study of religion in the modern world,” said Appleby. “This initiative will allow us to help build Notre Dame’s strength as a leader in cross-cultural and religious-secular dialogue and collaboration.” 

Contending Modernities: Catholic, Muslim & Secular, is an interdisciplinary research, education, and peacebuilding initiative to advance understanding of the relationship between the religious and the secular in the modern age. Appleby and Patrick Mason, associate director for research, are assembling teams of Muslim and Catholic scholars within Notre Dame and from universities worldwide to focus on research topics of common concern to the world’s two largest religious communities.  

Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters and the Law School will partner with the Kroc Institute in searching for the three new professors. Notre Dame faculty engaged in the project include Lance Askildson, director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures; Rev. Robert Dowd, CSC, director of the Ford Family Program in Human Development; John McGreevy (history); Patrick Gaffney (anthropology); Cathleen Kaveny (law and theology); Paul Kollman (theology); Mahan Mirza (classics); Atalia Omer (peace studies); Daniel Philpott (political science); and Emad Shahin, Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding. 

Between 2007 and 2010, Notre Dame has committed approximately $80 million to support and expand research that complements the University’s mission. The nine other projects selected for this round of Strategic Research Initiative funding focus on issues such as clean energy, climate change, and rare diseases.      

Contact: Scott Appleby, (574) 631-5665,