Toward a Field of Interfaith Studies: Emerging Questions and Considerations, with Jeanine Diller, Eboo Patel, Jennifer Peace, Colleen Windham-Hughes

We organized this roundtable conversation, “Toward a Field of Interfaith Studies: Emerging Questions and Consideration,” at the 2014 AAR Annual Meeting in order to explore several theoretical questions raised by the emergence of this area of study as well as the practical implications of these questions. The conversation engaged scholars from diverse institutions (a public university, a theological school, and a private, religiously-affiliated liberal arts university, and the leader of a national non-profit focused on interfaith and higher education); in the conversation we sought to explore the following questions:

What should the field of interreligious and interfaith studies look like? What can we say about the research agenda, signature pedagogies, and learning outcomes that might emerge from this work?

Is this field interdisciplinary, and if so, what other disciplines might play a role in shaping the field? What does that mean for scholars of religion?

What posture should religious studies take to this emerging field? How is interreligious and interfaith studies different from or similar to already existing subfields in religious studies, such as comparative religions or comparative theology?

What follows is based on the comments that the four panelists gave for our roundtable discussion; their comments were followed by a lively conversation with the audience.

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