Religious Nationalism in a Global Context: Summer Workshop for Educators

Religion and Public Life is partnering with Harvard’s Global Studies Outreach Committee to provide a four-day, on-campus workshop focused on religion and nationalism, from July 31 – August 3, 2023.
Find more information and apply at
Deadline to apply is March 31st 2023. 

Across the globe, the relationship between religion and nation-states is complex and dynamic. Religious nationalism, an often understudied aspect of this relationship, is key to understanding policies, personal and community impacts, and outcomes globally. Additionally, many narratives about nationalism encourage an overly simplistic view of both secularism and religion that hinders our ability to understand the complex ways in which religion is embedded in a variety of political contexts. In some countries, religious nationalism is an explicit guiding force behind governance; in others, it is a less visible or minority voice that nonetheless deserves attention. Its prevalence in the 21st century reveals the limits of conventional ideas about modernity and the future, and it invites us to investigate the reasons behind its continuing–and in some cases growing–influence.

Educators today must grapple with these issues as they teach their students to be global citizens. This year, the Global Studies Outreach (GSO) Workshop will provide teachers with a space to think, learn, and ask questions about religious nationalism in a variety of contexts. From India to Russia, Ethiopia to the United States, educators will learn about the ways religious nationalism manifests around the world and will explore, collectively, pedagogical responses to religious nationalism and how to teach about it in diverse classrooms.

The following questions will guide our study of this topic:

  1. What historical, cultural, or theological factors help to explain the contemporary relationship between religion and politics in different national contexts?
  2. What assumptions are embedded in distinctions between religious and secular nationalism? How can we disrupt this binary?
    1. How can a better understanding of the ways secularism has been defined help us understand “religious” nationalism?
    2. Where can we identify religion embedded in contexts labeled “secular” and where do we see associations with secular democracy present in those labeled “religious”?
  3. How do we evaluate the impact of religious nationalism on local/national policies and on the lived experience of people of diverse backgrounds across the globe?
  4. What are religious nationalism’s varied relationships to democracy and authoritarianism, tradition and modernity, science and technology?
  5. How do we negotiate thorny issues of faith, belief (religious and political), values and more in today’s classrooms? How can tools of religious literacy help to navigate these issues in the classroom in ways that are pedagogically rich and constitutionally sound?

Over four days, the Global Studies Outreach Committee will present speakers, lead conversations, and encourage engagement on this topic. Educators will leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of this complex issue, resources they can bring to their classrooms, and relationships with other teachers and experts.


This year’s workshop will take place in-person on Harvard’s Cambridge campus from Monday, July 31–Thursday, August 3, 2023. Pending interest, portions of the workshop may be made available virtually, either synchronously or asynchronously.

Accepted participants will be required to complete 5-10 hours of pre-work in advance of the workshop. This pre-work will center on pedagogical resources in religious literacy from Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School. You can learn more about these education frameworks here and explore their resources for educators here.


The cost to attend the workshop is $100. Limited funds are available to applicants who *reside outside of Massachusetts* to help defray travel costs. If you are interested and eligible to receive these funds, please indicate your interest through the workshop application form.


Participation in this workshop is based on a competitive application process. Applications are due on March 31, 2023. Applications can be accessed here:

Applicants will be notified of their participation status by May 1, 2023.

COVID-19 Guidance

The Global Studies Outreach Committee will follow all CDC and Harvard University guidelines for Covid-19 safety.

  Deadline/Date: March 31, 2023