Amplifying new voices and uncovering important scholarship beyond the Christian and Anglophone worlds
Religion is a global phenomenon as diverse as the peoples of the world, but the academic study of the philosophy of religion has long skewed toward English-language work rooted in the traditions of Western Christianity. A new project aims to expand and diversify the perspectives of the field. Led by Yujin Nagasawa, a philosopher of religion at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., and funded with $2.9 million from the John Templeton Foundation, the effort aims to promote the work of researchers from under-reported regions and to support research in the philosophical issues arising from non-Christian theistic religions including Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.
The three-year project will focus on philosophical topics regarding the existence of and nature of a deity or deities, the origins and relief of evil and suffering, and questions about death, immortality, and ultimate human destiny. It will support three postdoctoral fellowships, as many as 20 research subgrants, and an equal number of grants for translation of key philosophy of religion papers into (or out of) English-language journals. The project will also support 20 small subrants to help non-native English speakers polish their research for submission to Anglophone scholarly journals, four seminars for early career researchers, three international conferences, and the hiring of a new permanent senior lecturer in philosophy of religion at the University of Birmingham.
To amplify this work, the project also includes funding to make 10 episodes on the global philosophy of religion to air on the widely distributed TV and digital program, “Closer to Truth.”
Raised in Japan and trained in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the U.K., Nagasawa has published numerous books, monographs, and edited collections, including The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction (Routledge, 2011) and Maximal God: A New Defence of Perfect Being Theism (Oxford, 2011). His book God and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Novel Approach to Knowledge Arguments won the 2008 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. Since 2018, Nagasawa has been editor of Religious Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Cambridge University Press.
“The University of Birmingham is already unique in the amount of expertise its faculty have in scholarship that addresses philosophical issues arising from religious traditions other than Christianity,” says Alex Arnold, the John Templeton Foundation’s director of philosophy and theology. “Yujin Nagasawa has clearly thought creatively about how to help scholars outside of the Anglophone and Western European worlds overcome the barriers to entering the mainstream philosophy of religion. This project has incredible potential both to help bring new voices into the field and to make Western-oriented philosophers of religion aware of important work already being done by their colleagues who come from other contexts.”
Explore upcoming events, activities, and calls for papers from the Global Philosophy of Religion project.
Learn more about project leader Yujin Nagasawa.
Discover more grants in our Philosophy & Theology funding area.