2 Jul 2023 - 12 Jul 2023All dayAlison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project Religious Diversity and the Secular University at CRASSH announces its fourth Summer School from 2 – 12 July 2023 and invites applications from Early Career Scholars for twelve residential fellowships.

After an outstanding set of workshops focused on the past and present of the university, we now turn towards the future. Building on three hugely successful Summer Schools that looked at the study of religion(s) across the humanities and social sciences, we will devote our project’s fourth and final Summer School to policy aspects of the relation between religious diversity and the secular university.

How is Higher Education policy made, and by whom? And how should academics share and participate in the making of policy decisions that determine the future of academic life?

We will approach these questions through the prism of one of the most urgent issues facing Higher Education today: the relationship between religious diversity and the secular university. How should policy makers – and academics – grapple with fundamental questions of religious diversity in secular universities? How do we safeguard our universities’ secular character as our student bodies become increasingly religiously diverse? How should we foster curricula that reflect the questions of an ever-changing society while safeguarding the practice of the university’s traditional disciplines? How do we prevent the university as a free space for the exchange and study of ideas as diverse as humanity from becoming a ‘safe space’ where, in the name of respect for diversity, young adults would never encounter ideas and opinions opposed to their own and learn to argue and think critically about them? Is Prevent really the best strategy to prevent extremism?

Throughout the Summer School, a stellar set of senior academics, administrators, policymakers, and religious thinkers will participate in our conversations:

  • Rowan Williams, Chancellor of the University of South Wales and the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, University of Edinburgh, and Jane and Aatos Erkko Chair, Helsinki Collegium
  • Gordon Marsden, Former Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Skills
  • Alison Scott-Baumann, Professor of Society and Belief, SOAS
  • Nigel Thrift, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research of the University of Oxford
  • Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law and former Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE
  • Madeline Atkins, President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, former chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and former Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University
  • James Walters, Professor in the Department of International Relations and founding director of the LSE Faith Centre and LSE Religion and Global Society

We invite applications from outstanding Early Career Researchers (up to 7 years post-PhD) from across the humanities and social sciences whose work engages with questions of religion and education, the history of education, philosophy of education, higher education policy, and critical university studies. Each participant will be asked to share a piece of work in progress in advance of the Summer School, and sessions will be devoted to each. We will award a maximum of twelve international residential scholarships that provide up to £500 towards travel, as well as full room and board in Cambridge for the duration of the Summer School.

Applications are made online and should include a cv, two letters of reference, a writing sample and an indication of the topic of the likely work in progress for discussion.
Applications will be accepted until midday on 10 February 2023.

Cambridge-based scholars keen to participate should contact Theodor Dunkelgrün (twd26@cam.ac.uk) in the first instance.

andrew w mellon foundation logo


‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University’ is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to support a multi-disciplinary examination of the interplay between religion, secularism, and the role of the university, reference #41600622.


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