Professors Elizabeth Clark and Cole Durham contributed the chapter “The Place of Religious Freedom in the Structure of Peacebuilding” for The Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, edited by R. Scott Appleby, Atalia Omer, and David Little, eds., Oxford Handbooks Online 2015.
This book provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary account of the scholarship on religion, conflict, and peacebuilding. Extending that inquiry beyond its traditional parameters, the volume explores the legacies of colonialism, missionary activism, secularism, orientalism, and liberalism. While featuring case studies from diverse contexts and traditions, the volume is organized thematically, beginning with a mapping of scholarship on religion, violence, and peace. The second part scrutinizes challenges to secularist theorizing of questions of conflict transformation and broadens the discussion of violence to include an analysis of its cultural, religious, and structural forms. The third part engages contested issues such as religion’s relations to development, violent and nonviolent militancy, and the legitimate use of force; the protection of the freedom of religion in resolving conflicts; and gender as it relates to religious peacebuilding. The fourth part highlights the practice of peacebuilding through exploring constructive resources within various traditions, the transformative role of rituals, spiritual practices in the formation of peacebuilders, interfaith activism on American university campuses, the relation of religion to solidarity activism, and scriptural reasoning as a peacebuilding practice. It also offers extended reflections on the legacy of missionary peacebuilding activism and the neoliberal framing of peacebuilding schemes and agendas. The volume is innovative because the authors grapple with the tension between theory and practice, cultural theory’s critique of the historicity of the very categories informing the discussion, and the challenge that the justpeace frame makes to the liberal peace paradigm, offering elicitive, elastic, and context-specific insights for strategic peacebuilding processes.