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Joel Fetzer and Christopher Soper Receive Society for the Scientific Study of Religion's Distinguished Book Award

March 18, 2021  | 2 min read

Seaver College Distinguished Professors of Political Science Joel Fetzer and Christopher Soper were recognized by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) with the 2020 Distinguished Book Award. The award, conferred on the most outstanding book published by an SSSR member in the past two years, recognizes their co-authored book Religion and Nationalism in Global Perspective, published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.

Chris Soper“It's truly a great honor to be recognized,” shared Soper. “Joel and I have appreciated for many years SSSR’s work in bringing disparate fields—sociology, religious studies, and political science—together. I think, fundamentally, that’s why Joel and I appreciate it so much because that's where we see our work crossing a variety of disciplines, not just narrowly tailored in political science.”

Religion and Nationalism in Global Perspective examines the impact of these two major forces in the modern world. Utilizing historical and contemporary examples, the book evaluates the nuances and growth of religious nationalism, secular nationalism, and civil-religious nationalism in six countries around the world. The book has been reviewed as masterfully written at a time when religion and nationalism are at the zenith of political conversations.

“I also want to echo our sincere thanks to the Society and all on the committee,” shared Fetzer. “Our work has this type of ‘evil serendipity’ where we start working on a project that we consider niche but turns quickly into a mainstream discussion. We first started working on this book 10 years ago, when this idea of Christian nationalism did not permeate society and politics. Now this link between religion and nationalism, not just in the US but internationally as well, is a critical topic of research in social science.”  

Founded in 1949 at Harvard University, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) is an interdisciplinary academic association that stimulates, promotes, and communicates social scientific research about religious institutions and experiences. Today SSSR fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among more than a thousand scholars from sociology, religious studies, psychology, political science, economics, international studies, gender studies, and many other fields, while also producing the most cited resource in the field and the Society's flagship publication, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.