Derek Buyan

Derek Buyan


Martin Marty Center Fellow

My dissertation, "We Believe These Truths: American Democracy’s Humanistic Political Ethic of Belief," explores key normative and psychological dimensions of American democracy through an examination of four religious social critics: John Courtney Murray, S.J., Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and John Dewey. I argue that the statements of these four figures provide evidence that the tradition of American democracy requires a certain set of humanistic beliefs and that this belief-requirement plays a crucial role in its ability to mediate between different normative worldviews, including those of religions.

The Marty Center is an ideal place to engage in interdisciplinary conversations about my research, religion, and the how both of them might be understood in the context of broader publics and the world outside the academy. The Junior Fellowship is an excellent opportunity to workshop our ideas and think constructively with a group of faculty and peers about how to sharpen and clarify them, as well as communicate them to broader audiences. 

Derek is also an Alma Wilson Teaching Fellow.