A Disenchanted Exile: Secularism and the Islamic Revival among Palestinian Immigrants in Chicago

March 4, 2014

Loren Lybarger (UChicago Divinity PhD 2002) will deliver his Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion Senior Fellows Symposium—"A Disenchanted Exile: Secularism and the Islamic Revival among Palestinian Immigrants in Chicago."

Lybarger is Associate Professor of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University. In 2013-2014 he is both a Martin Marty Center Senior Fellow and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

The talk will be held on Thursday, March 6 at 4pm in Swift Hall's Common Room (first floor). A reception will follow.

Secularism and the Religious Return among Palestinians in Chicago explores the impact of religious revitalization on Palestinian immigrant identities in Chicago. At 90,000 strong, the Palestinian community in Chicago comprises the single largest concentration of Palestinians in North America. Lybarger's theoretical foundations lie in recent interventions that have criticized globalization theory for ignoring the necessity of “thick description” of lived, embodied practices at the local level. They also lie in new departures in the interpretive sociology of religion that stress the interrelation of secularization and religious revitalization.  Initiated in 2010, fieldwork has entailed dozens of site visits to mosques, churches, and community centers across the city and the completion to date of more than 60 in-depth life-history interviews with individuals from across the social spectrum. 

The Martin Marty Center encourages advanced research in the diverse disciplines of the study of religion. Each year, the Center hosts fellows under a variety of programs. Senior Fellows are scholars from around the world, typically on leave from their home institutions. They situate their research within a broader cultural frame of reference, bringing their perspectives to bear on religious questions facing the wider public. They do so in the Marty Seminar, in which they present their work and critically discuss the presentations of other fellows, and by delivering a Marty Center symposium.