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Religion is an important social force and, according to Princeton sociologist, Robert Wuthnow, “the most understudied social phenomenon of the 20th century.”  At the RPLP, we are granting religion the scholarly and public attention it merits.


Located at Rice University in one of the most culturally diverse and religious metropolitan areas in the country…


the RPLP brings people together to discuss...


and to connect.

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With friends and partners in the academic and religious communities and the broader public, the RPLP team is shaping the way religion is understood today.

Welcome from the Director

Greetings from the Religion and Public Life Program, where we are working with people like you to facilitate informed dialogue about religion among scholars, community leaders, and members of the broader public. Located at Rice University in one of the most diverse and religious metropolitan areas in the country, we enjoy an ideal context in which to examine the impact of religion on civil society. Funded by multi-million dollar grants, the RPLP conducts research, trains scholars, and offers programs that advance dialogue about religion in the public sphere.
Drawing on the expertise of some of the world’s foremost experts in religion, the resources of a premier research university, and the enthusiasm of community members in Houston and beyond, the RPLP is preparing scholars and other citizens to dispel myths and resolve conflicts associated with religion. We invite you to learn more about our important work and how you can get involved, and look forward to connecting with you soon.
With best wishes,
Elaine Howard Ecklund
Founding Director and Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Sociology, Rice University


Matter and Meaning: Exploring the Religion and Science Dialogue

Register here »  

All-day conference to be held on Rice University campus on Friday, October 24. A panel of scholars will respond to the Religious Understandings of Science data in the morning, and lead topical breakout sessions in the afternoon. More information here.

RASIC data released »  

Ecklund presented a paper on UK biologists in Cambridge. Read the paper here. Several days later Ecklund gave a presentation on UK and India data to an audience in London. The presentation can be found here.

RPLP News  

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In the News  

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