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John.Carlson@asu.edu

Assoc Professor
SHPRS Religious Studies Facult
Faculty
Mail Code: 4302

West Hall 123 PO Box 870802 (Map)
(480)727-0694

Bio

John Carlson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University. 

A scholar of religious ethics, his research explores how religious and moral inquiry informs and invigorates our understanding of political life. He has written on issues of war and peace, religion and violence, human rights, and a variety of social and political issues, both domestic and international. 

He received his B.A. in political science from Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in religious ethics from The University of Chicago Divinity School. Professor Carlson is coeditor of, and contributor to, three books: From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America (University of California Press, 2012); Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning (Eerdmans, 2004); and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics (Georgetown University Press, 2003). He is the author of more than twenty book chapters and academic articles from leading journals in his field as well as numerous essays (see below). Currently, he is working on a monograph entitled "Justice This Side of Heaven: Human Nature, Religion, and the Moral Order of Politics," a political-theological examination of how ideas about human nature and humanity's relation to the divine shape and limit our political pursuits of justice. From 2008-2011, he served as president of the Niebuhr Society, a related scholarly organization of the American Academy of Religion. He recently served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics and still serves on the Steering Committee of the Religion and Social Sciences section of the American Academy of Religion.

Through his work with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Prof. Carlson has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous research projects, including two funded by the Ford Foundation: Public Religion, the Secular, and Democracy and Teaching and Talking about Religion in Public supported by the "Difficult Dialogues Initiative." He also directs ASU's Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict, which grew out of the Difficult Dialogues project. He currently serves as a co-PI and project team member on a Luce Foundation project entitled Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender.

Popular writings include:

"Reading the Christmas Letters of Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013)," Religion and Politics, Dec. 20, 2013. 

"Remembering Albert Camus and Longing for the Old Atheism," Huffington Post, Nov. 7, 2013.

"Just War as Punishment," First Things, Oct. 1, 2013.

"A Moral Guide to Obama's Foreign Policy," Religion and Politics, Dec 10, 2012.

 Selected academic articles include:

"Reinhold Niebuhr and Richard John Neuhaus: Religion and American Public Life in the Twentieth Century and Beyond," Political Theology 14, no. 3 (2013), pp. 362-374.

"Reinhold Niebuhr and the Economic Order," Soundings 95, no. 4 (November 2012), pp. 333-350.

“A Just or Holy War of Independence? The Revolution’s Legacy for Religion, Violence, and American Exceptionalism” in John D. Carlson & Jonathan H. Ebel, eds., From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), pp. 197-219.

"Religion and Violence: Coming to Terms with Terms" in Andrew R. Murphy, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence (Blackwell, 2011), pp. 7-22.

"Cashing in on Religion's Currency? Ethical Challenges for a Post-secular Military," Review of Faith and International Affairs 7, no. 4 (Winter 2009), pp. 51-62.

"The Morality, Politics, and Irony of War: Recovering Reinhold Niebuhr's Ethical Realism," Journal of Religious Ethics 36, no. 4 (December 2008), pp. 619-651.

"God's Disbelief and Ours: Religious Perils and Possibilities of Human Rights," Religion and Human Rights (Nijhoff/Brill, May 2006), pp. 5-15.

"Human Nature, Limited Justice, and the Irony of Capital Punishment" in Erik C. Owens, John D. Carlson & Eric P. Elshtain, eds. Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning  (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 158-194.

"Trials, Tribunals, and Tribulations of Sovereignty: Crimes against Humanity and the imago Dei " in John D. Carlson & Erik C. Owens, eds., The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003), pp. 196-232.

Research Interests

Religious ethics; religion and conflict; war and peace; Christian thought; religion and politics/public life; just war tradition; human rights; religion, ethics and international affairs; war crimes tribunals; death penalty; religion and the military; theories and issues of justice.

Courses

Spring 2014

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 381 Religion and Moral Issues

Fall 2013

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
POS 394 Special Topics
REL 394 Special Topics

Spring 2013

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 381 Religion and Moral Issues

Fall 2012

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 394 Special Topics

Spring 2011

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 499 Individualized Instruction
REL 590 Reading and Conference
REL 592 Research
REL 599 Thesis
REL 792 Research
REL 795 Continuing Registration
REL 799 Dissertation

Fall 2010

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 394 Special Topics
REL 590 Reading and Conference
REL 592 Research
REL 599 Thesis
REL 792 Research
REL 799 Dissertation

Spring 2010

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 381 Religion and Moral Issues
REL 499 Individualized Instruction

Fall 2009

Courses Taught This Semester
Course Number Course Title
REL 493 Honors Thesis

Publications and Other Intellectual ContributionsGoogle Scholar

  1. Edited book: Jonathan H. Ebel and John D. Carlson, eds.. From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America. University of California Press (2012).

  2. Edited book: Erik C. Owens, John D. Carlson & Eric P. Elshtain, eds.. Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2004).

  3. Edited book: John D. Carlson & Erik C. Owens, eds.. The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics. Georgetown University Press (2003).

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