Theorizing Modernities article

Authorizing the Human Person in a Cosmopolitan Age: A Thematic Synthesis


How do religious and secular traditions approach and contest bioethical questions of human dignity and integrity? Do they operate with different conceptions of the “person”? How can communities coexist peacefully in the wake of unprecedented migrations or in the ashes of intercommunal violence? How do individuals negotiate questions of identity, and sources of authority, in locations as diverse as Indonesia, the Ivory Coast, and Nigeria?

The Contending Modernities (CM) initiative has engaged all of these questions through its Science and the Human Person, Global Migrations and the New Cosmopolitanism, and Authority, Community, and Identity Indonesia and Sub-Saharan Africa Working Groups. In a plenary conference which drew to a close the first phase of CM research efforts, held in Rome, Italy, in June of 2015, the four CM research groups gathered to present their findings and reflect on the intersections of their work on the multiple constructions of “modernity”. We weave together the major themes of this conference in a synthetic account that brings to bear relevant scholarship and looks both back at CM’s research trajectory, as well as forward to the future research and outreach agenda of the CM initiative.

We invite you to read “Authorizing the Human Person in a Cosmopolitan Age: Science, Society, and Identity”, and join us in celebrating the first phase of the Contending Modernities project.

Atalia Omer
Atalia Omer is Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include the theoretical study of the interrelation between religion and nationalism; religion, nationalism, and peacebuilding; religion and international and global relation, the role of national/religious/ethnic diasporas in the dynamics of conflict transformation and peace; solidarity and long-distance activism, multiculturalism as a framework for conflict transformation and as a theory of justice; the role of subaltern narratives in reimagining questions of peace and justice; intra-group dialogue and the contestation of citizenship in ethno-religious national contexts; and the symbolic appropriation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in other zones of conflict.