The Religion, Spirituality, and Democratic Renewal (RSDR) Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) aims to bring knowledge of the place of religion and spirituality into scholarly and public conversations about renewing democracy in the United States. These fellowships are offered by the SSRC Program on Religion and the Public Sphere with the support and partnership of the Fetzer Institute.

Applications are due April 14, 2022, 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Apply online at


Since the country’s founding, scholars and citizens alike have debated religion’s place in US politics and civil society. The current moment is no exception. And while there are echoes from the past, the context within which American religious actors, institutions, and movements presently engage the public sphere is in many ways dramatically different than earlier historical moments. During the past half-century alone, the American religious terrain has undergone dramatic changes, including both rising religious diversity and rising religious disaffiliation. The political landscape, too, has been transformed by myriad, often countervailing forces, including an increasingly diverse citizenry, rising inequalities, and sharpening polarization. Shifting religious and political landscapes recently came to a head amidst a pandemic and presidential politics that surfaced deep existing tensions. In light of the fraught state of the US body politic, this is a crucial time for understanding the intersection of these religious and political transformations. This RFP will support work that seeks to discern whether, how, and under what conditions religion and/or spirituality shape American democracy, and vice versa.

Through research on the intersection of religious and/or spiritual identities, behaviors, attitudes, and organizations with social and political structures, processes, and institutions, RSDR fellows will deepen understanding of the evolving relationships among religion, spirituality, and democracy at this moment in US history.