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John Carlson

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Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Lincoln Center Affiliated Faculty
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3250
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography

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 twenty-five book chapters and articles from leading journals in his field as well as numerous shorter essays. 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. He has served as president of the Niebuhr Society and on the steering committees of several sections 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. He has has served on two Luce Foundation-funded projects including as co-PI and project team member of Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender and as Co-director and co-PI of the project Religion and Global Citizenship. He also has worked on two projects funded by the Ford Foundation: Public Religion, the Secular, and Democracy and Teaching and Talking about Religion in Public. He directs ASU's Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict, which grew out of the Ford Foundation's Difficult Dialogues grant.

Popular writings include:

"The Democratic Virtue of Losing," Religion and Politics, Mar. 28, 2016.

"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:

"Rights versus Right Order: Two Theological Traditions of Justice and Their Implications for Christian Ethics and Pluralistic Polities," Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 36, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2016), pp. 79-100.

"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.

“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.

Publications
  • Jonathan H. Ebel and John D. Carlson, eds. From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America. (2012).
  • Erik C. Owens, John D. Carlson & Eric P. Elshtain, eds. Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning. (2004).
  • John D. Carlson & Erik C. Owens, eds. The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics. (2003).
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 591Seminar
POS 591Seminar
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
POS 378Religion, War and Peace
REL 378Religion, War and Peace
REL 494Special Topics
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 799Dissertation
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 381Religion and Moral Issues
Fall 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 394Special Topics
POS 394Special Topics
Spring 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 381Religion and Moral Issues
Fall 2012
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 394Special Topics