Truth Under Siege: Religion, Science, and Democracy in the United States

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 4:00pm

The College of Humanities and Department of Religious Studies & Classics are excited to present the 2021 Robert A. Burns Lecture, hosted on Zoom.


Join us for Truth Under Siege: Religion, Science, and Democracy in the United States, a panel discussion about the role of religion in a range of “post-truth era” crises, including climate change denialism, COVID-19 mitigation defiance and vaccine hesitancy, and challenges to the credibility of democratic institutions. Register for the free event at Eventbrite.

The panel features scholars involved in the grant-funded research project Recovering Truth: Religion, Journalism, and Democracy in a Post-Truth Era, which examines the following: “We witness today a striking indifference to truth. In parts of our government, swaths of the media, some of our classrooms, and key sectors of culture, the imperative to seek and tell the truth is ignored, even viewed with contempt. Authoritarian, anti-democratic, and anti-expertise movements are surging in the United States and around the world. The credibility of scientists, journalists, educators, and civil servants erodes as trust in the institutions of civic life falls away. Religious actors and institutions play ambivalent roles, in some cases resisting and in others supporting the traffic in fabrications and falsehoods.”


The panelists are Arizona State University scholars Evan Berry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Environmental Humanities, Tracy Fessenden, Steve and Margaret Forster Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies and Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, and Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. Karen Seat, Head of the Department of Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona, will moderate.