Faith and Freedom Project

The project explores the role of faith-based actors, especially the Catholic Church, in creating and sustaining economic, political and religious freedoms in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989.

The project intends to answer three questions: (1) What is the role of religious faith in resisting the restrictions on freedoms through communist regimes? (2) What is the role of faith in shaping the transition from communism to a free market system? (3) What is the role of faith in developing sustainable entrepreneurship in three post-communist countries?

These conversations are part of wider conversations about the relationship between the Church and capitalism, the different interpretations of “freedom” (both in a religious and in a non-religious context), the contribution of religions to building vibrant civic societies.

The research would include a review of relevant literature and media analysis, possibly in cooperation with our partner Universities in Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine.

Humanities and Policy Initiative

There are many ways questions of policy and topics in the humanities intersect: the ethics and politics of memory, for instance. How should we deal with monuments of the past? How should we remember the Holocaust? There was a huge debate in Berlin about the Holocaust Memorial, its site, its design, its dedication, its budget – where should the monument be – in a concentration camp site or in Berlin? Should it be an abstract monument or not? Should it be dedicated to all the victims of the holocaust or the Jewish people who were murdered? What should be the budget for the monument?

These are policy questions where policymakers have to make decisions. But these decisions cannot be made without engaging with history, philosophy, art and design, cultural studies, religious studies…

The Nanovic Institute will start a new initiative to explore the role of the humanities in the realm of policy and politics. Language matters in diplomacy, culture matters in lockdown decisions, history matters in inter-state relations.

The research would involve working with appropriate case studies (toppling of statutes, for instance) and a review of the relevant literature.