The Toleration Project The Toleration Project banner

The working group aims to produce works to answer questions on what toleration is and how it has developed and is practiced in various societies, as well as what contributes to its creation and its breakdown.

See the project page for details.

Shared Sacred Sites Exhibit in Thessaloniki, Greece and New York, NY


This Exhibition explores the phenomenon of followers from different communities of faith attending the same sanctuaries. The original design of the exhibition was the fruit of several years of scientific research conducted by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) and Aix-Marseille University, the exhibition takes a fresh look at the religious behavior of Mediterranean populations and highlights some of the most interesting (and most overlooked) phenomena in the region, namely the sharing and exchange between religious communities. The exhibition focuses its attention on contact situations where sites and figures of sanctity place distinct traditions in communication. By introducing the places, figures and practices, the exhibition is designed as an invitation to explore this little known feature of the Mediterranean world.

Thessaloniki, Greece: September 23-24, 2017.

  • See official invitation here.
  • The exhibition catalog can be found here.

New York, NY: March 27-28, 2018.

  • Click here to read a thoughtful review of the Shared Sacred Sites Exhibition by Gordon Haber at The Forward.
  • The exhibition catalog can be found here.

See for details.

Shared Sacred Sites Project Choreographies of Sacred sites banner

Shared Sacred Sites is a collaborative project that seeks to develop a rubric for the description, classification, analysis, and publication of work relating to spaces and locations used by multiple, disparate communities for religious purposes. The project is composed of several sub-projects that individually address different and particular difficulties in the study of shared sacred sites and that combine to form an important, updated, and modern survey of the unique features, mechanisms, and adaptations of coexistence found in the communities involved with shared sacred sites.

See for details.

Arabic Translation Project Arabic Translation Project banner

This past project at Columbia University translated into Arabic and published the following books in Lebanon. The project was started by Alfred Stepan and put into action by Karen Barkey. The project, with All Prints Publishers in Beirut, published a dozen important English language books on democracy and case studies on democratic transitions into Arabic for distribution throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Democracies in Danger by Alfred Stepan
    The contributors identify and analyze three key problems that endanger democracies: ethnonational conflicts, domestic security and the role of police and military, and power sharing in presidential and semi-presidential systems.
  • On Democracy by Robert Dahl
    Robert Dahl discusses differences among democracies, criteria for a democratic process, basic institutions necessary for advancing the goals of democracy, and social and economic conditions that favor the development and maintenance of democratic institutions. 
  • Patterns of Democracy by Arend Lijphart
    Arend Lijphart offers a broad and deep analysis of majoritarian and consensus democratic systems. 
  • The Military Transition: Democratic Reform of the Armed Forces by Narcis Serra
    This book explains the steps necessary to reduce the powers of armed forces during the process of a democratic transition. Spain’s military reform proved a fundamental and necessary element for the consolidation of Spanish democracy and is often viewed as a paradigm case for the transition to democracy. Drawing on this example, Serra outlines a simple model of the process and conditions necessary to any democratic military reform.
  • Democracy & Islam in Indonesia by Mirjam Kunkler and Alfred Stepan
    In this volume, political scientists, religious scholars, legal theorists, and anthropologists examine the theory and practice of Indonesia’s democratic transition and its ability to serve as a model for other Muslim countries.
  • The Arab Uprisings Explained: New Continuous Politics in the Middle East edited by Marc Lynch
    Leading scholars in the field take a sharp look at the causes, dynamics, and effects of the Arab uprisings. This volume offers a fresh rethinking of established theories and presents a new framework through which scholars and general readers can better grasp the fast-developing events remaking the region