Tanya Schwarz, a graduate student in the Department of Political Science, has been awarded the International Studies Association’s (ISA) prize for Best Graduate Student Paper in Religion and International Studies. The annual award recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions to the field of religion and international relations and recipients may come from an array of disciplines.

Schwarz’s paper draws from her dissertation research, which examines how and why faith-based organizations enact religious practices, principles, and identities in their humanitarian and peacebuilding work. Her research examines three specific organizations: International Justice Mission, the Taizé Community, and Religions for Peace. She argues that the most effective way to study the role of religion in faith-based organizations is to look at the terms and meanings that such organizations use to describe themselves and their work. Her hope is that her research contributes to current literature on faith-based organizations by offering insights into how religious phenomena shape their peacebuilding and humanitarian projects.

In her paper, Schwarz highlights the significance of the organizational meanings of terms like “multi-religious” and “reconciliation” to how faith-based organizations conceptualize religious difference. She also illustrates how such meanings shape the strategies that these organizations use to promote engagements of difference, and argues that the religious pluralism model of interreligious engagement might be strengthened by moving past dialogue-focused strategies to include communal practices as well.

Schwarz presented her paper at the 56th annual ISA Convention in New Orleans, LA this past February. She will be presented with the award at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in Atlanta, GA in March 2016.


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