How were the terms chosen?
The terms were chosen through a collaborative process that included surveying scholars of religion and secularism for their suggestions. You can read more about the selection process here.
Are the terms listed on the project page the only ones you’ll cover?
Not at all. We are at work on the next iteration of the project, which will include a whole new set of terms and contributors.
Can I suggest a term for you to feature?
Yes! Drop us a line at
Who are the contributors?
The contributors invited to write on specific terms are professors at colleges and universities in North America and Europe who research, write, and teach about religion. Their training (their doctoral degrees) span various disciplines including anthropology, history, and sociology. Most authors of the essays listed under “From the Archive” are also professors and some were graduate students or postdoctoral fellows at the time of writing. For a list of all the invited contributors, click here.
How can I become a contributor? Is it possible to contribute to an existing term?
There is no cap on the number of contributors per term. If you are interested in writing on an existing or upcoming term, send us an email at that provides your title, department, and institutional affiliation. Tell us a bit about your areas of teaching and research. We are not able to respond to all inquiries due to limited editorial capacity, but will reply if there is a good fit between your expertise and the aims of this project.
Where are the “From the Archive” essays drawn from?
These essays were previously published on The Immanent Frame, which was founded in 2007 in conjunction with the SSRC’s Religion and the Public Sphere program. TIF publishes interdisciplinary perspectives from leading thinkers in the social sciences and the humanities on secularism, religion, and the public sphere. The “From the Archive” essays reflect a variety of genres including individual “essays,” responses to books, and forums or “exchanges” focused on specific issues or questions. They also emerge from several larger program-related publication initiatives including the collaborative genealogy of spirituality known as Frequencies: A Collaborative Geneaology of Spirituality, the prayer-focused Reverberations, and the ten-year-anniversary forum “Is this all there is.”


Were the responses to each term peer-reviewed?
Each response specifically invited for this project was reviewed by Mona Oraby (Editor of The Immanent Frame and Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College) and Daniel Vaca (Editorial Board member of The Immanent Frame and the Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor of Humanities at Brown University). Contributors received at least one set, and often several rounds, of substantive comments before their responses were copy edited by Olivia Whitener (Editorial Associate for The Immanent Frame).
When will the contributions be published?
The first iteration of the project will be launched in three phases throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. Phase I will be published from November-December 2019 (spirit, body, science, and performance); Phase II from January-March 2020 (economy, belief, media, space/place, and human); and Phase III from April-June 2020 (affect, enchantment/disenchantment, race, memory, and modernity). Within each phase, terms will be launched approximately every two weeks.
Why isn’t the entire project being published at once?
Staggered launches allow us to adapt the project for greater usability as we receive feedback from readers.


What do the hyperlinks in the project responses and accompanying essays mean?
The hyperlinks are citations used to substantiate the authors’ claims. These links take you to scholarly books and journal articles, and other times to news media and commentary, and in other cases to primary sources like archives and statistical reports. Contributors were asked to use hyperlinks instead of footnotes whenever possible so the reader can get direct access to the authors’ sources. Footnotes offer citational information that is not available in an online format.
Should I cite the project responses and accompanying essays? What about other material published on TIF? How do I cite them?
Yes! All material published under “essays,” “the book blog,” “exchanges,” and “off the cuff,” as well as the special projects (Reverberations, Frequencies, and “Is this all there is”) are either primary or secondary sources: they advance arguments based on original research or interpret existing arguments and research. Good scholarly practice consists of properly citing the source of your information, including sources that contributed to the development of your thinking. Click here for formatting instructions.
Can I publish pieces from this project on my own website?
It depends. Content published by The Immanent Frame, including A Universe of Terms, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License. This license permits you to copy, distribute, and display content as long as you provide a link to the content at The Immanent Frame, attribute the work appropriately (including both author and title), and do not adapt the content or use it commercially.
Where did you get the artwork found on the pages of the Universe?
All artwork was designed specifically for this project by Emilie Flamme. All rights are reserved for these original pieces.