November 18-19, 2010, will mark the kickoff of Contending Modernities, “a multi-year, interdisciplinary research, public education, and peacebuilding initiative,” based primarily out of the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Led by Scott Appleby, co-chair of the SSRC’s Advisory Committee on Religion and International Affairs, the initiative will explore the varieties of relationships between religious and secular institutions and actors throughout the world:

Designed to unfold in stages over several years, Contending Modernities will bring together scholars, educators, and practitioners to pursue pure research that will be applied as participants share findings with religious officials, political and business leaders, nongovernmental and governmental organizations, and the media. The project will begin with a focus on the interaction among the world’s two largest religious communities (Catholics and Muslims) as well as secular people and institutions, and eventually will expand to include all major religions.

The New York launch events will begin on the 18th with keynote remarks from Rev. John I. Jenkins, Shaykh Ali Gomaa, Jane Dammen McAuliffe, and John T. McGreevy, and will conclude on the 19th with a panel discussion featuring Ingrid Mattson, M. Cathleen Kaveny, Shahla Haeri, and Jacqueline Moturi Ogega on “Women, Family, and Society in Islam and Catholicism.”

Read more about the launch here, and review the speakers’ bios here.