Honoring the Career of David Little

November 15, 2009
Honoring the Career of David Little
David Little

A conference on religion, ethics, and peace was held at Harvard Divinity School November 13-14 to celebrate the important role David Little has played in shaping the fields of religious ethics, peace, justice, and human rights studies. The conference also provided an opportunity for leading scholars to explore the future of these fields.

Little retired in 2009 as Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School and as an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University School of Law, delivered the keynote lecture at on Friday, November 13.

The four working sessions of the conference addressed:

  • Religion, Morality, and Public Policy
  • Human Rights and Religious Freedom
  • Nationalism, Religion, Conflict, and Peace
  • Religion and Ethics

Participants included: Abdullahi An-Na'im, Scott Appleby, Jacqueline Babbha, Cole Durham, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, David Gergen, Jeremy Gunn, Susan Hayward, J. Bryan Hehir, Grace Kao, John Kelsay, Yehezkel Landau, Atalia Omer, Rodney Petersen, Gene Outka, John Reeder, Abdulaziz Sachedina, Edmund Santurri, Donald Swearer, Ronald Thiemann, and Barney Twiss.

Until the summer of 1999, Little was Senior Scholar in Religion, Ethics, and Human Rights at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C. From 1996 to 1998, he was a member of the Advisory Committee to the State Department on Religious Freedom Abroad. He served as the T. J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at HDS from 1999 to 2005.

Little is co-author with Scott W. Hibbard of Islamic Activism and U.S. Foreign Policy (1997). He is author of two of the volumes in the USIP series on religion, nationalism, and intolerance (RNI), Ukraine: Legacy of Intolerance (1991) and Sri Lanka: The Invention of Enmity (1994). The RNI conference report on Tibet, Sino-Tibetan Coexistence: Creating Space for Tibetan Self-Direction, written by Little and Hibbard, also appeared in 1994. He has edited two recently published volumes, Religion and Nationalism in Iraq: A Comparative Perspective (2007), with Donald K. Swearer, and Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion in Conflict Resolution (2007).

The November conference was co-sponsored by Harvard Divinity School and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.

—by Jonathan Beasley