Associate Professor of the Practice; Director, International Studies Program
Erik Owens is director of the International Studies Program and associate professor of the practice in theology at Boston College. His research explores a variety of intersections between religion and public life, with particular attention to issues of citizenship in global contexts and the challenge of fostering the common good in religiously diverse societies. His interdisciplinary scholarship bridges the fields of religious ethics, political philosophy, and education.
He is the co-editor of three books: Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape; Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning; and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics, the last of which was called a "must read" by Foreign Affairs in 2009. He has also published a number of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles, as well as essays for the general public.
Owens teaches interdisciplinary courses on ethics and religion in international politics; religion in American public life (including religion in public schools); and political theologies of citizenship. In 2017 he taught a BC Summer Abroad course in South Africa with Prof. Stephen Pope on religion, justice and reconciliation.
At the American Academy of Religion, Owens chairs the Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion and leads its Public Scholars Program in partnership with several academic centers and non-partisan institutions. He has also served as co-chair of the Religion and Politics section, and on the founding steering committee of the "Religion and Public Schools: International Perspectives" program unit.