November 30, 2010

Robert D. Putnam, one of the nation’s leading experts on community and civic engagement, discussed his new book on the changing composition of religious faith in the United States at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service on November 30th. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard University, presented findings from the recently released American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.

Written with David E. Campbell, a professor of political science at Notre Dame, American Grace combines exhaustive demographic and survey data with detailed narratives discussing the profound shift in the American religious landscape over the last three centuries. The topics covered range from how civically engaged believers are in the United States to the dynamics of conversion and the role in religion of gender, ethnicity and class.

Putnam, who the London Telegraph once described as “the most influential academic in the world today,” is the author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, a classic work that actually sparked greater examination of civic engagement in the United States. Putnam’s advice is often sought out by policy makers on the state, national and international level.

Speaker One
Robert D. Putnam

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. He is also Visiting Professor and Director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester (UK). Professor Putnam is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 2006, Putnam received the Skytte Prize, one of the world's highest accolades for a political scientist. Raised in a small town in the Midwest and educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale, he has served as Dean of the Kennedy School of Government.
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He consults widely with national leaders, including US Presidents Bush and Clinton, British Prime Ministers Blair and Brown, Ireland's Bertie Ahern, and Libya's Muammar el-Qaddafi. He founded the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal.