American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

A public lecture by Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University.

line drawing of a person in a chair talking, audience members, and a person with a microphone



Graham Chapel Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

On November 2, 2011, Harvard University professor and bestselling author Robert Putnam examined the complex interaction of religion and politics over the past half-century and provided a nuanced balance sheet of how religion both contributes to and detracts from the vibrancy and stability of American democracy at a forum in Washington University’s Graham Chapel. The event was free and open to the public.

This event was sponsored by the Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy in partnership with the Assembly Series, Center for New Institutional Social Sciences, Center for Social Development at the Brown School, Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital at the School of Law, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics.

About Robert D. Putnam

The London Sunday times has called Robert D. Putnam “the most influential academic in the world today.” The Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Policy at Harvard University, he is the author or coauthor of more than a dozen previous books, translated into twenty languages, including the bestselling Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and Better Together: Restoring the American Community, a study of new forms of social connectedness. He has worked on these themes with Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as with British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and many other national leaders and grassroots activists around the world. He is the founder of the Saguaro Seminar, which brings together leading thinkers and practitioners from across America to develop actionable ideas for civil renewal.

His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Seattle Post-Intellegencer, and many other publications. Raised in a small town in the Midwest and educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale, he has served of Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the British Academy, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a past president of the American Political Science Association. A recipient of the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious international award for scholarly achievement in political science, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Robert D. Putnam