DEI: Including Religious Perspectives

Princeton University, October 25-26, 2024

On October 25-26 of 2024, PICT will host a conference on the Princeton campus entitled DEI: Including Religious Perspectives. Across the US, the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become widespread and institutionalized on university campuses and across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The rise of DEI as a set of ideals and institutional practices both reveals and has contributed to significant division and polarization in the country. Many Americans energetically support DEI efforts; others vehemently oppose them. Despite the apparent impasse, many commitments are held in common. In the conference, we will attempt to articulate these common commitments and broaden them by drawing upon theological tools and resources, especially from the Christian tradition. Our aim is not to argue for a Christian or theological worldview, but to show how religious traditions can enrich and enlarge approaches to DEI. 

For conference queries, please contact Brandon Van Dyck at

Featured Speakers

Varden (1)

His Excellency, Bishop Erik Varden

Bishop of Trondheim, Norway


Mark Lilla

Professor of Humanities, Columbia University


Friday October 25

9:00 – 9:15: Introduction by Brandon Van Dyck, Associate Director of PICT and conference organizer

9:15 – 10:45: Panel 1: Why do we value diversity? Is the answer context-dependent?


  • Charles Camosy, Professor of Medical Humanities at Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Sebastian Milbank, writer and Executive Editor of The Critic
  • Angel Parham, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia
  • Moderator: RJ Snell, Editor-in-Chief of Public Discourse and Director of Academic Programs at the Witherspoon Institute

10:45 – 11:15: Break

11:15 – 1:00: Panel 2: Where does our equality come from, and where does it lead us?


  • Eugene McCarrahar, Professor of Humanities and History at Villanova University
  • Jonathan Tran, Professor of Philosophical Theology and Religion at Baylor University
  • Jeff Liou, National Director of Theological Formation for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
  • Moderator: Brandon Van Dyck, Associate Director of PICT

1:00 – 2:00: Lunch

2:00 – 3:30: Opening keynote with Q&A

Speaker: Mark Lilla, Professor of Humanities at Columbia University, author of The Stillborn God (2007) and The Once and Future Liberal (2017)

3:30 – 4:00: Break

4:00 – 5:30: Panel 3: How should we meet people’s need for inclusion and recognition?


  • James Greenaway,
    San José-Lonergan Chair in Catholic Philosophy at St. Mary’s University
  • Sam Wells, Anglican priest and Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Jennifer Herdt, Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School
  • Moderator: Marcus Gibson, Director of PICT and lecturer at Princeton University

Saturday October 26

9:00 – 10:30: Panel 4: Are we friends or enemies?


  • Joshua Hochschild, Professor of Philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University
  • Elizabeth Corey, Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors Program at Baylor University
  • George Yancey, Professor of Sociology at Baylor University.
  • Moderator: Jamie Boulding, Associate Director of Programs and Development at the Witherspoon Institute

10:30 – 11:00: Break

11:00 – 12:30: Panel 5: How should we lament?


  • Sarah Gustafson, Assistant Professor of Politics at Catholic University of America
  • Marcus Gibson, Director of PICT and lecturer at Princeton University
  • Kabir Helminski, Co-Director of the Threshold Society
  • Moderator: Anna Moreland, Associate Professor of Humanities at Villanova University

12:30 – 1:30: Lunch

1:30 – 3:00: Closing keynote with Q&A

Speaker: His Excellency, Bishop Erik Varden, spiritual writer, Trappist monk, Bishop of Trondheim, Norway, author of The Shattering of Loneliness: On Christian Remembrance (2018) and Chastity: Reconciliation of the Senses (2023).