The Immanent Frame
The Immanent Frame is a digital forum that publishes interdisciplinary perspectives on secularism, religion, and the public sphere. It was formed in conjunction with projects on religion and the public sphere at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), a U.S.-based independent nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research in the social sciences and related disciplines. Established in October 2007, and initially conceived as an experimental SSRC blog that invited multiple contributions from a number of leading scholars in the humanities and social sciences, The Immanent Frame was launched by an SSRC team led by program director Jonathan VanAntwerpen, who served for several years as editor-in-chief.
Among other topics, The Immanent Frame launched with an extensive discussion of A Secular Age, a book written by the philosopher Charles Taylor, and published in 2007 by Harvard University Press. The sociologist Robert Bellah has referred to A Secular Age as "one of the most important books to be written in my lifetime." The discussion of Taylor's book included original contributions on A Secular Age written by Robert Bellah, Wendy Brown, Charles Taylor, and others. The name of the forum itself alludes to a central concept in Taylor's book.
In recent years secularism has become an important topic in the humanities and social sciences. Many scholars writing on the topic today begin with the premise that "secularism" is not simply the absence of religion, but rather an intellectual and political category that itself needs to be understood as a historical construction—although there continue to be important disagreements. Announcing its launch, the widely read political blog Crooked Timber suggested that The Immanent Frame would help "broaden debate about these issues beyond the usual suspects."