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Dr. Amandine Barb

Senior Research Fellow


Areas of interest

  • Religion, law, and politics in the United States and in comparative perspective
  • French “laïcité”
  • Religion and education
  • Comparative secularisms
  • Religious studies
  • Political science

Governing Religious Diversity in a (Post)Secular Age: Teaching about Religion in American Public Schools

My project focuses on the sphere of public education in order to explore how the diversification and politicization of religious identities have impacted and transformed the politics of secularism in the United States over the past three decades. Often considered an “exceptionally religious” country, but whose Constitution enforces a separation between religion and the state, the United States has regularly been confronted with controversies related to the status of faith in the classroom. The project examines one of the most recent changes regarding the place and role of religion in American public schools: the introduction, since the 1980s, of strictly academic, non-devotional, and non-sectarian courses about religion, mainly in history and geography curricula. In a country where religious education did previously not exist in public schools, and where faith in general had been mostly left out of the classroom, the widespread implementation of teaching about religion in the past thirty years has been a significant and intriguing development with respect to the relationship between the state and religion. Looking towards the future, moreover, in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, as an ever-diverse, but divided United States contends with the resilience of an assertive Christian nationalism, enduring tensions over immigration and Islam, and a conservative-majority Supreme Court, analyzing debates about education and religion also serve to illuminate the deeper ideological and identity rifts pervading American society.


2021 - present

Senior Research Fellow, KFG “Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities”, Leipzig University, Leipzig (GER) 

2018 - 2021

Visiting Lecturer, Institute for Religious Studies, Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover (GER)

2019 - 2021

Research Fellow, Lichtenberg Kolleg, (Research Group “Human Rights, Constitutionalism and Religious Diversity”) University of Göttingen, Göttingen (GER)


Visiting Scholar, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York (USA)

​2014 - 2018

Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Theology, Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin (GER) 

2012 - 2014

Lecturer, Department of Education and Social Sciences, University Paris-Est, Paris (FRA)

2011 - 2012

Visiting Exchange Fellow, Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University, Princeton (USA)

2009 - 2010

Fulbright Scholar, Center for Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, Columbia University, New York (USA)

2008 - 2013

PhD, Political Science, Sciences Po Paris, Paris (FRA)

Relevant Publications

  • Barb, Amandine. “A ‘Postsecular’ Religious Education? The Case of the United States.” Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 67, no. 1 (2021): 5–18.
  • Barb, Amandine. “’The Philosophy of the Classroom in one Generation will be the Philosophy of the Government in the next’: The Christian right’s new Politics of Education in the United States.” In „Das Ende der Politischen Ordnungsvorstellungen des 20. Jahrhunderts.": Erziehungswissenschaftliche Beobachtungen. Edited by Ulrich Binder and Jürgen Oelkers, 99–114. Wiesbaden: Springer, 2020.
  • Barb, Amandine. Entre Dieu Et César: Histoire Politique Des Accommodements Religieux Aux États-Unis (Between God and Caesar. A Political History of Religious Accommodations in the United States). Aix-en-Provence: Presses Universitaires d´Aix-Marseille, 2019.
  • Barb, Amandine. “The New Politics of Religious Education in the United States and Germany.” German Law Journal 20, no. 7 (2019): 1035–46.
  • Barb, Amandine. The Politics of Blasphemy (Les Politiques Du Blasphème). Paris: Karthala, 2018.
  • Barb, Amandine. “The Textbook Wars: Die Herausforderungen bei der Integration von Religion in die Lehrpläne staatlicher Schulen in den USA.” In Schulbuch und religiöse Vielfalt. Edited by Zrinka Štimac and Riem Spielhaus, 3–19. Göttingen: V&R, 2018.
  • Barb, Amandine. “Catholic Patterns in the American Left.” In Catholics and US Politics after the 2016 Elections: Understanding the “Swing Vote". Edited by Marie Gayte, Blandine Chelini-Pont and Mark J. Rozell, 23–41. Cham: Springer, 2017.
  • Barb, Amandine. “You Can Be Good Without God: Non-Believers in 21st Century American Society.” Amnis, no. 11 (2012).
  • Barb, Amandine. “An Atheistic American Is a Contradiction in Terms: Religion, Civic Belonging and Collective Identity in the United States.” European Journal of American Studies 6, no. 1 (2011).