About On Common Ground

On Common Ground: World Religions in America is an interactive web resource based on the research of the Pluralism Project and affiliates. For over twenty five years, the Pluralism Project, under the direction of Diana L. Eck, has studied the emergence of an increasingly multireligious America.

ocg_historicalFirst published by Columbia University Press in 1997, second and third editions of On Common Ground were released in 2002 and 2008. While functionality increased with these later editions, the primary content remained unchanged from the original publication. Then, in 2013, thanks to generous funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Pluralism Project releaseocgmenud an online version of On Common Ground: World Religions in America, complete with updated essays and resources. In 2016, with the redevelopment and relaunch of pluralism.org, the three sections of On Common Ground—Religions, Landscape, and Encounterbecame the backbone of the Pluralism Project’s entire web presence. By combining the time-tested pedagogical structure of the original CD-ROM withthe increased interactive features of online publication, the new On Common Ground  and pluralism.org will ensure teachers and students of all ages have the opportunity to explore the historical dimensions and current realities of a multireligious America.

religions America’s Many Religions follows the development and life of seventeen traditions in the American context: Buddhist, Christian, Daoist, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Jain, Muslim, Native American, Sikh, Afro-Caribbean, Bahá’í, Confucian, Pagan, Shinto, Unitarian Universalist, and Zoroastrian. A general introduction to each tradition is included, along with an introduction to the history of the tradition in the United States. There are glimpses of the experiences of people in each tradition and discussions of some of the issues people in each tradition are grappling with in the American context today. This section also includes timelines, glossary terms, and links to additional resources.

A New Religious Landscape provides resources for landscapestudying America’s new religious landscape through the lens of various cities across the nation. What does the new religious landscape look like today with its mosques, gurdwaras, churches, and temples? In this section there are twenty interactive maps that integrate the Project’s online directory of religious centers with select data from the United States Census. Additional features include portraits of religiously diverse neighborhoods in major metropolitan areas.

encounterEncountering Religious Diversity enables users to explore the new and old questions of American identity in the context of its religious diversity. In what ways has America dealt with religious difference historically? What are some of today’s challenges, as communities, schools, and public institutions take stock of America’s new religious diversity? In 2016, links to the Pluralism Project’s Case Study Initiative and to the pilot study of America’s interfaith infrastructure were added to this section.

Since its creation, On Common Ground: World Religions in America has received considerable critical acclaim and a number of awards. The CD-ROM won the EDUCAUSE Medal in 1998, cited as “an extraordinary resource” and a “pioneering work”; it was also a Media and Methods 1998 Awards Portfolio winner, was on Choice’s 35th Annual Outstanding Academic Books list, and was a finalist for the 1998 EdPress Distinguished Achievement Award. The resource’s most enduring legacy is the referrals and ongoing demand of the resource by teachers, professors, clergy, community leaders, and individuals across the nation and even the world.

On Common Ground was developed by Diana L. Eck, together with students, staff, and advisors of the Pluralism Project. Click here for further credits.


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