Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture
The Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture (IRPC) is dedicated to the rigorous study of religion’s influence on American and world history and its contemporary importance for cultural and political life. The Institute also explores a range of pressing issues facing contemporary society and the enduring value of America’s founding principles.
Upcoming event! Please attend our Lawrence Swanstrom '67 Memorial Lecture on September 7, 2023.
IRPC takes Dorchester County High School Students on Study Tour of the Underground Railroad on February 11.
Lectures, Courses, Symposia, and Workshops
IRPC enhances the Washington College curriculum by supporting a range of courses each academic year. The Institute has developed or is jointly organizing multiple courses, lecture series, symposia and workshops, including:
- "Religious Freedom" and "The Great Questions"
- Distinctive Online Summer Courses – IRPC supports the distinctive online course Freedom in America, which brings together leading scholars in a small online seminar exploring the meaning of freedom in the United States. The course is a 4-credit course that enrolls students from across the country and world. Other summer online courses are usually offered as well.
- A Distinguished Lecture Series – On the Washington College campus.
- The Os Guinness Lecture – Given annually by a nationally prominent thinker in Easton, MD.
- The Lawrence Swanstrom Lecture
Symposia & Workshops
- The Program on the African American Church and American Ideals – A coordinated set of symposia and academic courses.
- The Barbara Denton Program for American Renewal – A program of enhanced instruction in civics and America's founding principles for teachers and high school and middle school students on the Eastern Shore and across the country.
- Resiliency and Grit – Programming on the virtues of Resiliency and Grit.
Opportunities available to students through the Institute of Religion, Politics and Culture
Scholarship & Research Fellowships
IRPC offers annual scholarships and research fellowships to qualifying students.
International Partnerships and Programs
IRPC has long-standing partnerships with Oxford University and Charles University, as well as programs in Paris.
Presidential Fellows Track
Modeled on the curriculum of Oxford University, with which IRPC has a long-standing partnership, this Track immerses Presidential Fellows in the study of major thinkers and the examination of perennial human questions.
Meet the Director
Joseph Prud’homme is the Burton Family Chair in Religion, Politics, and Culture, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Affiliated Faculty Member in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Washington College.
Professor Prud’homme is the founding Director of IRPC. He received his doctorate from Princeton University, where he studied in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy, with additional specialization in constitutional law and religious studies. He was awarded a Fellowship at Harvard University, where he studied at the Harvard Law School and served as a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He has also held a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford. He is the author of over 25 publications.