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The Northwestern University Research Initiative in Russian Philosophy, Literature, and Religious Thought (NU RPLRT Research Initiative) is an international forum for interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaboration. In recent decades the study of Russian philosophy, literature, and religious thought has become an intellectual enterprise of global reach and stature, attracting a wide range of scholars. This enterprise has resulted in a remarkable body of scholarship, showcased in such recent works as The Oxford Handbook of Russian Religious Thought (2020). Scholars in these fields typically hold university appointments in disparate departments—languages and literatures, history, religious studies and theology, and philosophy—yet they form a vibrant international community. The Northwestern University RPLRT Research Initiative was founded to provide an institutional home for this community and to build on its intellectual vitality, significance, and productivity.

The NU RPLRT Research Initiative promotes free and open inquiry and diverse perspectives. It seeks to forge and occupy a unique space: secular and non-confessional but welcoming of colleagues with deeply-held religious convictions or commitments.

Northwestern University is well positioned to host this initiative and assume a leading role in a rich and diverse international community of scholars. The organizers of the project have been inspired by Gary Saul Morson, Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities and Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern. We hope the RPLRT Research Initiative will provide a focal point for Northwestern students and faculty, and for colleagues from around the world, to engage in the type of fundamental humanistic inquiry that has made Saul a legendary teacher and a renowned scholar.