Here’s an interview with Alfred Stepan.
Alfred Stepan is Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University and founder and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion. He has written extensively on democratic transitions, military regimes, and the relationship between religion and democracy in countries throughout the world. His theory of the “twin tolerations,” which argues that healthy democracies require religious leaders to grant authority to elected officials, and that state authorities must not only guarantee freedom of private religious worship but allow democratic participation in civil and political society, has influenced political theorists, heads of state, and grassroots activists. This coming July, the International Political Science Association, at its World Congress in Madrid, will present him with the Karl Deutsch Award, conferred every three years to a scholar in recognition of his or her outstanding achievements in comparative research and theory. We met at his office in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where we discussed his theory of the “twin tolerations,” the democratic transitions taking place in Tunisia and Egypt, and how he became interested in religion and secularism.