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The Fundamentalism Project was an international scholarly investigation of conservative religious movements throughout the world. It was funded by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and directed by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby. The project began in 1987 and concluded in 1995. The understanding of fundamentalism that framed this project was somewhat controversial. But even those scholars who have criticized the assumptions upon which the project was based admit that there is a great deal of useful empirical information to be found in publications that grew out of the project.
Fundamentalism, as it is presented in those publications, is not a purely Christian phenomenon. Rather it is a form of militant opposition to modernity that can be found in all—or at least many—of the world's great religions.
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The study concluded that, regardless of the religion, fundamentalism has several commonalities:
- Men are to lead and women and children follow. Wives are to be subservient to their husbands. Often, this subservience applies to sisters toward their brothers. A woman's role in life is to be a homemaker.
- The rules of their religion are complex and rigid and must be followed. Therefore, to avoid any confusion, children of fundamentalists must be sequestered in an environment of like-minded adherents to the corresponding fundamentalist religion. Especially so in their schooling.
- There is no pluralism. Their rules apply to everyone everywhere.
- There is a distinct group of insiders and all others are outsiders. Insiders are nurtured and cared for. Outsiders are cast off and fought.
- They pine for an older age and a past when their religion was pure, as largely they no longer see it as such. Often, this time never truly existed, but they have a nostalgic view of a Utopian past and they long to acquire it.
- Volume 1: Fundamentalisms Observed, Marty/Appleby, (1991) ISBN 0-226-50878-1
- Volume 2: Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education, Marty/Appleby/Hardacre/Mendelsohn, (1993) ISBN 0-226-50881-1
- Volume 3: Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance, Marty/Appleby/Garvey/Kuran, (1993) ISBN 0-226-50884-6
- Volume 4: Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements, Marty/Appleby/Ammerman/Frykenberg/Heilman/Piscatori, (1994) ISBN 0-226-50886-2
- Volume 5: Fundamentalisms Comprehended, Marty/Appleby, (1995) ISBN 0-226-50888-9
- Marty, Martin E. "Fundamentalism as a Social Phenomenon." Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 42 (November 1988): 15-29.
- Marty, Martin E. "Fundamentalism Reborn: Faith and Fanaticism." Saturday Review. May 1980, 37-42.
- Marty, Martin E. "Too Bad We're So Relevant: The Fundamentalism Project Projected". The Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 49 (March 1996): 22-38.
- Marty, Martin E., The Glory and the Power: The Fundamentalist Challenge to the Modern World. Boston: Beacon, 1992.