In a remarkably short span of time, religious freedom has taken center stage in public and policy debates worldwide. Longstanding legal guarantees of religious freedom built into laws and constitutions over the last few centuries are being mobilized while comparable guarantees are introduced into new types of legal instruments, constitutions, and legislation. In legal and public policy circles, religious freedom is presented as the key to emancipating individuals and communities from violence, poverty, and oppression. What exactly is being promoted through the discourse of religious freedom, and what is not? What is being protected under these various legal instruments? What forms of politics are enabled by these activities? How might we describe the cultural and epistemological assumptions that underlie this frenzy? And, what is its longer and contentious history? This volume seeks to understand the various conceptions of religious freedom at play in the world today, their different social and political contexts, and their varied histories. The volume emerged out of the Politics of Religious Freedom research project, a three-year effort funded by the Luce Foundation to study the discourses of religious freedom in South Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States; later expanded to include research on sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil. It is divided into four sections, Religion, History, Law/Politics, and Freedom, each with a brief preface by one of the editors.