Featured

BCSR is pleased to announce its 2014-2015 program of public lectures, panels, and colloquia. Scholars from across the United States will address diverse topics in religion, from Langston Hughes and African American religious traditions, to sexual liberation and secularism, to the rise of Catholicism in China in the 19th and 20th centuries. The annual Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance brings Professor Winnifred Sullivan to talk about the Supreme Court and questions of religious freedom.

The upcoming season also adds the Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion, a new series that invites scholars, professionals, and practitioners in architecture, design, film, literature, music, performance, and visual art to present their work and ideas. The Seminars offer audiences an opportunity to explore and engage with a rich and extensive body of creative work on topics in religion, past and present. Featured speakers include poet Fanny Howe, novelist Marilynne Robinson, Bay Area architectural scholar William Littmann, and visual artist Saya Woolfalk with San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum curator Jeff Durham.

All events are free and open to the public.

Berkeley Public Forum on Religion

Sex and Secularism
Janet Jakobsen, Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 5-7 pm

The Catholic Invasion of China, 1841-2000
David Mungello, Professor of History, Baylor University
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 5-7 pm

Transactional Reality and the Regimes of Truth
Sara McClintock, Associate Professor of Tibetan and Indian Buddhism, Emory University
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 5-7 pm

Concerning “Goodbye, Christ”: Langston Hughes, Political Poetry, and African American Religion
Wallace Best, Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 5-7 pm

Mediating Piety
Webb Keane, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 5-7pm

All Forum lectures take place in the Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance

Tolerating the Church: Exploring the US Supreme Court’s Ecclesiology
Winnifred Sullivan, Professor of Religious Studies and Law, Indiana University
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 5-7 pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

Proving Religion: What Evidence is Relevant?
Colloquium with Winnifred Sullivan
Thursday, October 16, 4-6 pm
3401 Dwinelle Hall

Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion

Visualizing Consciousness: Hybrids, Fractals, and Ritual
Jeff Durham, Assistant Curator of Himalayan Art, Asian Art Museum
Saya Woolfalk, Visual Artist
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 5-7pm
370 Dwinelle Hall

The Question of Audience
Marilynne Robinson, Novelist
Monday, November 3, 2014
Lecture: 1-3 pm; Roundtable: 5:30-7 pm
Sibley Auditorium

Blueprint for a Modern Faith: 20th-C Experiments in Bay Area Religious Architecture
William Littmann, Senior Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Visual Studies, California College of the Arts
Thursday, February 5, 2015, 5-7pm
370 Dwinelle Hall

Brigid of Murroe
Fanny Howe, Poet, Essayist, Novelist
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 5-7 pm
370 Dwinelle Hall

Presented with the support of the Deans of the Humanities and Social Sciences, UC Berkeley. Selected events co-presented with the Asian Art Museum-Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, Center for Buddhist Studies, Department of Art Practice, Department of Gender and Women Studies, Endowed Fund for the Study of Religious Tolerance, Headlands Center for the Arts, Holloway Poetry Series, and The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Saya Woolfalk, Visual Artist, and Jeff Durham, Assistant Curator of Himalayan Art, Asian Art Museum

“Visualizing Consciousness” brings New York artist Saya Woolfalk and Asian Art Museum curator Jeff Durham together on the Berkeley campus to inaugurate BCSR’s new series, Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion.

For this event, Woolfalk and Durham each give visual presentations on their work and Woolfalk’s new performance (September 4, 2014) responding to the Asian Art Museum’s exhibition, Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism (through October 26, 2014). BCSR Co-Director Mark Csikszentmihalyi moderates a discussion that follows.

Enter the Mandala presents 14th-century paintings of Buddhist mandalas or “cosmic maps.” These works are both elaborate and detailed representations of Himalayan Buddhist cosmos that are objects of meditation for Buddhist practitioners. In response to an invitation by the museum, Woolfalk produced a performance titled, ChimaTEK: Hybridity Visualization Mandala. ChimaTEK finds the Empathics, a fictional group of women who physically and culturally merge identities and cross species, becoming a fusion of animal and plant while taking on characteristics of various cultures. Woolfalk and curator Jeff Durham consider the creative influences and religious content in ChimaTEK and Enter the Mandala, specifically Buddhist conceptions of consciousness, hybridity, transformation, and ritual.

Jeff Durham is curator of Himalayan Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Jeff holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and has served as Professor of Religion at George Mason University, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and the University of North Carolina. With research focusing on visualization practice in esoteric religions, Jeff currently has visions of creating the first cross-cultural exhibition of esoteric art traditions on the West Coast.

Saya Woolfalk (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. She is in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California.

Visualizing Consciousness is co-presented by the Asian Art Museum-Chong-Moon-Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, the Department of Art Practice, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Marc Mayer, Educator for Public Programs, Asian Art Museum, and Brian Karl, Program Director, Headlands Center for the Arts.

The Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion is a new series of talks and lectures organized by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Scholars, professionals, and practitioners in architecture, design, film, literature, music, performance, and visual art are invited to present their work and ideas. The series is an opportunity for audiences to explore and engage with a rich and extensive body of creative work on topics in religion, past and present.

Photo: Chimera (detail), Saya Woolfalk, 2013.

BCSR’s Graduate Student Event Grants support innovative proposals for graduate student-led lectures, seminars, and conferences for public and campus audiences. Awards range from $250 to $500 for a lecture, and up to $1000 for a conference. UC Berkeley graduate students organizing events for Fall 2014 are invited to apply by the next application deadline of Monday, September 8 (4 pm).

Requirement Summary

- Awards provide partial funding for lectures, panels, conferences, exhibitions, or performances on topics in religion.
- Awards from $250 – $500 only, with occasional awards of up to $1,000 for conferences.
- Activities must be led by UC Berkeley graduate students and supported by a campus department or unit.
- Events must take place on the UC Berkeley campus and be free and open to the public.

Application Requirements

Applicants should submit a single pdf document that includes:

- Event title and type (lecture, panel, etc.).
- Proposed date(s) and location(s).
- Name, email, and phone information for primary student organizer and contact in organizing department.
- A summary paragraph and narrative (50w) describing the event, its purpose, and intended audience, as well as participant bios (up to 1500w).
- A detailed expense budget with BCSR request and amounts requested from other funding sources.
- For conferences: Attach a list of invited/confirmed participants and their CVs instead of participant bios.

Completed applications should be submitted to BCSR Directors c/o bcsrgradstudentevents@berkeley.edu and received no later than 4 pm on the due date. Electronic files are preferred, although hard copy files may be delivered to 4327 Dwinelle Hall.

Due Dates

Fall 2014 Events

Applications: Monday, September 8, 2014 at 4pm
Announcement: Monday, September 22, 2014

Spring 2015 Events

Applications: Thurs., December 4, 2014 at 4 pm
Announcement: Monday, January 12, 2015

Past recipients of BCSR Graduate Student Event Grants include the Comparative Literature conference, Leaps of Faith: Figurations of Belief in Literature and Critical Thought, taking place November 21-22, 2014.