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The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) announces a postdoctoral fellowship as part of its Public Theology Program. For the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18, BCSR seeks a top early career scholar to come to Berkeley for one year. The fellowship is dedicated to the furtherance of the very best new scholarship, and in particular the development of modes of inquiry that can chart new directions for the study of religion in the public university.

Fellows are integrated into the activities of BCSR and its Public Theology Program, a critical three-year research initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation dedicated to exploring the place of theology in public life, past and present. As participants in the intellectual life of the Center and the Luce initiate, fellows associate with a community of scholars from fields across the humanities and social sciences with specializations in a wide array of religious traditions. Fellows may pursue projects with varied disciplinary approaches to subjects including, but not limited to: theology and the institutions of secular life; theological aspects of politics; theology and law; art, literature, and theological inquiry; and theology and social formations.

Fellows also take part in an annual fall workshop that brings leading international scholars and intellectuals from universities, seminaries, divinity schools, and other institutions to Berkeley for intensive discussion on comparative approaches to theology. The program also supports new approaches to the study of religion through the development of model curricula. Fellows may elect to teach in a relevant UC Berkeley department in the second semester of residence.

The Public Theology Program builds upon Berkeley’s long tradition of challenging traditional categories of knowledge by opening a space for the study of theology in the public university. It also draws on the strengths of BCSR as a model for interdisciplinary work on religion, integrating robust academic research, student engagement, programming, and outreach beyond the university to the public at large. Through this program, BCSR seeks to reshape the landscape of religious studies at Berkeley and pioneer new approaches to the study of religion that can spread beyond Berkeley and reshape the field nationwide.

Recruitment for the 2016-17 fellowship opens November 2, 2015. Applications received by the initial review date of February 1, 2016 receive priority. For more information about the position, including required qualifications and application materials, go to: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00893.

Noreen Khawaja, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University

The 2005 Danish “Cartoons Crisis” – as it has come to be known – set off a wave of protests and debates around the globe. The phenomenon was widely framed as a conflict between the freedom of speech, on the one hand, and the right not to be offended, on the other. Scholars have challenged this frame for its fundamental misapprehension of Muslim attitudes toward the depiction of the Prophet. This paper critically examines the Danish side of the story, arguing that Danish satirical culture should not only be understood in the context of an anti-religious tradition of Enlightenment criticism, but also in terms of a prominent Danish theological tradition within Lutheran Christianity, which emphasizes the “scandalous” nature of the Christian message. Often referred to as “dialectical” theology, this tradition had a profound impact on Danish politics and culture in the long twentieth century, and it emphasized that offense is not just an inevitable feature of a plural society, but a value––that is, a core principle of religious life. Understanding this theology better will shed light on contemporary debates about secularism, free speech, and the meaning of religious offense, beginning with the Danish context.

Noreen Khawaja is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University. Her research interests lie in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European intellectual history, focusing on the shifting status of religious ideas in modern Western culture. Her work examines problems of conversion, authenticity, criticism, and orthodoxy in European religion and philosophy. She has recently completed a book on existentialism, The Religion of Existence: Asceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) is offering two summer research grants in the amount of $5,000 each for advanced graduate students working on topics in the study of religion, broadly construed. Applications are welcome from all UC Berkeley Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy, with preference given to those who are close to completion of their dissertations. Grants are awarded for summer research travel and related expenses only.

To apply, please submit:

• A cover letter explaining your research plan, budget, extant summer funding (whether departmental or otherwise), as well as other sources of funding for which you have applied.
• A description of your dissertation project. This can be in the form of a grant proposal or an abbreviated dissertation prospectus, not to exceed 1,500 words.
• A current CV, with your committee members listed.
• A letter of recommendation from your committee chair or major advisor (under separate cover).

Completed applications (including all supporting materials) should be submitted to BCSR directors c/o studentgrants.bcsr@berkeley.edu and received by Thursday, February 25 at 4 pm. Electronic files are preferred. Please send as a single PDF. Applicants can expect to hear from BCSR by the end of the Spring 2016 semester.

Due Dates
Deadline for applications: Thursday, February 25, 2016 by 4 pm
Award Announced: Week of April 11
Award Period: Summer 2016
Award Amount: $5,000 for summer research travel and related expenses

Past Recipients
2015
Kris Anderson (Buddhist Studies), Youssef J. Carter (Anthropology), Kathryn Crim (Comparative Literature), Katherine Ding (English), Maggie Elmore (History), Kathryn Heard (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), Jason Klocek (Political Science), Sara Ludin (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), Milad Odabaei (Anthropology), Spencer Strub (English and Medieval Studies), Rachel Trocchio (English), Hannah Waits (History)

2014
Lauren Bausch (South and Southeast Asian Studies), Erik Born (German), Graham Hill (Sociology), Nicholas Junkerman (English), Jean-Michel Landry (Anthropology), Christopher Mead (English), Samuel Robinson (History), Tehila Sasson (History), Kris Trujillo (Rhetoric)

Support for the BCSR Graduate Student Summer Research Grants is provided by the Frank and Leslie Yeary Endowment for Ethics in the Humanities.

The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) is offering up to four grants in the amount of $5,000 each for graduate students in their second year of study in 2016-17. New Directions grants are provided by BCSR through the Public Theology Program, a critical three-year research initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. Grantees participate in a cohort of early-career students from diverse disciplines to explore the place of theology in scholarship and public life. Theology is here meant broadly as the constellation of conceptual commitments and modes of inquiry that together enable communities to investigate and understand the world in religious terms.

Participation
The New Directions in Theology cohort includes incoming first-year and continuing second-year graduate students. Together with the cohort directors, students will meet biweekly to read fundamental works, to explore potential research topics, and to meet Berkeley and visiting faculty working in the field. The seminar will encompass a wide variety of religious traditions and approaches, including but not limited to: theology and the institutions of secular life; theological aspects of politics; theology and law; art, literature, and theological inquiry; theology and social formations, and so on.

Applications are welcome from UC Berkeley Ph.D. students from all relevant disciplines in the humanities and social sciences whose work promises to advance the goals of the New Directions in Theology Grants program.

To apply, please submit:

• A 1,500-word description of your research interests and/or dissertation project, making clear the connection between these and the larger research aims described above.
• One letter of recommendation (under separate cover).

Completed applications (including all supporting materials) should be submitted to BCSR directors c/o studentgrants.bcsr@berkeley.edu and received by Thursday, March 3 at 4 pm. Electronic files are preferred. Please send as a single PDF. Applicants can expect to hear from BCSR by the end of the Spring 2016 semester.

Due Dates
Deadline for Applications: Thursday, March 3, 2016 by 4 pm
Award Announced: Week of May 2
Award Period: 2016-17 Academic Year
Award Amount: $5,000 in supplemental funding