Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world


Jewish Nightlife is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the nexus between the ritual performance of Jewish texts and social changes across Jewish history, including Hebrew poetry, music, and synagogue liturgy in Europe, in North Africa, the Middle East, and present-day Israel. The program includes solo and ensemble performances by UC Berkeley students and participants in the […]

Leaps of Faith: Figurations of Belief in Literature and Critical Thought

Conference Panels and Keynote, “Theology Revisited” Saturday, November 22, 10 am-4:30 pm 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley Acts of faith challenge boundaries between the ordinary and the extraordinary, between rationality and intuition. Bringing together diverse topics such as social and aesthetic suspension of disbelief, post-secularism, and the miraculous, the concept of faith functions as a […]

Leaps of Faith: Figurations of Belief in Literature and Critical Thought

Welcome Reception Friday, November 21, 5 pm 4337 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley Acts of faith challenge boundaries between the ordinary and the extraordinary, between rationality and intuition. Bringing together diverse topics such as social and aesthetic suspension of disbelief, post-secularism, and the miraculous, the concept of faith functions as a springboard for interdisciplinary discussions, engaging […]

An exploration of the manifold relations between ideas concerning cosmology, ritual practice, and classical scriptures in pre-modern and modern China. Papers discuss social, political, and religious topics ranging from alchemy, meditative healing, and spirit possession, to textual exegesis, omenology, and state ritual. For a conference schedule, please visit the Institute of East Asian Studies website […]

Hebrew poems (piyyutim), chanted for centuries across the Diaspora, have been adapted to different melodies, evolving into a form of “Jewish world music” with roots in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East. This singing tradition, a core component of synagogue practice, has also entered secular life in Israel through public performances, workshops, […]

A Nobel Laureate, an Astronomer, an Historian, and a Poet in conversation about their conceptions, or lack thereof, of God. RSVP at berkeleyhillel.org Co-presented with Berkeley Hillel, the Center for Jewish Studies, and Newman Hall.

Author Marilynne Robinson is joined in discussion by UC Berkeley faculty panelists Dorothy Hale (English), Jonathan Sheehan (History), and Robert Hass (English). Robinson is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and author of Gilead, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2004 National Book […]

Shakespeare: The Question of Audience

Pulitizer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her Avenali lecture considers the question of audience in the work of Shakespeare and is followed by a response from Jeffrey Knapp (English). Marilynne Robinson is the author of Gilead, which won the 2005 Pulitzer […]

All talk of special accommodations for religiously motivated persons, or separation of religion from government, presumes a capacity to give an account of what religion is. Often what counts as religion in such situations is implicit, largely by assumed analogy to majority religious traditions; often it is strategically deliberately left ambiguous. We shout at each […]

Tolerating the Church: Exploring the US Supreme Court's Ecclesiology

What is the church under modern secular law? Can it ever be constitutional for the US Supreme Court to refer to “the” church? Countless US laws give special legal privileges to churches—and, sometimes, by an imperfect analogy, to other religious groups or organizations. This lecture will explore the religious phenomenology—the political theology—of the US Supreme […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

The Catholic Invasion of China, 1841-2000

The Catholic Invasion of China, 1841-2000 is a subject that has undergone a great reevaluation during the last half-century. In the 1960s, it was viewed as nearly synonymous with the experience of Western imperialism. The physical incursion into China of thousands of religious ended with the expulsion of the missionaries in 1951, but the mental […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

Dr. Tony Street, the Hartwell Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, leads four sessions on arguably the most important logic text of pre-modern Islam. The readings will be circulated in Arabic and in English translation. All are welcome to attend. Workshops take place September 23, September 25, September 30 and October 2. […]

Sex and Secularism

Why is sex so central a part of culture and politics in the United States? The most common answer to this question is “Because religion”: the religious heritage of the United States has produced a particular form of Christian sexual conservatism that is enforced through sexual regulation in law and cultural debates that in the […]

Visualizing Consciousness: Hybrids, Fractals, and Ritual

“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 […]

This talk offers a reconsideration of the workings of one of the key claims made in the canonical physico-theological texts published in England between 1650 and 1720. These include works by Robert Boyle, William Derham, Nehemiah Grew and John Ray. It is well known that the physico-theological authors, most of whom were also practising naturalists, […]