Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world


In “An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?,'” Kant fixes his response in a way designed to resound through the ages: “Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own understanding!” It did so resound, in quite the way Kant predicted in making “matters of religion” the “focal point of enlightenment.” The Enlightenment, always […]

Do Not Tamper With the Clues: What The Goldman Sachs Group Can Tell Us About Religion

Common sense may suggest that there is no organization perhaps less religious than Goldman Sachs, described variously by its critics in recent years as a demon, a snake pit, and a vampire squid attacking American finance, the investing public, and the good of global humanity. Yet the labeling of any agency as such a scourge […]

All evangelicals say that their primary — if not sole — source of religious authority is the Bible. Yet their inability to agree on what, precisely, the Bible means tells us that evangelical engagement with this text is not uniform or simple. A host of mediating influences and authorities intervene: scriptura is never, truly, sola. […]

The Rule of Law and the Unruliness of Religion: Reflections on Legal Multiculturalism

In a recent work on the nature of religious speech, sociologist Bruno Latour cautioned that “the more you make religion modern and acceptable, soft and digestible, the less you are faithful to its specific order of difficulty.” This talk aims to draw out that “specific order of difficulty,” exploring the way in which the prevailing […]

Profs. Edward Slingerland, Evan Thompson, and Jeffrey Kripal have written works that engage the perspectives of cognitive science and neuroscience and challenge the boundary between the study of religion and the experience of it. Their respective works pose fundamental challenges to the way that religion has traditionally been studied. They join UC Berkeley faculty Robert […]

Influential temples have long been a major part of the religious and educational landscape in East Asia, but it is only recently that major temples in the People’s Republic of China have begun to receive official sanction, revisit their traditional identities, and adapt to the conditions in contemporary China. One of the Chan temples with […]

This conference celebrates Daniel Boyarin’s work by bringing together an international group of scholars to reflect and share their work on some of the topics that have been central to his pioneering contributions to scholarship – the intimate relation between Judaism and Christianity, the creative intertextuality of Midrash, the evasive form of the Talmud, the […]

This talk examines the religious and legal imaginaries underpinning Harriet Beecher Stowe’s <em>Uncle Tom’s Cabin</em> (1852). The best-selling novel “by the little woman who started the [Civil] war,” as Abraham Lincoln famously put it, Stowe’s concept of property and personhood was arguably shaped by Protestant notions of (legal, cultural) propriety. Through an approach informed by […]

Holy Minded: American Evangelicals and Intellectual Life

Evangelicals have an authority problem. Torn between the demands of dogma, reason, and spiritual experience ever since the origins of their movement in the Reformation, evangelicals struggle — more than most people — to reconcile competing sources of intellectual authority at once. This ongoing crisis has produced a culture that observers and believers alike have […]

Religion in California is a two-day symposium discussing the diverse religious history of the State of California. California has increasingly displayed a remarkable range of religious expression through its people, places, institutions, movements, and theologies, and at times when religion in the rest of America has waned. Bringing together leading scholars of religion, historians, and […]

Day two of a symposium discussing the diverse religious history of the State of California. California has increasingly displayed a remarkable range of religious expression through its people, places, institutions, movements, and theologies, and at times when religion in the rest of America has waned. Bringing together leading scholars of religion, historians, and other academics, […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]