Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world


Theology and the Danish Politics of Offense

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 […]

More than Religious Tolerance: Self, Other, and Mysteries of Erotics

How does the language of the other seep into the imagination of one’s own mode of being-in-the-world? It is common to think of love and hate as mapped on the distinction between friend and enemy. However, drawing from the idea of the everyday as laced with fantasy, Das explores how the relations between Hindus and […]

Colloquium: Of Mistakes, Errors, and Superstition: Wittgenstein's Remarks on Frazer

Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Johns Hopkins University in 2000, she taught at the Delhi School of Economics for more than thirty years and also held a joint appointment at the New School for Social Research from 1997- 2000.

The Mongols and the Church of the East

Recent scholarship has drawn renewed attention to the prominence of Nestorian Christians in the Mongol Empire (1206-1368). Drawing upon a broad range of primary sources in Syriac, Latin, Turkish and other languages, this lecture explores the role of the Ongut Turks of Inner Mongolia in the articulation of religious identity in the Mongol world. Joel […]

Western Ottomanists Workshop

An annual gathering of Ottoman specialists from the West coast, held this year at Berkeley, featuring a keynote panel about Ottoman history and transnationalism, and papers on religion, culture, and politics from all regions and periods of Ottoman history. The Western Ottomanists Workshop unites scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplines based in the […]

Presented by the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies with support from Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Click here for a complete conference schedule. For more information, visit rems.berkeley.edu

Western Ottomanists Workshop

An annual gathering of Ottoman specialists from the West coast, held this year at Berkeley, featuring a keynote panel about Ottoman history and transnationalism, and papers on religion, culture, and politics from all regions and periods of Ottoman history. The Western Ottomanists Workshop unites scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplines based in the […]

Presented by the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies with support from Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Click here for a complete conference schedule. For more information, visit rems.berkeley.edu

Bureaucracy and Salvation: Chinese Ways to Divinization

The earliest Chinese documents show that dead humans could become (under certain conditions) ancestors or else suffering, possibly malevolent, and ultimately forgotten ghosts. The late Warring States period saw the more or less concurrent emergence of two new postmortem destinations: one is direct access to transcendence via self-cultivation techniques, the other is promotion into the […]

The Reception and Impact of Theology, Religion, and Philosopy in East Asia

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia is a two-part workshop series that explores the genealogy of the terms “religion” and “theology” in Europe and East Asia. The 2016 workshop, West to East, is primarily concerned with cultural flows from west to east, considering the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology […]

The Reception and Impact of Theology, Religion, and Philosophy in East Asia

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia is a two-part workshop series that explores the genealogy of the terms “religion” and “theology” in Europe and East Asia. The 2016 workshop, West to East, is primarily concerned with cultural flows from west to east, considering the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology […]

If I Give My Soul: Pentecostalism in the Prisons of Rio

Film Screening and Discussion The documentary If I Give My Soul began the day that co-director Andrew Johnson checked into a Brazilian prison, where he would spend two weeks living as an inmate. He ate the same food, slept in the same cells and went through the routines as if he were incarcerated in an […]

Working On Early Qur'anic Manuscripts: Reading and Editing Their Texts

Reading early Qur’ānic manuscripts is a patient act of interpretation which involved scribes working to copy written exemplars and still involves editors reading manuscripts to produce editions. The editing work in reading Qur’ānic manuscripts does not have a long story, as it has only been cultivated in Europe since 1902. Two dynamics have influenced such […]

How Does Theology Speak? A New Perspective on Martin Luther’s <em>Nova Lingua</em>

Against Sorbonne theologians, Luther claimed that theology has to speak a different language from philosophy, a nova lingua. What is the nature, and what are the conditions, of this lingua? Contemporary scholarship is divided into two positions, referring the specificity of theological language either to the semantics (and specifically to the analogy), or to the […]

European Moments in the Making of Islam's "Image Problem"

The image of Islam in the West has been consistently informed by the idea that Islam fosters distinctive attitudes towards the image. Recent controversies about Islam, aniconism and iconoclasm are typical in this respect, often taking the idea of an Islamic Bilderverbot (image prohibition) as a given. Seen from the perspective of the longue durée, […]

Object Histories: Flotsam as Early Globalism

The past decade has witnessed the proliferation of histories written on and from objects. This interest reflects a number of significant developments in the humanities, from increased attention to circulation, gifting or the early history of commodities, to a renewed concern with materiality and a recent fascination with the potential agency of material objects. Much […]

Between the World and the International: Thinking with Ottoman and Islamic Pasts

DAY ONE (DAY TWO) This interdisciplinary workshop considers Ottoman/Islamic visions of the world that preceded or contended with our globalized notion of the international comprised of discrete, sovereign nation-states connected by seas. The objective is both to historicize and pluralize visions of the world, so as to grapple with our contemporary predicaments. We focus on […]

Between the World and the International: Thinking with Ottoman and Islamic Pasts

DAY TWO (DAY ONE) This interdisciplinary workshop considers Ottoman/Islamic visions of the world that preceded or contended with our globalized notion of the international comprised of discrete, sovereign nation-states connected by seas. The objective is both to historicize and pluralize visions of the world, so as to grapple with our contemporary predicaments. We focus on […]

Sectarianism and Coexistence in the Modern Middle East

This talk provides a historical perspective to the contemporary sectarian tragedy unfolding in the modern Middle East. First, it uncovers a complex, but now obscured, modern culture of coexistence in a region that is historically rich in religious diversity, but that today encompasses a series of war-torn countries including Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Second, it […]