Upcoming

Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

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 Muslims are imagined in mythology and in everyday life. Going beyond the minimalist ideas of tolerance, Das asks how the volatility of relations is tied to the mystery of the other and how traces of the erotic are carried in the mundane.

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. Her most recent books are Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2007); Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty (2015); and three co-edited volumes, The Ground Between: Anthropologists Engage Philosophy (2014), Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium (2015), and Politics of the Urban Poor (forthcoming).

The Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance is sponsored by the Endowed Fund for the Study of Religious Tolerance.

Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

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.

Joel Walker, Jon Bridgman Endowed Associate Professor of History, University of Washington

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 Walker is Jon Bridgman Endowed Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington. As a historian of late antiquity, he is interested in the diverse cultures of western Eurasia from prehistory to the early Islamic caliphate. His scholarship centers on the religious and cultural communities of the premodern Middle East, especially the Christian community known as the Church of the East or the “Nestorians.” His upcoming book, Jewel of the Palace and the Soul: Pearls in the Arts, Economy, and Imagination of the Late Antique World, uses a single type of material to illuminate patterns of interaction and exchange across the late antique world.

Co-sponsored by the IEAS Mongolia Initiative.

Vincent Goossaert, Directeur d'études, Sciences religieuses, École Pratique des Hautes Études

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 state 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 ranks of the otherworldly bureaucracy. While initially opposed, these two options became over the following centuries intermingled in many ways, as the divine bureaucracy continued to expand, to complexify, and to incorporate those who had attempted to escape it.

This presentation will argue that the aspiration to become a god (divinization) has ever since played a key role in Chinese religious, intellectual, and cultural history. While families work at transforming their dead into ancestors, individuals tend to rather prefer divinization for themselves, and often take steps in that direction while alive. The two main ways to divinization that opened during the late warring states have basically stayed the same, but while the first (salvation through self-cultivation) remained elitist, the second (gaining initial access in the divine bureaucracy and then working one’s way up) gradually opened to all and sundry, most remarkably as a consequence of the religious changes of early modernity (tenth to thirteenth centuries). Becoming an otherworldly bureaucrat has become in modern time the main way to saving oneself from postmortem suffering and oblivion. This will lead us to reflect upon the intimate connection between two categories not often examined in tandem: bureaucracy and salvation.

Vincent Goossaert is a historian and professor at École Pratique des Hautes Études. He works on the social history of modern Chinese religion, and has focused on Daoism, on religious specialists as professionals and social roles, on the politics of religion, and on the production of moral norms.

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia brings together scholars to re-interpret the role that East Asian traditions have played in Asia and the West through two annual convenings. The 2016 West to East convening looks east to consider the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology in East Asia, and the significance of these categories on politics, society, and intellectual life. The Vincent Goossaert lecture launches a two-day workshop on March 17 and 18.

In 2017, the convening East to West looks west to examine the impact in Europe and America of East Asian categories and ideas on the understanding of the terms religion and theology. Translating Religion is a project of the Public Theology Program, a critical research initiative of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the initiative is dedicated to charting new directions for the study of religion in the public university.

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia explores the genealogy of the terms “religion” and “theology” in East Asia through two annual convenings with interdisciplinary scholars. The 2016 West to East convening looks east to consider the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology in East Asia, and the significance of these categories on politics, society, and intellectual life. As part of the convening, the two-day workshop on The Reception and Impact of “Theology,” “Religion,” and “Philosophy” in East Asia focuses specifically on the way that these terms, along with the conception of a secular state, became a crucial part of state formation in Japan and China beginning in the nineteenth century.

In 2017, the convening East to West looks west to examine the impact in Europe and America of East Asian categories and ideas on the understanding of the terms religion and theology. By examining the translingual practice around the terms religion and theology, we hope to understand how these categories changed over time and across cultures, and in doing so address the location of East Asian traditions in the humanities and in society more broadly.

The word “religion” has been applied at times apologetically, often uneasily, and arguably hegemonically to East Asian traditions. Scholars and politicians have never quite agreed on basic questions such as whether Confucianism is a religion or a philosophy, and whether monotheistic or theological traditions existed in premodern East Asia. Behind these disagreements lie a host of political and cultural issues, broader historical processes like colonialism and secularization, and unexamined differences in the way “religion” is defined by different participants in the conversation.

Speakers
Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Professor and Eliaser Chair of International Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley
Thomas DuBois, Senior Research Fellow, School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University, College of Asia and the Pacific
Lionel Jensen, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame
Ya-pei Kuo, University Lecturer, Department of History, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Liu Xin, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Trent Maxey, Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Civilizations and History, Amherst College
Rebecca Nedostup, Associate Professor of History, Brown University
Emily Ng, Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Stacey Van Vleet, Department of History, UC Berkeley

Respondents
Vincent Goossaert, Directeur d’études, Sciences religieuses, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Peter Park, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas

Translating Religion commences with a keynote by Vincent Goossaert on Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7 pm on “Bureaucracy and Salvation: Chinese Ways to Divinization,” at 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley. Translating Religion is a project of the Public Theology Program, a critical research initiative of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the initiative is dedicated to charting new directions for the study of religion in the public university.

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia explores the genealogy of the terms “religion” and “theology” in East Asia through two annual convenings with interdisciplinary scholars. The 2016 West to East convening looks east to consider the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology in East Asia, and the significance of these categories on politics, society, and intellectual life. As part of the convening, the two-day workshop on The Reception and Impact of “Theology,” “Religion,” and “Philosophy” in East Asia focuses specifically on the way that these terms, along with the conception of a secular state, became a crucial part of state formation in Japan and China beginning in the nineteenth century.

In 2017, the convening East to West looks west to examine the impact in Europe and America of East Asian categories and ideas on the understanding of the terms religion and theology. By examining the translingual practice around the terms religion and theology, we hope to understand how these categories changed over time and across cultures, and in doing so address the location of East Asian traditions in the humanities and in society more broadly.

The word “religion” has been applied at times apologetically, often uneasily, and arguably hegemonically to East Asian traditions. Scholars and politicians have never quite agreed on basic questions such as whether Confucianism is a religion or a philosophy, and whether monotheistic or theological traditions existed in premodern East Asia. Behind these disagreements lie a host of political and cultural issues, broader historical processes like colonialism and secularization, and unexamined differences in the way “religion” is defined by different participants in the conversation.

Speakers
Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Professor and Eliaser Chair of International Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley
Thomas DuBois, Senior Research Fellow, School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University, College of Asia and the Pacific
Lionel Jensen, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame
Ya-pei Kuo, University Lecturer, Department of History, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Liu Xin, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Trent Maxey, Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Civilizations and History, Amherst College
Rebecca Nedostup, Associate Professor of History, Brown University
Emily Ng, Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Stacey Van Vleet, Department of History, UC Berkeley

Respondents
Vincent Goossaert, Directeur d’études, Sciences religieuses, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Peter Park, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas

Translating Religion commences with a keynote by Vincent Goossaert on Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7 pm on “Bureaucracy and Salvation: Chinese Ways to Divinization,” at 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley. Translating Religion is a project of the Public Theology Program, a critical research initiative of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the initiative is dedicated to charting new directions for the study of religion in the public university.

Andrew Johnson, Filmmaker and Co-Director
Laura Graham, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Iowa

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 effort to see prison from an inmate’s perspective. During this process, Andrew was brought face-to-face with two powerful forces in the prisons: narco-trafficking gangs, and Pentecostal Christianity.

Andrew Johnson is research associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and spent the following year as a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Before entering the doctoral program at Minnesota, Johnson served as Foreign Service Officer at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and worked at the U.S. Embassies in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Brasilia, Brazil. Prior to that, he worked with at-risk youth in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Johnson is currently working on a book manuscript and documentary film on Pentecostalism inside of prison in Rio de Janeiro and is a part of CRCC’s Religious Competition and Creative Innovation research team.

Laura R. Graham is an anthropologist and filmmaker whose focuses on politics of indigenous representation to broad publics among indigenous peoples of lowland South America. She has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the Xavante of central Brazil and Wayuu of Venezuela and Colombia focusing on language use in national and international arena, notions of cultural consciousness, cultural and intellectual property, and representations of indigeneity in politics and advocacy, indigenous media and human rights. Her work promotes engaged ethnography and participant advocacy. She is author of the award-winning book, Performing Dreams: Discourses of Immortality Among the Xavante Indians of Central Brazil (University of Texas Press, 1995) and has published many articles on Xavante and Wayuu. Her work on Xavante oral culture has been featured on the NPR Program Pulse of the Planet. Graham’s latest book (with H. Glenn Penny), Performing Indigeneity: Global Histories and Contemporary Experiences, came out in 2014 with University of Nebraska Press. She is producer and co-director, with David Hernández-Palmar and Caimi Waiassé, of the award-winning film Owners of the Water: Conflict and Collaboration Over Rivers (Documentary Educational Resources, 2009).