February 2017
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By now most universities recognize that the religious dimensions of culture and experience are too important, and potentially too dangerous, either to be neglected by our educational institutions or to be consigned exclusively to religious institutions to study.  But should the study of religion in universities include theology, which, after all, is rightly regarded as … Continue reading
The modern penitentiary has both religious and theological impulses that have contributed to its current shape. In historical accounts from inception to the present, the structure has been meant, in various ways, to provide both punishment and rehabilitation for crimes. While we know that many prisoners have religious experiences in prison, there has not been … Continue reading
“Things” can help us understand social identities, relationships, and practices in the medieval world, especially in situations where textual documentation is minimal or completely absent. This paper explores how pseudo-Arabic motifs on medieval Christian buildings and objects materialized social identities and spiritual authority among monastic communities across the eastern Mediterranean, thereby attesting to an interconnectedness that is … Continue reading
Leo will present his research on the intersections between poetic and philosophical experiments in Anglo-Dutch contexts across the 1650s, 60s, and 70s, particularly the ways one might place Milton and Spinoza in conversation. This involves attention to Spinoza’s contributions to literary culture in Amsterdam and the Netherlands at large, as well as his debts to … Continue reading
The “Sacred” and the “Holy” (haram in Arabic and, to some extent, al-quds or al-muqaddas), are Semitic words (see Herem and Kadosh in Hebrew) denoting the act of separation, parting, or setting aside, and imply the apparent human faculty of setting distinctive borders between holy and profane zones. Constrained to time, these spaces become chronotopes. … Continue reading
This is the keynote lecture of a multi-day event; see additional programming here and here. This presentation takes theories of communication and philosophy of alterity as a starting point to study the methodology of the history of contact between cultures. It first discusses three different frameworks that have been employed in the study of the … Continue reading
Robert Hymes received his B.A. from Columbia College (1972), and his M.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Pennsylvania. His work so far has focused on the social and cultural history of middle period and early modern China, drawing questions and sometimes data from cultural anthropology as well as history, and using the … Continue reading
Professor Barkey is a major figure in comparative and historical sociology, whose work on the Ottoman Empire illuminates how empires have managed ethnic and religious difference in comparative and historical perspective. Her works include: Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (Cornell University Press, 1999) and Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, … Continue reading
This workshop gathers scholars who are interested in the myriad recent critiques of secularism spanning a variety of academic fields: history, political science, anthropology, comparative literature, etc. Our aim is to discuss the various motives for these critiques, their implications, and what alternatives, if any, they put forward. What implications, for instance, does the critique … Continue reading