Upcoming

Saya Woolfalk, Visual Artist, and Jeff Durham, Assistant Curator of Himalayan Art, Asian Art Museum

“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 Art Museum’s exhibition, Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism (through October 26, 2014). BCSR Co-Director Mark Csikszentmihalyi moderates a discussion that follows.

Enter the Mandala presents 14th-century paintings of Buddhist mandalas or “cosmic maps.” These works are both elaborate and detailed representations of Himalayan Buddhist cosmos that are objects of meditation for Buddhist practitioners. In response to an invitation by the museum, Woolfalk produced a performance titled, ChimaTEK: Hybridity Visualization Mandala. ChimaTEK finds the Empathics, a fictional group of women who physically and culturally merge identities and cross species, becoming a fusion of animal and plant while taking on characteristics of various cultures. Woolfalk and curator Jeff Durham consider the creative influences and religious content in ChimaTEK and Enter the Mandala, specifically Buddhist conceptions of consciousness, hybridity, transformation, and ritual.

Jeff Durham is curator of Himalayan Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Jeff holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and has served as Professor of Religion at George Mason University, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and the University of North Carolina. With research focusing on visualization practice in esoteric religions, Jeff currently has visions of creating the first cross-cultural exhibition of esoteric art traditions on the West Coast.

Saya Woolfalk (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. She is in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California.

Visualizing Consciousness is co-presented by the Asian Art Museum-Chong-Moon-Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, the Department of Art Practice, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Marc Mayer, Educator for Public Programs, Asian Art Museum, and Brian Karl, Program Director, Headlands Center for the Arts.

The Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion is a new series of talks and lectures organized by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Scholars, professionals, and practitioners in architecture, design, film, literature, music, performance, and visual art are invited to present their work and ideas. The series is an opportunity for audiences to explore and engage with a rich and extensive body of creative work on topics in religion, past and present.

Photo: Chimera (detail), Saya Woolfalk, 2013.

Janet Jakobsen, Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College

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 last several decades have become “culture wars” (most recently embodied as a “war on women” in the 2010 midterm elections). My current book project “Why Sex?” argues that, to the contrary, secular freedom has as great a role in the sexual obsessions of the U.S. public sphere as does religious regulation.

“Sex and Secularism” looks specifically at the period of the 1970s, a moment in which many aspects of this story come together. The movements for women’s and sexual liberation in the United States reach their peak in the 1970s, while a number of political battles, including the Briggs Initiative in California and the formation of the Moral Majority, mark the first flourishes of “The New Christian Right.” Furthermore, the economic and political framework of U.S. and global policy moves in this decade from political liberalism to neoliberalism. The co-incidence of mass political movements focused on women and sexuality, on the one hand, and the rise of neoliberalism, on the other, is usually explained in David Harvey’s structural functionalist terms (1997, 2007), in which religion enforces moral standards and conserves tradition in newly flexible and uncertain economic times.

My concern is to tell a more complete story of the 1970s. No singular social relation – whether religion, gender, class, race, economics, politics or trade – can serve as the key to the decade and its ramifications on those that followed. Instead, I propose a relational analysis that uses a queer understanding of religion to reconfigure not just our understanding of the religion-secular relation, but also the interacting relations that make the 1970s foundational for contemporary social formations. (Jakobsen)

Janet R. Jakobsen is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Women at Barnard College. She studies ethics and public policy with a particular focus on social movements related to religion, gender and sexuality. She teaches courses on social ethics, feminist theory, queer theory, activism, religion and violence. She is the author of Working Alliances and the Politics of Difference: Diversity and Feminist Ethics. With Ann Pellegrini she co-wrote Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance and co-edited Secularisms, and with Elizabeth Castelli she co-edited Interventions: Academics and Activists Respond to Violence. Before entering the academy, she was a policy analyst and organizer in Washington, D.C.

Co-presented by the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture.

David Mungello, Professor of History, Baylor University

“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 framework that gave rise to this incursion persisted throughout the twentieth century. The anti-Catholic campaign of Communist persecution and imprisonment led to spiritual growth rather than decline, a development that was completely misread by most foreign journalists and academics. Viewed from a short-term historical perspective, the Catholic invasion of nineteenth and twentieth-century China was a very negative experience –a debacle-but viewed from a long-term perspective, the invasion contributed to the transformation of a mission church into an indigenous religion. In the process, the Catholic invasion enriched Chinese culture while the Chinese church enriched Catholicism and made it more universal.  The present division between the patriotic and underground Catholic churches is likely to remain unresolved until there has been some accommodation between the twin issues of the Vatican’s foreign interference in Chinese affairs and the Chinese state’s restrictions on the free practice of religion. (Mungello)

David Mungello, the grandson of Neapolitan immigrants, was raised in a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania, and graduated from George Washington University where he majored in Philosophy. He came to U.C. Berkeley in 1967 to study with Prof. Joseph R. Levenson and completed his doctorate in History in 1973. He has taught at colleges in Hong Kong, New York, Iowa, Düsseldorf and, since 1994, at Baylor University, Texas. He has done post-doctoral research in Germany on an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship (1978-80) and a Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüettel fellowship (1984). In 1979, he founded the Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal. He was one of the first foreign scholars to visit the former Jesuit Xujiahui (Zikawei) library, Shanghai in 1986 and he was in Beijing and Hangzhou during the June 4th 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident. He has published eight books, including Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology (1985), The Spirit and the Flesh in Shandong, 1650-1785 (2001), The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800 (4th revised edition 2013), Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide since 1650 (2008), and Western Queers in China: Flight to the Land of Oz (2012).

Winnifred Sullivan, Professor of Religious Studies and Law, Indiana University

A persistent question in considering the proper scope for legal protection for religious freedom is whether any such protection should extend to groups as well as to individuals. Countless US laws give special legal privileges to churches—and, sometimes, by an imperfect analogy, to other religious groups or organizations, but in US law a religious group has almost always meant a church or church-related institution of some kind.

This lecture will explore the religious phenomenology — the political theology — of the US Supreme Court’s theory of corporate religious rights, setting its recent decisions in Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC and Burwell v Hobby Lobby in a longer historical and ecclesiological frame. Can it ever be constitutional for the US Supreme Court to refer to “the church?” (Sullivan)

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, and Affiliate Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington. She studies the intersection of religion and law in the modern period, particularly the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law. She is the author of Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Cambridge: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1994); The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), and A Ministry of Presence (Chicago 2014). She holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has previously taught at Washington & Lee University, the University of Chicago Divinity School and SUNY Buffalo Law School. During the 2010-2011 academic year, she was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

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

Colloquium with Winnifred Sullivan, Professor of Religious Studies and Law, Indiana University

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 other about whether religion belongs or not in the public square and whether religious folks ought to have privileged exemptions from laws that apply to everyone else. But “religion” operates largely as a black box in these contests. Occasionally what counts as religion is explicitly addressed by courts and administrators and legislators. Even then there is little consistency among these various accounts.

The familiar challenge of the incoherence of the category (at least to religion scholars) is explored here in the larger context of the crisis of the relevance and admissibility of expert evidence in the US courts. What evidence is relevant in proving religion? Subjective witness by a party? Testimony by a cleric? Authoritative religious texts? Expert reports by religious studies scholars? Who decides and how? What theories of law and of religion are implied by these various alternatives? (Sullivan)

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, and Affiliate Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington. She studies the intersection of religion and law in the modern period, particularly the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law. She is the author of Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Cambridge: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1994); The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), and A Ministry of Presence (Chicago 2014). She holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has previously taught at Washington & Lee University, the University of Chicago Divinity School and SUNY Buffalo Law School. During the 2010-2011 academic year, she was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

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

Marilynne Robinson, Novelist

Marilynne Robinson is the author of Gilead, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novel, Home, won the 2008 L.A. Times Book Prize for fiction and the 2009 Orange Prize for fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.  Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award for First Fiction and the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Robinson received a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award in 1990 and the prestigious Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts in 1998. A new novel, Lila, is forthcoming (2014) from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is also the author of four books of nonfiction, The Death of Adam, Absence of Mind, When I Was a Child I Read Books, and Mother Country, which was nominated for a National Book Award. In 2013 President Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal for “her grace and intelligence in writing.” Dr. Robinson teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

At 5pm, BCSR presents a roundtable with Marilynne Robinson and UC Berkeley faculty Dori Hale (English), Robert Hass (English), Jeffrey Knapp (English) and Jonathan Sheehan (History, BCSR) on the art of the novel and religion.

The Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion is a program of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR).  Co-presented with The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Sara McClintock, Associate Professor of Tibetan and Indian Buddhism, Emory University

Sara McClintock is Associate Professor of Religion at Emory University, where she teaches courses in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism and interpretation theory in the study of religion. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Bryn Mawr College (1983), her master’s degree in world religions from Harvard Divinity School (1989), and her doctorate in religion from Harvard University (2002). Her interests include narrative, philosophy, and contemplative practices, with particular focus on issues of rationality, rhetoric, reading, embodiment, emptiness, and ethics. She is author of Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason: Santaraksita and Kamalasila on Rationality, Argumentation, and Religious Authority (2010) and co-editor with Georges Dreyfus of The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction: What Difference Does a Difference Make? (2003). Recent writings include “Compassionate Trickster: The Buddha as a Literary Character in the Narratives of Early Indian Buddhism” (2011) and an article on the status of phenomenal content (akara) in cognition in Kamalasila’s Tattvasamgrahapanjika (2013). She is co-translator with John Dunne of Nagarjuna’s Ratnavali.

The Berkeley Public Forum on Religion is a program of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR). Co-presented by the Center for Buddhist Studies.

Webb Keane, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michican, Ann Arbor

The Berkeley Public Forum on Religion is a program of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR).

Fanny Howe, Poet, Essayist, Novelist

The Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion is a program of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR). Co-presented by the Holloway Poetry Series.