Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

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Captivated by the Mediterranean: Early Modern Spain and the Political Economy of Ransom

This talk explores the entangled experience of Muslim and Christian captives and by extension the connected histories of the Spanish Empire, Morocco, and Ottoman Algiers in the 17th-century. It argues that piracy, captivity, and redemption shaped the Mediterranean as an integrated region—at the social, political, and economic levels. The history that emerges of the captivities of […]

Dealing With Infinity: Art and the Transformation of the Symbolic Order

This is a multi-day, interdisciplinary workshop. Presentations on Friday, March 1st will run from 10:00am-4:30pm., and from 10:00am-2:00pm on Saturday, March 2nd. A genealogy of the historical forms of imagination or of attentiveness in literature and the other arts traces these forms back to epistemological realms that predate aesthetic experience: to the medieval formation of […]

Writing Freedom - and Its Constraints

Maggie Nelson, the 2018-19 Una’s Lecturer, is joined in conversation by UC Berkeley faculty member Nadia Ellis (English). A 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Nelson is professor of English at the University of Southern California. A poet, critic, and nonfiction writer, she is the author of The Argonauts, which won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Her […]

The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary

Robert Alter’s lecture will consider several different challenges to a translator of the bible with illustrations from specific Biblical texts and comments on how the modern English versions have failed to meet these challenges. 4:30 pm – Roundtable on Bible Translation featuring Profs. Robert Hass, Ron Hendel, and Jonathan Sheehan 5:30 pm – Robert Alter […]

Public University, Public Values |  The Politics of Truth: A Way Forward

To truly understand the current political landscape, we may need new ways — and a new willingness — to confront the question of “values.” How can scholars in the humanities and social sciences contribute to these efforts? If humanistic study is to make a contribution to public life, do academics need to confront the subject of […]

Devotion and Relativity, Text and Context: New Frontiers of Jewish Literacy

This interdisciplinary workshop of scholars from North America, Israel, and Europe probes a central tension in Jewish Studies: a chasm typically separates those scholars who emphasize wider social and cultural contexts in which the Jewish experience has unfolded, from those whose work focuses more on the internal logic of Jewish texts and traditions. This workshop seeks […]

The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a pioneering community of Christian scholars laid the groundwork for the modern Western understanding of Islamic civilization. These men produced the first accurate translation of the Qur’an into a European language, mapped the branches of the Islamic arts and sciences, and wrote Muslim history using Arabic sources. The Republic […]

A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism

When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools — from education to propaganda to terror — to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even with its monopoly […]

Towards a Subaltern History of the Crusades?

Lecture details are forthcoming. Christopher J. Tyerman is Professor of the History of the Crusades at Oxford University. Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Program in Medieval Studies

Politics of Religion in Post-Coup Turkey

While there remain many unanswered questions regarding the July 2016 coup attempt, most Turkish citizens seem to agree with the government that putschists were linked to Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement. Although the government was decisive about what some call “de-Gülenification” in state and private sectors, the possibility of a coup organized by a […]

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