Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance

Are Atheists Tolerable? American Nonbelievers and Irreligious Freedom

Modern constructions of religious liberty often left atheists and nonbelievers out. Long after the ratification of the First Amendment, it remained an open question whether religious freedom included irreligious freedom. Counted an intolerable danger to the commonwealth, atheists were frequently denied equal rights and liberties; several states barred them from holding offices of public trust, […]

Living with Difference: Shared Religious Sanctuaries in the Ottoman Lands

Note: This lecture will be held in the Banatao Auditorium, 310 Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley. In this talk, I will discuss the sharing of sacred sanctuaries by the three great monotheistic religions across the Mediterranean, with particular examples from the history of the Ottoman Empire. At first sight, sharing the same sacred sites would […]

Mecca's Perspective as Symbolic Form

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

Tolerating the Church: Exploring the US Supreme Court's Ecclesiology

What is the church under modern secular law? Can it ever be constitutional for the US Supreme Court to refer to “the” church? Countless US laws give special legal privileges to churches—and, sometimes, by an imperfect analogy, to other religious groups or organizations. This lecture will explore the religious phenomenology—the political theology—of the US Supreme […]

BCSR presents a colloquium with Prof. Green where he will be discussing “Dreaming of Island in Detroit: An Indian Entrepreneur in the American Religious Market.” The paper is a chapter from his forthcoming book, Terrains of Exchange: Muslim Encounters from India & Iran to America & Japan (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014). This colloquium is […]

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