Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

Berkeley Seminars in Art and Religion

The Creative Repercussions of Counterculture

Haroon Mirza, Artist Haroon Mirza will examine how ideas seeded in the counterculture movement of the 1960s are now solidifying in contemporary culture and the influence that has had on his work. A London-based artist with a diverse multimedia practice, Mirza will touch on subjects that resonate with his broad interest in the creative history […]

Milton and the Syntax of Faith

In Book 11 of the Confessions, Augustine attempts to contemplate the mystery of time and, in particular, the temporal embeddedness that makes human beings particularly unqualified to comprehend eternity. In this lecture, I will be tracing the same double imperative in the poetry of John Milton: apprehension in and of time while in the hope […]

A Poetry Reading by Linda Gregerson

Linda Gregerson will read a selection of her poems prior to her lecture on Milton. This reading will be held in 300 Wheeler Hall at 2pm. Linda Gregerson is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently of Prodigal: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015). Among her earlier books, Magnetic North (2007) […]

Rites of Preservation

Video Showing and Discussion, with an Introduction and Response by Robert Alter In my talk I will discuss ways in which religious rituals affect civilian protocols in Israel and Palestine. To explore this link between ritual and routine, I will conduct a chronological overview of my work, which, in examining the connections between religious codes […]

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. […]

European Moments in the Making of Islam's "Image Problem"

The image of Islam in the West has been consistently informed by the idea that Islam fosters distinctive attitudes towards the image. Recent controversies about Islam, aniconism and iconoclasm are typical in this respect, often taking the idea of an Islamic Bilderverbot (image prohibition) as a given. Seen from the perspective of the longue durée, […]

If I Give My Soul: Pentecostalism in the Prisons of Rio

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 […]

"Tablet of Being": Persian Painting and the Demiurgic Artist in Fifteenth Century Iran and Central Asia

In the fifteenth century, Persian book painting becomes filled with extra-textual figures, deviating from and subverting the textual story they supposedly illustrate. Through a careful analysis of aspects of facture and composition, combined with an exploration of primary art historiographical sources, this talk suggests that this departure from illustration transformed the painting into a reflexive […]

Radical Love: A Photographic Narrative of Cloistered Religious Life

The sudden revelation of a powerful religious calling was an entirely unexpected event in the life of a college student named Lauren. But when it became clear to her that she had a spiritual vocation, she made the exceptional decision to dedicate her life to God. Drawing upon many visits to the cloistered religious community […]

Brigid of Murroe

Brigid of Ireland was first a goddess, then a person, then a saint divided into multiple personalities and nationalities. She shows up, like Mary, all over the place and is useful for almost any situation. There are religious orders devoted to her, although she emanates a pantheistic aura, even a primitive one, both historically and […]

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