Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

All Upcoming Events

Theology and the Public University

For the past two years, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, has convened a series of workshops and seminars concerning, broadly speaking, the place of theology in the university. From the outset, our goal was to challenge narrow conceptions of both secular learning and “theology,” in hopes […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Critical Public Theology: How to Use and Not to Use the Bible in Contemporary Public Issues

The Bible sometimes plays a major role in current, political discourses, especially in the United States. As a project, public theology supports efforts to let the Bible speak to contemporary, public concerns. But using the Bible in this way involves many potential traps. How can a 2000 year old book provide guidance for social and […]

What’s Theology Got to Do with It? An Eighteenth-Century Chinese Emperor Debating Religions and Christianity

In his Lettres chinoises, indiennes et tartares, Voltaire republished “a note by the good Kangxi Emperor to the Peking Jesuits” as follows: “The emperor is surprised to see you so stubborn in your ideas. Why would you worry so much about a world where you have not been yet? Enjoy the present. Your God must […]

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