BCSR Receives $500,000 Grant from Henry Luce Foundation for Berkeley Democracy and Public Theology Program

Miranda Schonbrun

Now in its eighth year, UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion appreciatively announces that it has received a $500,000 grant spanning three years from the Henry Luce Foundation to examine how theology has influenced, and continues to influence, democratic practices. Professors and BCSR Co-Directors Karen Barkey (UC Berkeley) and David Marno (UC Berkeley), and Professor and BCSR Co-founder Jonathan Sheehan (UC Berkeley), will be the Principal Investigators. …

Message from the Directors

Miranda Schonbrun

Dear Friends of BCSR,

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones healthy and well as we return to a fall semester unlike any in recent history. Facing unparallelled challenges from the pandemic, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion endeavors to grow our scholarship and community. We want to thank all of you who continue to support us, and to give you an update on the Center’s new programs and exciting initiatives. …

Faculty Accomplishments from Spring and Summer 2020

Miranda Schonbrun

BCSR is proud to share a sample of recent accomplishments, publications, awards, and news from affiliated faculty from spring and summer 2020. Please join us in congratulating our affiliated faculty members Robert Alter, Karen Barkey, Robert Braun, Charles Hirschkind, Ethan Katz, Henrike C. Lange, Rita Lucarelli, Joanna Picciotto, Ronit Stahl, Jonathan Sheehan, and Francesco Spagnolo on these achievements! …

New BCSR Website and Social Media

Miranda Schonbrun

We are proud to share that over the summer we made some updates to the BCSR website and social media presence in order to boost the visibility of the study of religions at Berkeley. Be sure to like/follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest updates! …

Fall 2020 Religion Courses

Brandon Schneider News, Research

Be sure to check out BCSR faculty and affiliates’ fall courses related to religion, spanning diverse fields including Buddhist Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, German, History, Jewish Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and South and Southeast Asian Studies! …

Postponements: BCSR Events Spring 2020

Brandon Schneider

Due to ongoing changes designed to help limit coronavirus (COVID-19) risk on campus, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion regretfully announces that the following events have been POSTPONED until further notice. …

Recent Alumni Spotlight: Basit Iqbal

Brandon Schneider

As part of our ongoing interview series, BCSR recently caught up with Basit Iqbal, who was a 2018 recipient of a BCSR summer research grant. He is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. He received his PhD from the UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology with a designated emphasis in critical theory in December 2019. …

Grad Student Spotlight: Madeline Lesser

Brandon Schneider

As part of our series spotlighting UC Berkeley graduate student research, BCSR recently had the opportunity to sit down with Madeline Lesser, a PhD student in English. Her dissertation is titled “Bad Prophets: the Aesthetics of Uncertainty in Revolutionary England.” BCSR: Could you tell us about your doctoral research topic more broadly and how you feel it contributes to the study of religion? …

Faculty Achievements from Fall 2019

Brandon Schneider News

Fall 2019 was an excellent and busy semester for the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion’s affiliated faculty. BCSR is proud to share a sample of recent accomplishments, publications, awards, and news from affiliated faculty from the fall 2019 semester. Please join us in congratulating our affiliated faculty members Carolyn Chen, David A. Hollinger, Rita Lucarelli, Diego Pirillo, and Francesco Spagnolo on these achievements! …

Spring 2020 Religion Courses

Brandon Schneider

BCSR faculty and affiliates will offer an array of undergraduate and graduate courses on religion in spring 2020. Covering numerous faiths, regions, periods, and methods, the courses are a testament to the interdisciplinary breadth and historical depth of our offerings. A sample of religion-related courses in the spring are listed below: Sufism: The Mysticism of Islam | NESTUD 144 001 | Asad …

BCSR Welcomes Visiting Scholar Anna Hennessey

Brandon Schneider

Anna Hennessey joins BCSR as a Visiting Scholar through September 2020. Anna Hennessey is a San Francisco author and scholar whose work explores the religious, artistic, and philosophical dimensions of birth. Her recent book, Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology Between the Sacred and the Secular (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) explores ways in which religious imagery is secularized and re-sacralized during the contemporary …

New History of Religion Course this Spring

Brandon Schneider

Ethan Shagan, a BCSR affiliated faculty member and winner of the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award, will be teaching the new course History 20: Introduction to the History of Religion this spring. The course will introduce students to the history of religion from the earliest written records to the modern world, including the monotheistic traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, the …

New Additions to the BCSR Advisory Board

Patty Dunlap News

Now in its seventh year, BCSR recently added several new members to its advisory board. Robert Braun (Sociology), Stefania Pandolfo (Anthropology) and Ronit Stahl (History) will join current board members Charles Hirschkind, Asma Kazmi, Niklaus Largier, Joanna Picciotto and Jonathan Sheehan, and BCSR co-directors Karen Barkey and David Marno. Robert Braun combines archival work with geographical information systems to study civil …

Karen Barkey Named New Co-Director of BCSR

Patty Dunlap

BCSR is proud to announce that Karen Barkey has joined David Marno as Co-director for the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Karen succeeds Co-founder Jonathan Sheehan, whose leadership has been pivotal in establishing BCSR and ensuring the success of the $1M grant in Public Theology from the Henry Luce Foundation, now in its final year. Jonathan will continue to serve on BCSR’s advisory board …

The Political Theology Network’s Dissertation Workshop (Application Deadline September 10)

Patty Dunlap

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a very generous grant to help launch and develop the Political Theology Network. The grant includes a project geared specifically to graduate students in the area:  The Political Theology Network’s Dissertation Workshop. A brief word about the initiative: The Dissertation Workshop will award up to 5 grants of $500 each for students who will …

2019-20 BCSR New Directions Cohort Announced

Patty Dunlap News

For the fourth consecutive year, BCSR faculty will mentor an intellectually diverse set of New Directions in Theology grant winners throughout the academic year. Representing eight disciplines, with interests ranging from antiquity to the present, the incoming New Directions students will regularly meet with BCSR faculty to discuss contemporary religious research and to refine their academic projects. The New Directions …

BCSR New Directions in Theology Grants for Graduate Students | Call for Applications

Patty Dunlap

We have good news regarding one of our most successful program, the New Directions in Theology Grants. BCSR recently received an extension of funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, which supports the Berkeley Public Theology Program, and will be able to continue the New Directions program for another year. New Directions in Theology grantees participate in a cohort of students …

Message From the Directors, 2019

Patty Dunlap

May 2019 Dear Friends of BCSR, 2018-2019 has been an exceptional year for the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. We’d like to bring you up to date on our current and planned activities, and thank you for helping to make this year such a success. Our biggest efforts and events revolved around the third year of programming from …

Grad Spotlight: Simon Brown

Brandon Schneider News

An ongoing series on current and recent Berkeley grads working on religion. As part of our series spotlighting UC Berkeley graduate student research, BCSR recently had the opportunity to sit down with Simon Brown, a doctoral candidate in European History. His dissertation is tentatively titled “Useful Subjects: English Practical Divinity and Useful Knowledge from Reformation to Enlightenment.” BCSR: Could you tell us about your …

Missed an Event? Recordings Are Now Available

Patty Dunlap News

The Center has been busy! Recordings of the following events are available on Soundcloud or YouTube. April 25: “‘Doing’ Political Theology Today: Promises and Pitfalls” Ruth Marshall: SoundCloud Recording April 3: “The Creative Repercussions of Counterculture” Haroon Mirza: SoundCloud Recording March 13: “What’s Theology Got to Do With It? An Eighteenth-Century Chinese Emperor Debating Religions and Christianity” Eugenio Menegon: SoundCloud Recording …

Theology and the Public University

Patty Dunlap

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 of fostering robust conversation about …

New Directions in Theology Fellowships: A Reflection by Bernardo S. Hinojosa

Brandon Schneider New Directions in Theology Graduate Student Grants, Research, Student Impact

As part of the Berkeley Public Theology Program, BCSR rewards promising young scholars from diverse disciplines with $5000 New Directions in Theology grants and faculty mentorship to create and shape a long-term community of inquiry on the Berkeley campus. These first- and second-year graduate students explore new directions for the study of religion in the public university through bi-weekly meetings …

From BCSR Postdoc to Projects on Neoconservatism, Neoliberalism, and Christian Human Rights: 5 Questions with Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, Yale University

Brandon Schneider News, The Berkeley Postdoctoral Fellowship in Public Theology

As part of our ongoing 5 Questions series, BCSR recently caught up with Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, the 2016-2017 Berkeley Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Theology. Now with the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale, Jenkins shared his thoughts on his time at Berkeley and the place of BCSR in the wider religious studies landscape. We also asked about his current and …

Grad Spotlight: Candace Lukasik

Brandon Schneider News

The second in an ongoing series on current and recent Berkeley grads working on religion. [NOTE: This post is best viewed on Medium, where we will post longer-form content] As part of our ongoing series spotlighting UC Berkeley graduate student research, BCSR recently had the opportunity to chat with Candace Lukasik, a PhD candidate in Anthropology studying the Egyptian Coptic …

Synagogues with Cemeteries, Secret Mosques, Underground Churches, Religion and Countinsurgency: 5 Questions with Jason Klocek, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Notre Dame

Brandon Schneider News

In mid-August Jason Klocek, a former BCSR grant winner and now Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Global Religion Initiative at Notre Dame, walked us through the aforementioned aspects of his scholarly development, part of his wider journey from coal-town Pennsylvania to Berkeley, with with stops in Crete, Turkmenistan, and Washington D.C. along the way. Klocek also discussed his choice of, …