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January + February 2020

News:
  • BCSR Faculty Achievements from Fall 2019
Events:
  • February 4 | From Sinai to Ethiopia, and Back to Israel: The Halakhic and Conceptual World of Ethiopian Jewry | Rabbi Sharon Shalom
  • February 5 | In the Name of the Cross: Christianity and Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany | David Kertzer
  • February 21 | Transformation and Modernity around 1300: Medium, Spirituality, Experience in Giotto's Arena Chapel
  • February 25 | The Anti-Catholic Origins of Anti-Communism | Udi Greenberg
  • March 17 | Educating Conscience in Mid-Nineteenth Century British India | Seth Koven
  • March 18 | Health, Conscience, and the State | Seth Koven
N E W S
Faculty Achievements from Fall 2019

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 on these achievements!

Carolyn Chen recently published the article "Pathways of Religious Assimilation: Second-Generation Asian Americans' Religious Retention and Religiosity" in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

Full reference: "Pathways of Religious Assimilation: Second-Generation Asian Americans' Religious Retention and Religiosity," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 58(3): 666-668.

David A. Hollinger was awarded the Peter Dobkin Hall Prize for his book, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America. He also keynoted an international conference on Protestant missions in Salt Lake City. He published an article in Chebacco's special issue on the religious history of Mt. Desert Island, Maine: "Elegy on Baker Island: Charles W. Eliot's Maritime Pastoral."

Rita Lucarelli recently published the article "Magic and Religion in Ancient Egypt" in the volume Theorizing 'Religion' in Antiquity.

Full reference: "Magic and Religion in Ancient Egypt." In Nicholas Roubekas (ed.) Theorizing 'Religion' in Antiquity. Equinox, United Kingdom 2019, pp. 176-196.


Diego Pirillo's recent book The Refugee-Diplomat: Venice, England, and the Reformation has received the Modern Language Association of America's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies.

Francesco Spagnolo recently published the article "Sounds of Emancipation: Politics, Identity, and Music in 19th-century Italian Synagogues" in a special issue of Annali d'Italianistica, and curated two exhibitions at The Magnes.

Full references: 

Francesco Spagnolo. "Sounds of Emancipation: Politics, Identity, and Music in 19th-century Italian Synagogues," The New Italy and the Jews from Massimo D'Azeglio to Primo Levi. Ed. Jonathan Druker and L. Scott Lerner. Spec. issue of Annali d'Italianistica 36/2018: 115-140.

Francesco Spagnolo (curator). Memory Objects: Judaica Collections, Global Migrations, The Magnes, UC Berkeley, February-December 2019 (exhibition).

Francesco Spagnolo (curator). A tsigele / One Little Goat. El Lissitzky's Chad Gadyo at 100, The Magnes, UC Berkeley, August-December 2019 (exhibition).
E V E N T S
From Sinai to Ethiopia, and Back to Israel: The Halakhic and Conceptual World of Ethiopian Jewry

Rabbi Sharon Shalom, Ono Academic College and Bar-Ilan University

February 4, 5:30 pm Reception, 6:00 pm Lecture
Room 105, Berkeley Law, Berkeley, CA


Rabbi Shalom delves into the history, customs, and law of the Beta Israel, codifying the ancient cultural heritage of Ethiopian Jewry for the first time and contrasting it with Orthodox rabbinic law. Navigating tensions between religion and culture, he offers suggestions for honoring Beta Israel tradition while fully participating in the greater Jewish community.

Rabbi Shalom will be joined by Anthropologist Don Seeman, a scholar of Ethiopian Jewry and Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Emory University.

In the Name of the Cross: Christianity and Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

David Kertzer, Dupee University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology and Italian Studies, Brown University

February 5, 4-6 pm
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA

Heated debate surrounds the question of the role Christianity and Christian churches played in the Nazi and Italian Fascist demonization of the Jews. This talk brings to light similarities and differences in the Nazi and Italian Fascist uses of Christianity in their efforts to turn their populations against the Jews through examination of two of their most influential popular anti-Semitic propaganda vehicles: La difesa della razza in Italy and Der Stürmer in Germany. Both would mix pseudo-scientific racial theories with arguments based on Christian religious authority, and both would present themselves as defenders of Christianity against the Jewish threat. Yet there were also differences, linked to the different relations each regime had with the Christian churches.
Transformation and Modernity around 1300: Medium, Spirituality, Experience in Giotto's Arena Chapel

February 21, 10 am-6:45 pm
208A Doe Library, Berkeley, CA 

Revolving around a new reading of Giotto’s acclaimed Arena Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni) in Padua, this international book conference will pair some of the most eminent art historians in the field of Italian Renaissance/Early Modern Studies from Europe and the US east coast with interdisciplinary responses from prominent local historians, art historians, and specialists in related fields such as Classics, Medieval, Renaissance, and Literature Studies from California (UCB, UCD, Stanford, and UCLA).

On the conference day, speakers will engage themes from Henrike Lange’s book manuscript, Giotto’s Triumph (under review with Cambridge University Press) in five sections: I. The Sources of Antiquity as Other: Triumphal Architecture and the Lever of Humility, II. Crystallization: Matter and Illusion, III. Mystic Intelligence: Vision, Words, Cognition, IV. Giotto Historiographies, and V. Modernity & Modernities.

All respondents having read the manuscript beforehand, the five main speakers will offer comments on their section theme in relation to the manuscript as well as to their own expertise. Their presentations of about 30 minutes each will be complemented by two respective co-respondents adding a commentary of 5-10 minutes from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Graduate students from the Fall 2019 graduate seminar in Italian Studies “Spiritual Reading/Spiritual Seeing, from Dante to Montale” will introduce the speakers throughout the day and contribute comments on Giotto’s modernity in a grad round table towards the end of the conference day, followed by the editor’s comments and an author’s Q&A.
The Anti-Catholic Origins of Anti-Communism

Udi Greenberg, Associate Professor of European History, Dartmouth College, and Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion

February 25, 5-7 pm
3335 Dwinelle, Berkeley, CA

The Christian campaign against secular Communism was a defining phenomenon in Europe’s modern history. Over the last few years, scholars have begun to uncover its many roots—especially in anti-Semitism—and to chart the vast intellectual production and political mobilization it inspired. This talk will add to this burgeoning work by exploring the role of Protestant anti-Catholic polemics in shaping anti-secularism. I will show how crucial anti-Catholic tropes from the late nineteenth century, according to which Catholicism denied free will and enslaved individuals psychologically, resurfaced as a crucial anti-Communist trope in the twentieth century. By tracing this genealogy, I will investigate how intra-religious concepts were utilized to explain allegedly secular movements.
Educating Conscience in Mid-Nineteenth Century British India 

Seth Koven, G.E. Lessing Distinguished Professor of History and Poetics, Rutgers University

March 17, 4-6 pm
3401 Dwinelle, Berkeley, CA

Readings will be made available on our website prior to the event. Advanced registration is required. To register, please contact info.bcsr@berkeley.edu.

The colonial state’s meddling in the marriage between the Brahmin Luxmeebae and her Christian convert husband, Narayen Ramchundur, unleashed potent political emotions across mid-19th century Britain and India. Their dispute provoked riots in India, but its legal resolution was celebrated in Britain for bringing "Liberty of Conscience" to India. 
Health, Conscience, and the State

Seth Koven, G.E. Lessing Distinguished Professor of History and Poetics, Rutgers University, and Ronit Stahl, Department of History, UC Berkeley

March 18, 4-6 pm
3335 Dwinelle, Berkeley, CA 

A conversation between Seth Koven and Ronit Stahl about health care, conscience, and the state in Europe and the US.
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