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March 2015 
News and Events

Contents


01) March 2 | BCSR Graduate Student Summer Research Grants Applications Due
02) March 11 | Transactional Reality and the Regimes of Truth | Sara McClintock
03) March 17 | Concerning "Goodbye, Christ": Langston Hughes, Political Poetry, and African American Religion | Wallace Best 

All events are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit bcsr.berkeley.edu
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01) March 2 | BCSR Graduate Student Summer Research Grants Applications Due
 
The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion is offering five to ten summer research grants in the amount of $5000 each for advanced graduate students working on topics in the study of religion, broadly construed. Applications are welcome from all UC Berkeley Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy, with preference given to those who are close to completion of their dissertations. Grants are awarded for summer research travel and related expenses only.  For more information, including application instructions, visit the BCSR website
 
02) March 11 | Transactional Reality and the Regimes of Truth | Sara McClintock 

Berkeley Public Forum on Religion

Transactional Reality and the Regimes of Truth

Sara McClintock, Associate Professor of Tibetan and Indian Buddhism, Emory University
Wednesday, March 11, 5-7pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

The premise of this talk is that knowledge is not something that we can discover but rather only something that we can produce. As such, each new instance of knowledge emerges transactionally through the interaction of configurations of materiality, discourse, and ideology—realities that are themselves the product of complex transactions. Drawing on theories from the Indian Bud
dhist epistemological tradition, this talk argues à la Foucault for the need to attend to structures of power in relation to knowledge so that we may recognize the nature of the regimes of truth in which we participate. The point is not to escape the regimes of truth but to better understand them so as to make them and ourselves more pliable. As truth is recognized to be itself a product and a transactional reality, the problem of finding a foundation for rationality is replaced by the problem of recognizing our responsibility for shaping the transactional fields in which knowledge is produced. The talk will end with a consideration of the implications of this recognition for the modern scientific study of Buddhist meditation and other contemplative practices.

 
Co-presented with the Center for Buddhist Studies.

 
03) March 17 | Concerning "Goodbye, Christ": Langston Hughes, Political Poetry, and African American Religion | Wallace Best

Berkeley Public Forum on Religion
Concerning "Goodbye, Christ": Langston Hughes, Political Poetry, and African American Religion

Wallace Best, Professor of Religion and Chair of the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University
Tuesday, March 17, 5-7pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

In March 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy called the poet Langston Hughes before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Formed in 1948, the PSI was initially charged with investigating allegations of corruption in the national defense program.  When McCarthy assumed the chairmanship, however, he redirected the focus, turning it into a tribunal to expose Communist subversives among federal employees, as well as the general public.  Hughes's summons offered no explanation, but within the first few moments of his 
interrogation it was clear that "Goodbye, Christ," a poem he had written in 1932 while sojourning in the Soviet Union, sat at the center of the committee's interest.  The poem allegedly extolled Communism while denigrating the American way of life.  Concerning "Goodbye, Christ" tells the story of Hughes's poem and the sustained impact it had on his life.  It also highlights the potential efficacy and the probable peril "political poetry" could have on an African American poet's career during the middle decades of the twentieth century.  As Hughes himself would proclaim in 1964, "politics can be the graveyard of the poet, and only poetry can be his resurrection." 
 
By connecting scholars, students, and the global community, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) fosters critical and creative scholarship on religion and activates this scholarship for students and the public at large.

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