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April 2018
News and Events

EVENTS
  • April 9 | Towards a Subaltern History of the Crusades? | Christopher J. Tyerman
  • April 10 | How to Sing with Syriac Christians (and Why): Kinship, Politics, Liturgy, and Sound in the Dutch-Syriac Diaspora | Sarah Bakker Kellogg
     
  • April 11 | A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism | Victoria Smolkin
  • April 17 | A White Stone for Belfast: One Take on Religious Politics | Robert Orsi
  • April 24 | Religion and Language: Symposium & Roundtable
  • April 27 | Thinking about Science, Religion, and Secularism | All-Day Workshop
All events are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit bcsr.berkeley.edu.
April 9 | Towards a Subaltern History of the Crusades? | Christopher J. Tyerman

Co-sponsored Event

Towards a Subaltern History of the Crusades?

Christopher J. Tyerman, Professor of the History of the Crusades, Oxford University
Monday, April 9, 5-7pm
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


Lecture details forthcoming.

Christopher J. Tyerman is Professor of the History of the Crusades at Oxford University. His research considers the cultural, religious, political and social phenomenon of crusading in medieval Western Europe between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. He has published widely on various aspects of the crusades and on crusade historiography from the Middle Ages to the present day. Recent books include God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (2006) and The Debate on the Crusades 1099-2010 (2011).

Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Program in Medieval Studies.


April 10 | How to Sing with Syriac Christians (and Why): Kinship, Politics, Liturgy, and Sound in the Dutch-Syriac Diaspora | Sarah Bakker Kellogg

BCSR Colloquium

How to Sing with Syriac Christians (and Why): Kinship, Politics, Liturgy, and Sound in the Dutch-Syriac Diaspora

Sarah Bakker Kellogg, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion
Tuesday, April 10, 5-7pm
3401 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


To the extent that Middle Eastern Christians register in Euro-American public discourse at all, they are usually invoked either to justify military intervention in the Middle East for the sake of their “religious freedom,” or they are cited as potential exemptions to policies intended to restrict asylum-seekers from Muslim-majority countries. This binary frame rests on a wide-spread assumption that their Christianity makes them easily assimilable to the so-called “Judeo-Christian” West, an assumption that many Christians from the Middle East reject. In this talk I draw from ongoing ethnographic research with diasporic Syriac Orthodox Christians in the Netherlands to show that it is this very binary framing which poses an existential threat to their 1800 year old tradition... (more)
April 11 | A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism | Victoria Smolkin

Berkeley Public Theology Program

A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism

Victoria Smolkin, Assistant Professor of History, Wesleyan University
Wednesday, April 11, 5-7pm
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools — from education to propaganda to terror — to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even with its monopoly on ideology and power, the Soviet Communist Party never succeeded in overcoming religion and creating an atheist society. Smolkin’s A Sacred Space is Never Empty presents the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. She argues that to understand the Soviet experiment, we must make sense of Soviet atheism. Through its engagements with religion, the Soviet leadership realized that removing religion from the “sacred spaces” of Soviet life was not enough. Then, in the final years of the Soviet experiment, Mikhail Gorbachev — in a stunning and unexpected reversal — abandoned atheism and reintroduced religion into Soviet public life... (more)
April 17 | A White Stone for Belfast: One Take on Religious Politics | Robert Orsi

Berkeley Public Theology Program

A White Stone for Belfast: One Take on Religious Politics
Robert Orsi, Professor of Religious Studies and History and Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies, Northwestern University
Tuesday, April 17, 5-7pm
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


This lecture asks what “religious” politics might be given the deconstruction of the concept of “religion” that has taken place over the past several decades, which has uncovered its implicit social, legal, and political agendas from early modernity forward. It takes as its starting point an experience Anglican sisters had in Belfast at the height of the troubles, when they attempted to carve out a space for political action from within their monastic vocation. It goes on to argue for a politics of plural ontologies... (more)
April 24 | Religion and Language: Symposium & Roundtable

Berkeley Public Forum on Religion

Religion and Language: Symposium & Roundtable
Tuesday, April 24, 4-7pm
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


The symposium focuses on the relationship between religion and language, from three perspectives. One perspective concerns the legitimacy and the limits of applying human language to the divine. How is it possible to speak about the divine? Would it be more advantageous to enlarge our understanding of “language” to embrace any code of meaning, such as rituals, music… (or even mathematics)? Another perspective concerns the status and definition of the “language” through which the divine reveals its existence. How can a language that is divine, and not human, be understood? What distinguishes divine revelation from other types of language (e.g. myth, poetry, song)? Finally, the topic of religion and language also covers the issue of inter-religious dialogue. How should we translate concepts of divinity from one religion (language) to another? What constitutes translatability in religion, and what the exploitation of an “other” language? What role does theology play in all these questions?... (more)
April 27 | Thinking About Science, Religion, and Language | All-Day Workshop

Berkeley Public Theology Program

Thinking about Science, Religion, and Language | All-Day Workshop
Friday, April 27
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley


This workshop gathers scholars from various social science and humanities disciplines whose work engages both the study of religion and secularism, and the study of modern science. These two fields of inquiry have contributed significantly to current academic understandings of modernity, yet are rarely put into explicit conversation. At the same time, questions of "science and religion" are regularly taken up by theologians and scientists who aim either to bring the subjects closer, or move them further apart. Our goal in this workshop is to move beyond the usual framework of the "science and religion" debate, facilitating a conversation that explores how certain concepts operate within, and travel between, these fields of inquiry –– including, but not limited to, fact, truth, objectivity, evidence, experience, knowledge, translation, nature, supernatural, (dis)enchantment, forms of life, body, agency, human/non-human, materiality, virtues, certainty, doubt, and skepticism.

Additional event details are forthcoming.


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