Past Events

  • Islam, Religious Economy, and Globalization, Oct. 27-28, 2016

Professor Nile Green, UCLA HistoryDr. Nile Green, UCLA, History

This lecture traces how interactions between Christian missionaries and Muslim religious entrepreneurs led to the foundation of Muslim evangelical organizations. Drawing on case studies from India, the United States, and Japan between the early 19th and mid-20th century, the lecture uses the model of religious economy to analyze the innovative and adaptive methods by which Muslim religious entrepreneurs formed new organizations of ultimately global reach. Focusing on print technology and missionary organization, it shows how these new Muslim ‘religious firms’ were new hybrid organizations that represent typical products of the Islamic experience of globalization.

Public Lecture:  “The Making of Muslim Evangelism: Islam in the Religious Marketplace from America to Japan”
Thursday Oct. 27 5:30 pm, MacLaurin D110

Seminar:  “Religious Economy and Global History”
Friday Oct. 28 10:30 am, Sedgwick C168

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Cities, Utopias, and Theosophy

Dr. Smriti Srinivas, UC-Davis, Anthropology

Dr. Smriti Srinivas, UC-Davis, AnthropologyThis lecture explores how gardens or urban greens have been imagined and produced in cities. I focus, in particular, on the Theosophical Society in its international headquarters in Madras (Chennai) in south India, and the ways in which it nurtured a specific context for South Asian garden design. Theosophy—a unique example of religious transculturalism that bridged South Asia, Europe, and North America—has received detailed attention: on the one hand, its articulation of religion with ideas of race, nation, or gender bore a complex relationship to imperial legacies; on the other hand, its foregrounding of spiritualist cosmologies inspired critiques of them.  In my talk, I turn to an occluded aspect of Theosophy’s history: its role in spatial production in South Asia and what may be thought of as the utopian dimensions of green spaces.

Public Lecture: “The Garden and the City: Urban Designs, Theosophy and South Asia”
Thursday Nov. 17, 7:30 pm, Legacy Art Gallery

Seminar: “Cities of the Past, Cities of the Present, and the City as Utopia”
Friday Nov. 18, 10:30 am, Sedgwick C168

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Human Rights, Religion, Globalization

Dr. Sam Moyn, Harvard Law School

Dr. Sam Moyn, Harvard, LawMost people today associate human rights with the secular progressive cause. This talk looks at how, in European history in the middle of the twentieth century, the Christian right made a critical contribution. Based on a new book of the same name, the talk argues that human rights were valuable as the European right moved beyond authoritarian reaction as World War II was won by the Allies, and the threat of a secular socialist left arose in postwar party politics. Human rights rhetoric emerged from the top of ecclesiastical hierarchies, and new kinds of center right Christian political parties rose championing ideas like human dignity and human rights.

Public Lecture: “Christian Human Rights”
Thursday Jan. 26, 7:30 pm, David Turpin A102

Seminar: “Human Rights and History”
Friday Jan. 27, 10:30 am, Law Library, Room 265

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Islam, France, and Secularism

Dr. Mayanthi Fernando, UC-Santa Cruz, Anthropology

Dr. Mayanthi Fernando, UC-Santa Cruz, AnthropologyAbstract forthcoming.

Public Lecture: “Unpredictable Futures: Islam, Citizenship, and Political Possibility in France”
Thursday Feb. 9, 5:30 pm, MacLaurin D110

Seminar: “Cities of the Past, Cities of the Present, and the City as Utopia”
Friday Feb. 10, 10:30 am, Sedgwick C168

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Islam, Judaism, and Orientalism

Dr. Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth, Jewish Studies

Dr. Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth, Jewish Studies“It was Islam that saved the Jewish people!” So declared the distinguished medievalist S.D. Goitein in a 1958 lecture to British Jews. His declaration culminated a long century of Jewish scholarship on Islam that not only proclaimed theological affinities between the two religions, but viewed Islam as Judaism’s protector as well. Starting with the highly acclaimed book of Abraham Geiger, Was hat Muhammad aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?, published in 1833, which launched modern scholarship on Islamic origins, Jewish scholars in Europe became fascinated with the uncanny appearance of rabbinic texts in the Qur’an. From the 1830s to the 1930s, Jews published significant scholarship on Islam, demonstrating the parallels between Judaism and Islam. My paper will delineate the stages of Jewish scholarship and examine the role of that scholarship within the larger context of nineteenth century constructions of “religion,” its reflection of a wider culture of European imperialism, and its adoption and transformation of philological methods drawn from New Testament scholarship.

Public Lecture: “History of Jewish Scholarship on Islam: The Story of a Fascination”
Thursday Mar. 23, 4:30 pm, MacLaurin D110

Seminar: “Judaism, Orientalism, and Empire”
Friday Mar. 24, 10:30 am, Sedgwick C168

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