How are the historical experiences of the Black and Jewish communities at once distinct and interconnected? Should we see efforts to combat racism and antisemitism as separate struggles? What are African Americans’ and Jews’ responsibilities to one another in America’s current racial reckoning? In this conversation, Eric K. Ward, a leading expert on the relationship between racism, antisemitism, and authoritarian movements; and Michael Rothberg, an eminent scholar of historical exclusion and its legacies, will tackle these questions and other pressing matters in contemporary Black-Jewish relations. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Tina Sacks of the School of Social Welfare.
This event is sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, the Department of African-American Studies, the Othering and Belonging Institute, Berkeley Hillel, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Graduate Theological Union, and the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.
Terence Keel, Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies and Institute for Society and Genetics, UCLA, and Osagie K. Obasogie, Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
While the recent January 6th insurrection at the Capitol can be seen as a culmination of a longer history of racialized violence and white nationalism in the United States, the failure to unilaterally condemn it at the top levels of government exposes a critical turning point in the state of U.S. politics and society today. Moreover, in the ensuing examinations of the event, there has yet to be an account for the role of race and religion in giving coherence to the broader political claims and grievances propelling the insurrection. For this event in the Berkeley Forum on Religion and Pandemic series, we bring together Prof. Osagie K. Obasogie (UC Berkeley, Joint Medical Program & School of Public Health) and Prof. Terence Keel (UCLA, African American Studies & Institute for Society and Genetics) to discuss the relationship between Christianity, white nationalism, and white supremacy that fuels the discourse during these unprecedented times. How has religion shaped modern racial thinking, and how does it manifest in today’s world? In a moment of multiple, overlapping pandemics — COVID-19, racialized police violence, white nationalism — how does whiteness and religion sustain regressive, anti-science, and racist politics that create pandemic synergies toxic to democracy and deadly for communities of color?
Terence Keel is an Associate Professor with a split appointment in the Department of African American Studies, and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. He is also the Founding Director of the Lab for Biocritical Studies and currently serves as Associate Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. Keel has written extensively about race, religion, law, and modern science. His widely acclaimed first book, Divine Variations explains how religion helped produce scientific racism. Keel argues that modern biology has undergone an uneven process of secularization, leaving contemporary scientific theories of race haunted by a religious past that cannot be fully transcended.
Keel is currently writing a second book on the American medical examiner system that details how forensic pathology, law enforcement, and autopsy science suffer from a climate of social and ethical nihilism that produce practices of state violence and biomedical racism that target communities of color and erase police accountability for death while under custody. Keel is also currently a co-editor of the forthcoming book Critical Approaches to Science and Religion, with Myrna Perez-Sheldon and Ahmed Ragab. Bringing together scholars from the humanities, law, biology, and the social sciences, this book features a new generation of scholars offering insights into the changing relations between science, religion, critical race theory and social justice. Keel has a B.A. in Theology from Xavier University of Louisiana, a M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is currently a Research Fellow at the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy for his collaborative work on the American medical examiner system.
Osagie K. Obasogie is the Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health. Obasogie’s scholarly interests include Constitutional law, policing and police use of force, sociology of law, bioethics, race and inequality in law and medicine, and reproductive and genetic technologies. His writings have spanned both academic and public audiences, with journal articles in venues such as Cornell Law Review, California Law Review (forthcoming), Law & Society Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Stanford Technology Law Review, and the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics along with commentaries in outlets including The New York Times, TheWashington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and New Scientist. His first book, Blinded By Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind (Stanford University Press) was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize by the Law and Society Association. His second book, Beyond Bioethics: Toward a New Biopolitics (co-edited with Marcy Darnovsky, University of California Press) is an edited volume that examines the past, present, and future of bioethics. Obasogie received his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science (with distinction in both majors) from Yale University, his J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a fellow with the National Science Foundation.
As part of the Berkeley Democracy and Public Theology Program BCSR’s Public Forum on Religion and Pandemic brings together scholars and the public to address the current pandemic and its commensurate crises, exploring the intersection between religion and timely topics such as the environment, public health, elections and democracy, religious freedom, and nationalism in order to foster dialogue and reflection.
Presented by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion with generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation.
The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to announce that Dr. Karen Barkey, Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, will be presenting the 2021 Surjit Singh Lecture on April 5, 2021 at 12 pm PT.
Her lecture will be entitled “Navigating Topographies of Belonging and Difference: Contemporary Shared Sacred Sites in the Mediterranean.”
“In light of the predominant narratives of religious hatreds, conflict, and the decline of religious pluralism throughout the world, the existence of shared sacred sites that bring different religions together act as prescient reminders of the possibilities presented by tolerance,” Dr. Barkey said. “This lecture focuses on shared sacred sites, places that are holy for members of multiple religious groups, and how the participants in these sites mediate, negotiate, and come to accept difference. Drawing upon three summers of ethnographic research, I will examine the stories people tell about belonging to a space, and the stories of sharing that become embedded within the local culture.”
Started in 1991, the annual Surjit Singh Lecture in Comparative Religious Thought and Culture builds upon the GTU’s tradition of ecumenical theological education and dedication to interreligious dialogue and understanding. Each year, the endowed lectureship brings to the GTU a distinguished scholar to address religion and culture from a cross-cultural perspective.
Dr. Barkey is the director of the Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion, located at Social Science Matrix and the co-director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. She is also one of the curators of the traveling Shared Sacred Sites exhibition. Her most recent work relates to issues of religious diversity and coexistence, with particular research on the question of shared sacred sites.
For more information, please visit the Graduate Theological Union’s event webpage here.
The Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion is pleased to work in conjunction with Reset Dialogues on Civilizations to host the conference“Toleration in Comparative Perspective: Concepts, Practices, Documents” from January 19-23, 2021, over Zoom. The conference gathers scholars to talk about the ways in which religious toleration has been articulated and practiced in places and periods outside of modern “Western” history. Each day will feature a thematic panel — on spaces, philosophy, law, political theory and textual interpretation — that brings together speakers from across fields and disciplines. The conference will begin with a keynote address by Professor Denis Lacorne, of Sciences Po.
The conference is open to the public, and we encourage anyone who is interested to register through thislink.
Abstract Children who live in pluralistic societies often encounter members of other religious and secular groups who hold radically different beliefs and norms. Under these circumstances, developing religious tolerance––respecting that each group has its own beliefs and norms––is both challenging and crucial. When individuals in pluralistic societies fail to develop religious tolerance, the consequences can be dire. For example, in India, Muslims have recently been attacked because they were suspected of violating the Hindu prohibition against killing cows. Promoting peaceful co-existence among groups thus requires understanding how people construe and tolerate differences in religious norms and beliefs. In this talk, I will present a recent line of work on the development of religious tolerance among Hindu and Muslim children in Gujarat, India—a site of recent violent Hindu-Muslim conflict. These studies explore how Hindu and Muslim children and adults conceptualize norms from their own religion, as well as norms from the other religion. For example, we probe beliefs about to whom religious norms apply, whether violations of these norms should be punished, who has the authority to change religious norms, and how the contexts in which norm violations take place affect evaluations. Our findings suggest that although adult’s and children’s application of religious norms across groups and contexts often allows for peaceful coexistence, it might also lead to conflict.
About the Speaker Mahesh Srinivasan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Cognitive Science Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. His research explores how representations of language and concepts arise and interact in human development and across cultures. Specific interests include flexible and pragmatic uses of language (e.g., polysemy, metaphor, implicature), the representation of abstract concepts (e.g., time, number), linguistic relativity, and social cognitive development in different cultural contexts.
Prof. Srinivasan received a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University in 2011, and received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University in 2005.
Register hereto receive a personalized Zoom link to join the webinar.
Sara Forsdyke (University of Michigan) and Josiah Ober (Stanford University), Moderated by Emily Mackil (UC Berkeley, Department of History and Chair, Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archeology) and Duncan MacRae (UC Berkeley Department of Classics)
Hagia Sophia, which means “divine wisdom” in Greek, has been subjected to many worldly yearnings of power and symbolism. There is no doubt that altering the status of the great church has always meant domination through control of its symbolism. President Erdogan frequently uses the Ottoman conquest and the right of the sword as part of his symbolic political vocabulary. However, there is a world of difference between the Ottoman conquest and transformation of the Church and Erdogan’s reversal of Ataturk’s decision.
Text editing and video production: Karen Barkey, Rachel Park Video editing: Marco Lucidi
You can also find the video on the Reset DOC website here.
Karen Barkey, current Director of the Shared Sacred Sites project, wrote a piece on “The Road Ahead for US Democracy” for ResetDoc in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the wave of protests against racism and police violence across the country.
“The demonstrations, the return of the people of all racial, ethnic, gender, age and socio-economic categories to the public square is encouraging. We are experiencing a renewed and exhilarating demand for change….
This new coalition of the street cannot be, must not be, a passing, fleeting moment in our American Spring. It must be permanent.”