In this installment of the Rites and Responsibilities dialogue series, I met with the Boston University anthropologist and scholar of Islam Robert W. Hefner. A world renowned expert on Muslim culture, politics, and education in Southeast Asia and beyond, Hefner is the author or co-editor of more than a dozen books, including Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia and Shari‘a Politics: Law and Society in the Modern World.Read the rest of Change over time: A conversation with Robert W. Hefner.
David Kyuman Kim
David Kyuman Kim is an Editor-at-Large for The Immanent Frame. In 2009, Kim served as acting program director for SSRC projects on religion. In conjunction with the SSRC’s Luce-funded project on religion and international affairs, Kim is conducting Rites and Responsibilities, a dialogue forum on sovereignty, accountability, authority, and the public life of religion. In addition to his work with the SSRC, Kim is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Connecticut College, where he also served as the College's Inaugural Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity from 2005-2008. In 2009, he was the inaugural Visiting Professor of the Humanities at the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University. His book Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. He is co-editor, with Philip Gorski, John Torpey, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen of The Post-Secular in Question. With John L. Jackson, Jr., Kim is co-editing a special issue on race, religion, and democracy for The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. His current book project is Future Perfect, Past Conditional: the Work of Memory. Read David Kyuman Kim's contributions to Reflections on summer reading and Religion and the midterm elections.
Posts by David Kyuman Kim:
In May of 2010, I sat down for a conversation with the legendary human rights advocate Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group. Jones and I had just come out of an intense two day workshop at the SSRC on religion, peacebuilding, and development in Mindanao, organized in conjunction with the SSRC’s project on religion and international affairs. Participants in the workshop included scholars and peacebuilders from the United States, Mindanao, Japan, and Indonesia.Read the rest of Power and resources: A conversation with Sidney Jones.
Author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, The Limits of Power: the End of American Exceptionalism, and, most recently, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, Andrew Bacevich is a celebrated veteran as well as a fierce and indefatigable critic of American militarism and imperial policies. A self-described “Catholic conservative” and an admirer of Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King, Jr., Bacevich is a social critic of note as much for his independence of thought as for his insistence on grounding his public remarks with a clear sense of moral principles and purpose.Read the rest of A strong moral argument: A conversation with Andrew Bacevich.
At a March 2010 conference, “Gendering the Divide: Conflicts at the Border of Religion and the Secular” (sponsored by Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict), I had the great fortune to speak on a panel with groundbreaking cultural historian and gender theorist Joan Wallach Scott, the Harold F. Linder Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. The conference was the fourth and final meeting of ASU’s Ford Foundation-funded project on “Public Religion, the Secular, and Democracy.” In 2010-2011, Scott will lead the year-long seminar “Secularism” at the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Social Science. Scott is the author of numerous influential essays and books, including, most recently, the timely and highly praised The Politics of the Veil. At the conclusion of the ASU conference, Scott and I met for the following wide-ranging conversation . . .
I had the opportunity to sit for a conversation with the Swiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan at the end of the 2009 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Montreal. Ramadan is a public intellectual who has been a figure of both much praise and much condemnation, occasioned by controversial statements and positions that have cast him alternately as courageous and dangerous. As an activist, Ramadan continues to call for European Muslims to resist the encumbrances of minority status and to strive to play a central role in European public life as engaged and active citizens. Through his writings and lectures, he speaks both with and on behalf of Muslims in the West, as well as for Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active in the academy and in various grassroots engagements, lecturing extensively on social justice and the necessity of inter-cultural dialogue. Ramadan describes his work as at once protecting “Muslim identity and religious practice” and encouraging the European Muslim “to recognize the Western constitutional structure, to become involved as a citizen at the social level and to live with true loyalty to the country to which one belongs.”Read the rest of It’s all about reconciliation: A conversation with Tariq Ramadan.
There is a question that has been haunting me about our times and our collective condition, specifically in regard to American imperial decline: namely, how do we effectively mourn the exhaustion of the myth of American exceptionalism? My short answer is that our age of catastrophes—the catastrophic being one of the primary markers of the exhaustion of the myth of American exceptionalism—is in need of poetic responses and, in particular, what William James might call a poetic temperament.Read the rest of All used up.
It is my pleasure to inaugurate Rites and Responsibilities, a new dialogue series for The Immanent Frame and the Social Science Research Council, with a conversation with the renowned anthropologist and critical theorist Jean Comaroff of the University of Chicago. Rites and Responsibilities is published in conjunction with the SSRC’s Project on Religion and International Affairs, with the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. Throughout the series, we will be talking to scholars, religious leaders, and other public figures about the public life of religion in an age of globalization, especially in regard to questions of sovereignty, accountability, and authority.Read the rest of God was on everybody’s side: A conversation with Jean Comaroff.
Four of the world’s leading public intellectuals came together yesterday in the historic Great Hall at Cooper Union to discuss “Rethinking Secularism.” In an electrifying symposium convened by the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU, the Social Science Research Council and the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West gave powerful accounts of religion in the public sphere. The Immanent Frame invites you to respond to the symposium presentations by submitting comments in the space below. UPDATE: Listen to audio of the event here.Read the rest of Open thread: The power of religion in the public sphere.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
Read the rest of College majors and religiosity.
Students majoring in the social sciences and humanities tend to become less religious, while those majoring in education and business become more religious, according to a paper published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The paper, “Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity,” examines how students’ religious behavior affects their choice of major, and vice versa.
Consider these words from the President’s Inaugural Address:
Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
These are heady aspirations, and perhaps the kind of message a nation in crisis and in transition needs to hear. It would appear that this is a moment that is paradoxically imbued with a sense of clarity and ambiguity. And so it is that we at The Immanent Frame have chosen to honor and interrogate this moment—generated by the event of Obama’s presidency (and its corollaries “the Obama generation” and “the Obama era”)—by launching a new series: “These things are old.”Read the rest of “These things are old”: A new discussion series at
The Immanent Frame.