Charles Gelman

Charles Gelman is a contributing editor of The Immanent Frame and an associate editor of Frequencies. A former program assistant at the Social Science Research Council, he is currently a doctoral student in comparative literature at New York University. He earned his B.A. from the Gallatin School, NYU, in 2009.

Posts by Charles Gelman:

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Rajmohan Gandhi on faith, reconciliation, and peace

In conversation with Katherine Marshall, Rajmohan Gandhi, President of Initiatives of Change International (formerly Moral Rearmament) and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, discusses his life’s work of fostering peace and reconciliation.

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

New York Times profiles Krista Tippett

In today’s New York Times, Samuel G. Freedman warmly profiles Krista Tippett and her acclaimed weekly broadcast “Speaking of Faith.”

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Plans for Muslim cultural center spark outlash

At Talking Points Memo, Zachary Roth runs down some of the screeds that have flared up lately over plans to construct a Muslim cultural center in the environs of the World Trade Center site.

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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Where does Europe end and Islam begin?

In an interview with Eren Güvercin, Olivier Roy tries to clear up some of the misconceptions that plague and exacerbate debates over the cultural commensurability of Islam and contemporary Europe.

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Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Tariq Ramadan on South Park and censorship

Tariq Ramadan speaks with On Faith’s Sally Quinn about the meaning(s) of jihad and why Comedy Central was wrong to censor a recent episode of South Park for fear of potential backlash from Muslims.

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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Losing faith in peace

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, Aaron David Miller, a long-time State Department official and advisor to six secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations, details his apostasy from the “false religion of mideast peace.” Stephen Walt, in turn, offers a critical response.

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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Made in America

Claude S. Fischer discusses his latest book, Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character, at Rorotoko.

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Monday, April 26th, 2010

Symposium: The Traffic in Policy

This Friday, April 30, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University will hold a day-long symposium entitled “The Traffic in Policy: Religion, Sexuality, and the State.” Complete details are available here.

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Lecture: Michael Warner on “Sex and Secularity” at NYU

On Thursday evening, Michael Warner will give the annual LeBoff Lecture at New York University, for which he will draw on his ongoing work on secularism in antebellum America. The lecture, entitled “Sex and Secularity,” will be hosted by NYU’s Council for Media and Culture. Details are available here.

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Talk: architecture, technology, and “mediated congregation”

Tomorrow at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge, Erica Robles will present “The Crystal Cathedral Megachurch: Architecting the Rise of Mediated Congregation.” The talk, which runs from 12-2pm, will focus on the confluence of architectural postmodernism and emergent media technologies in the reconfiguration of sacred space under the glittering arches of the American megachurch.

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Friday, April 16th, 2010

Sovereignty and sacrifice in American politics

In The Utopian, Yale Law professor Paul W. Kahn argues that the discourse and imaginary of secular political theory fail to grasp the deep and abiding theological—specifically, sacrificial—dimensions of U.S. politics and the American political imagination.

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Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Case studies in religion and democracy

In The New York Times, Peter Beinart reviews Ian Buruma’s Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents.

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Thursday, April 8th, 2010

“The Death and Life of the Black Church”

At, Eddie Glaude, Jr. and Josef Sorett discuss what it means to be black and Christian in the present, “post-soul” moment.

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Commentary: Obama distorts meaning of Passover

Jennifer Rubin accuses Barack Obama of diluting and distorting the message of Passover.

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

“The Year of the Abusive Priest”

Amid the maelstrom of reportage surrounding the Vatican’s meiotic response to recent revelations of further sexual abuses in various arms of the Church, Anthea Butler offers a sharp reproof of Pope Benedict’s evasion of the gravity of the issue and its implications for the future of the See.

Read the rest of “The Year of the Abusive Priest”.
Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Big day at AIPAC

AIPAC, the powerful D.C.-based pro-Israel lobby, is currently hosting its annual policy conference, attended by over 7,500, according to its website. Secretary of State Clinton addressed the conference this morning, and reports indicate that her speech showed little sign of the Obama administration stepping back its criticisms of continued Israeli settlement expansion.

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Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

“A Carefully Crafted F**k You”

At Guernica, Nathan Schneider interviews Judith Butler.

Read the rest of “A Carefully Crafted F**k You”.
Monday, March 15th, 2010

Texas Board of Ed. ratifies new textbook standards

Last Friday, the Texas Board of Education ratified—with a seven-vote margin—a series of controversial new textbook standards, reports TPM’s Justin Elliot.

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Focus on the Family preparing to shift gears?

Since stepping down as chairman of Focus on the Family last February, James Dobson’s relationship with the advocacy group and parachurch organization that he founded in 1977 has become increasingly tenuous. Now, reports Talking Points Memo’s Justin Elliot, it appears that Dobson’s growing ostracization suggests a more significant shift in Focus on the Family’s politics.

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Lebanese to march for secularism

In Lebanon, “a small group of non-partisan civic-minded citizens called Laïque (Secular) Pride” is organizing a March for Secularism, to take place on April 25 in Beirut, “in support of secularism, and to bring attention to the letter and spirit of the Lebanese Constitution,” reports Alexandre Medawar for Common Ground News Service. In so doing, he draws out some of the complexities that unsettle any attempt to treat Lebanon decisively as either a secular or a multi-confessional republic.

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

A new twist in the Texas textbook case

Justin Elliot of Talking Points Memo reports that Don McLeroy, the “top conservative activist on the powerful Texas Board of Education, who rejects evolution and has pushed for a revisionist right-wing U.S. history curriculum,” has gotten the boot.

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Christian militants wreak havoc on sex lives of Texans

At Think Progress, Lee Fang reports on the recent actions of Repent Amarillo, an evangelical militia in northern Texas.

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Prominent Pakistani cleric condemns political violence

John Esposito reports at On Faith that Muhammad Tahir Qadri, an influential Pakistani cleric, has “issued a 600-page fatwa, described as an ‘absolute’ condemnation of terrorism without ‘any excuses or pretexts.’ He declared that terrorists and suicide bombers were unbelievers and that ‘Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts.'”

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Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Judith Butler on Judaism, Israel, and anti-occupation politics

In Haaretz, Judith Butler gives a long and personal interview to American-Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni.

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Friday, February 26th, 2010

Conference: One Year After Cairo

On April 28, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy will hold its eleventh annual conference, “U.S. Relations with the Muslim World: One Year After Cairo.” Participants include leading scholars, policy analysts, and public intellectuals, including Tariq Ramadan, Brian Katulis, and Reza Aslan. In addition, there will be a concluding keynote address by Senator John Kerry.

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Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Church attendance concentrated in South, Utah

Yesterday, Gallup released its 2009 numbers on church attendance (based on more than 350,000 interviews), breaking down the results by state. The distribution is not entirely surprising.

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Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Awe and wonder

At Trans/Missions, Diane Winston comments on an unusual and interesting new study, which finds that the most popular New York Times pieces tend to be “articles that elicit an emotional sense of awe.”

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Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Bernard-Henri Lévy cites fake philosopher

Bernard-Henri Lévy cites a fabulated philosopher in his latest book De la guerre en philosophie, reports The Irish Times.

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Colin Dayan: “‘Civilizing’ Haiti”

In the Boston Review, Colin Dayan argues that woefully little has changed since the colonial era with respect to Western perceptions of Haiti as a cretin backwater. Moreover, the institutionalized graft that the colonialist ideology underwrites remains in full effect.

Read the rest of Colin Dayan: “‘Civilizing’ Haiti”.
Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Reporting on faith in the armed forces

In an incisive piece over at Trans/Missions, Meghan McCarty wades into a tangle of facts and frames concerning the recent push—perhaps more cosmetic than ingenuous—for religious tolerance in the US armed forces

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Friday, February 5th, 2010

John Esposito speaks on The Future of Islam

Leading scholar of Islam John L. Esposito spoke recently at the Carnegie Council in New York City, addressing both the perception of Islam in the West and the prospects for reform within Islamic societies, themes which he takes up in his latest book, The Future of Islam.

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Friday, January 29th, 2010

How the Bible Belt came to be

At Science and Religion Today, historian Randall Stephens attempts to explain the distinct and enduring religiosity of the American south.

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Derrida and religion

On March 26-27 Harvard University will host “Derrida and Religion,” an interdisciplinary conference addressing Derrida’s various engagements with the religious, through such themes as sacrifice, naming, radical alterity, and the messianic.

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Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Elizabeth McAlister on hope and tragedy in Haiti

Elizabeth McAlister is an Associate Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University and a member of the SSRC’s working group on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life. She is also a leading scholar of Afro-Carribean religions and the author of Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora (2002). Following the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, Professor McAlister’s words have appeared in numerous publications and she has been interviewed, as well, on a variety of radio programs.

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Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Taking the high road in Haiti

Hearkening back to the cataclysmic Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and its reverberations in Euro-American culture, Paula Cooey reviews some of the history of theological and philosophical reactions to earthly catastrophe and human suffering—most notably, Voltaire’s Candide—and appeals for a response to the current crisis in Haiti that is less metaphysical and more altruistic.

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Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Khomeini’s long shadow

On Tuesday evening at the New York Public Library, Professor Saïd Amir Arjomand held forth before a sizable and attentive audience on the narrative history and socio-political structures of post-revolutionary Iran. Arjomand is the author of, most recently, After Khomeini: Iran Under His Successors, in which he aspires to provide not only a study of the “long shadow” cast by Khomeini’s legacy over Iranian politics—a shadow, he argues, that has begun to lift only this year, three decades after the Revolution—but, in addition, a social-theoretical framework for the analysis of revolutionary and post-revolutionary politics in the Iranian context.

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Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The spaces of American civil religion

Reviewing Kirk Savage’s Monument Wars: Washington D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape for Religion Dispatches, Michael A. Elliot reflects on the profound changes undergone by the National Mall in the last two centuries.

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Friday, January 8th, 2010

The history of Tony Judt

In a moving portrait of the eminent historian, Evan R. Goldstein traces the trajectory of Tony Judt’s career from his adolescent Zionism to the more recent controversies surrounding his advocacy of a bi-national state in Israel-Palestine and forthright criticism of Israeli policy—and, of course, the decades of original and invaluable political and intellectual history in between.

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age

Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age will be published this spring by Harvard University Press. Edited by Michael Warner, Jonathan VanAntwerpen, and Craig Calhoun, this volume emerged out of a 2008 conference organized by the SSRC and Yale University.

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Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

“Mr. Potato-head spirituality”

At Trans/Missions, Diane Winston bemoans the latest “display of know-nothingism” with respect to religion and spirituality in an American newspaper.

Read the rest of “Mr. Potato-head spirituality”.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Sacred disorder

At the visually striking Triple Canopy, Nathan Schneider discourses on the devolution of theology into—and, some might say, its eventual eclipse by—a pure science or order, or “planning.”

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Monday, January 4th, 2010

“Religious-Secular Distinctions”

On January 14-16 the British Academy will host “Religious-Secular Distinctions,” a conference intended take up, from an interdisciplinary set of perspectives, the question, “How and why do people—politicians, academics, managers, teachers, journalists, clergy, lawyers—distinguish between religious’ and ‘non-religious’ or ‘secular’?”

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Sunday, December 27th, 2009

The evolutionary theory of religion

In today’s New York Times, Judith Shulevitz reviews The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures by Nicholas Wade.

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Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Religion journalism after Steinfels

Citing two recent examples of unusually attentive and nuanced reporting on religion, Nick Street ponders the future of the field and what the absence of Peter Steinfels might mean for it.

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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Dialectic of Enlightenment, today and tomorrow

Looking back at Roger Forster’s 2001 Telos essay “Dialectic of Enlightenment as Genealogy Critique,” Andrew Walker advocates for the “continued relevance” of Adorno and Horkheimer’s seminal text.

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Monday, December 21st, 2009

Thomas Friedman taken to task

At the Huffington Post John O. Voll and John Esposito rebut in no uncertain terms Thomas L. Friedman’s most recent New York Times op-ed, which misleadingly claimed broad Muslim support for acts of political violence.

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Thursday, December 17th, 2009

An Islamic civil war?

In his op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times, Thomas Friedman made a number of astute remarks about the current state of international jihadism and the construction, in American public discourse, of the Muslim qua object. Nevertheless, he still managed to throw good sense to the wind, suggesting that what’s really needed is an intra-Islamic civil war.

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Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Religion as revolution

McGill University and the Centre for Research on Religion will be holding a conference specifically for graduate students on March 26-27, 2010, entitled Sites of Transformation: New Perspectives on Religion as Revolution.

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Obama, Christian realism, and Just War theory

A round-up of some of the recent commentary on President Obama and the ethics of war, following the invocation of Just War theory during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Schmitt on Shakespeare

At TELOSscope , Nicole Burgoyne interviews David Pan, translator of the first English edition of Carl Schmitt’s 1956 foray into literary theory, Hamlet or Hecuba: The Intrusion of Time into the Play.

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