In a special session at the meetings of the American Academy of Religion on November 20, 2011, Robert Bellah discussed his new book, Religion in Human Evolution, with members of a distinguished panel.… Why was this event so special? It was not just the distinction of the members of the panel themselves, beginning with Bellah, arguably the country’s best known sociologist of religion and author of such seminal essays as “Civil Religion in America” and “Religious Evolution,” and groundbreaking books, including Habits of the Heart and Tokugawa Religion. Rather, the significance of the event lay in its recognition of the importance of the book’s project, a breathtaking survey of the whole sweep of the history of religiosity, which is nothing less than the history of humankind.Read the rest of A travelogue of ideas.
Mark Juergensmeyer is director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, professor of sociology, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State (University of California Press 2008) and the widely-read Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (University of California Press, revised edition 2003). Juergensmeyer is co-editor of Rethinking Secularism, an SSRC volume published by Oxford University Press.
Posts by Mark Juergensmeyer:
It has been a season of earthquakes, and the political ones in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Middle East may have shifted the moral high ground within Islamic opposition movements. Put simply, Tahrir Square may have trumped jihad.Read the rest of Have the jihadis lost the moral high ground to the rebels?.
Last September, I sat down at UC-Berkeley with the eminent sociologist of religion, Robert Bellah, for a discussion about religious evolution, the ideas of religion and secularism, the rise of extreme positions associated with both of those terms, and the future of universalistic faiths in an emerging global civil society. The following is an excerpt from our discussion, a full transcript of which is available here (PDF).Read the rest of Rethinking secularism and religion in the global age.
Abdullahi An-Na’im is a man with a mission. As the expatriate Sudanese law professor told The New Yorker writer George Packer in a recent article, his new book on Islam and the Secular State was written as “a work of advocacy more than of scholarship.” But as an advocate to whom? [...]Read the rest of A man with a mission.
The first time I met Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, many years ago, I bought a new suit for the occasion. He was Prime Minister of Pakistan at the time and I was representing Berkeley in an attempt to launch a new Urdu language program for American students to be based in Lahore. We needed the government’s approval, and that meant a nod from Bhutto. Being a young Californian, I was not used to wearing suits, but Bhutto was Bhutto, the very model of urbane sophistication, and I wanted to impress him. [...]Read the rest of The death of secular democracy in Pakistan?.