Posts Tagged ‘sacred’

June 23rd, 2017

Sacrality, secularity, and contested indigeneity

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Indigenous peoples articulate their indigeneity within the political and legal language of secularism, even as it renders certain claims to indigeneity illegible. In this short essay, J. Kehaulani Kauanui examines the close linkages between secularism, settler colonialism, and Protestant Christianity in three interconnected issues in the United States context: sacred sites, temporality, and divine right.

This is the fourth essay in the series on Indigineity and secularity.

June 1st, 2017

Is the “native” secular?

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Stand With Standing Rock Nov 11-15 2016 | Image via Flickr user Leslie PetersonHeadlines scream of burgeoning populism around the world, but the shift in politics today could also be described as a return of nativism, and perhaps even of a certain indigeneity. Politicians speak of a people at home in a land, rooted in that land. They evoke the threats posed by those perceived to lack such roots: immigrants, racial minorities, and global elites.

There is a romance to the land, from rural farms and mines, to the provincial village, to the post-industrial city—sites  of lost dreams, of vanishing greatness. The specifics of place are joined together under the heading of “nation,” but nation alone is cold and abstract; it must be joined with the warmth of nativeness—indigeneity—to capture the imagination. Of course there are agents involved: politicians conjuring the images and feelings of nativeness, and the powers that be—whiteness, patriarchy, neoliberalism—whom those politicians serve, wittingly or unwittingly.

March 30th, 2016

The sacred and the social

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Carlyle Lectures PosterIn these Carlyle Lectures, given at the University of Oxford in January and February 2016, I suggested that between 1650 and 1800 sacred history offered a fertile resource to political philosophers interested in exploring the concepts of “society” and “sociability.” The lectures thus brought together two stories which early modern intellectual historians have tended to keep separate. One is the study of sacred history, in particular of its foundation text, the Bible, which entered a new phase in the Renaissance, and reached a peak of intensity and originality in the seventeenth century. Over this period a succession of scholars from Erasmus to Richard Simon transformed understanding of both the text and the context of the Bible by study of its composition and authorship, and of its chronologies and historical and geographical content. The excitement of that early modern scholarship has recently been captured by Anthony Grafton and a growing number of younger historians, including Scott Mandelbrote and Dmitri Levitin. In turn, their work has enabled me to appreciate what the political philosophers who are my subjects saw in sacred history.

March 10th, 2016

Robert P. Benedict Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy

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University of Cambridge historian John Robertson will be delivering this year’s Robert P. Benedict Lectures on the History of Political Thought at Boston College entitled, The Sacred and the Social: 1650-1790.

September 10th, 2014

Constructing the Jewish public space: Community, identity, and collaboration

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The construction of space constitutes one of the primary ways through which religions create templates for behavior. As they construct their physical spaces, religions create models of the ideal, places within which adherents can visualize and enact religious principles in a concrete way. Anthropologists have often discussed this process in terms of sacred space—edifices such as temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques can be seen as spatial embodiments of religious ideas, allowing worshipers to physically act out what are ordinarily abstract notions. Communal religions often extend this to the space of daily living, constructing living spaces, workplaces, and communal spaces that mimic those of the ideal world, allowing members to approximate in this dimension the virtues that will be fully realized in the world to come. Anthropologists have written extensively about this process, examining the construction of space in religious organizations ranging from churches to monasteries to ethnoreligious enclaves.

October 29th, 2011

Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings: closing ceremony and panel discussion

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On November 5, 2011, there will be a closing ceremony for the Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings exhibition curated by Matilde Cassani, hosted by Storefront for Art and Architecture. The event will feature a panel discussion with Courtney Bender, Columbia University, Department of Religion; Maria Gonzales Pendas, GSAPP Columbia University; Patricia Bellucci, Fordham Center on Religion and Culture; along with representatives from religious communities and individuals who submitted to the project’s open call.