Welcome to the Committee for the Study of Religion

The Committee for the Study of Religion exists to promote interdisciplinary research on religion and religions. It develops various historical and comparative research projects that address religion and the sacred, and their complex and diverse manifestations in modern societies. In addition to the ‘world religions’, our concerns extend to modern spirituality and new religions. The Committee encourages research into the globalization of religion and global religions. Questions surrounding secularism, secularization and post-secular society are also considered by the Committee.

Events and Announcements

LAND AND CATASTROPHE

May 03, 2013
11:00 am - 5:30 pm
Room 9206/9207

While the word ‘apocalypse’ points to the idea of a revelation (of Truth) leading to a new dispensation, and the idea of catastrophe in Greek drama referred to the turning point in the unfolding of a drama, the modern secular meaning of catastrophe is associated with the notion of total disaster from which no revelation is necessarily disclosed and from which no escape is envisioned. The colonization of North America involved a violent conflict with Native Americans resulting in both physical and cultural destruction. Our symposium will explore catastrophe in Native American history within the framework of land, dispossession, and imagination. [read more»]

Moshe Sluhovsky: Reading Karl Rahner and Michel Foucault Reading Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises

April 02, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

Both the German Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner and the French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that sixteenth- and seventeenth-century religious exercises marked the beginning of (a) modernity. Both discussed this modernity using terms such as subjectivity, subjection, and subjectivation. Rahner explicitly and Foucault implicitly also focused on the religious practice of spiritual exercises as a major mechanism of self-formation. The talk [read more»]

Joanna Tice: Feeling God: The Political Thought of 21st Century Evangelicalism

March 26, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

What is the political thought of the evangelical movement in the early 21st century? Political scientists have written about evangelical influences on Christian right policy in the late 20th century, but how has the movement shifted in the new millennium? This study focuses on a revival that began among evangelicals in the late 1990’s and continues today. This revival seeks [read more»]

Richard Cimino: Schisms, Spirituality and Rituals in American Atheism

March 19, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

Although a large segment of secularists eschew the need for rituals, claiming that they have left such rudiments of religion behind, this paper argues that rituals play a particularly important role in organized humanist and atheist circles. Our research finds that various kinds of secular rituals and other symbolic forms, such as commemorations, can play different functions—they may generate solidarity [read more»]

Helena Rosenblatt

March 12, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

Helena Rosenblatt is Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include European Intellectual History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Constant, Republicanism, Liberalism, Christian Thought, and Church/State Relations. She is author, most recently, of Rousseau and Geneva. From the First Discourse to the Social Contract, 1749-1762 (2007) and Liberal Values: Benjamin Constant and the Politics of [read more»]

Daniel Varisco: When “Being There” is Here: An Anthropologist at Large in Digital Humanities

March 05, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

The aim of this talk is to explore the role of traditional field-based ethnography in the rapidly evolving world of digital humanities. I look back on my original ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen in 1978-79, before there was an Internet or laptop computer. While technology has long been an important resource for anthropologists, the digital world allows for instantaneous contact in [read more»]

Jonathan van Antwerpen: Secularism studies as an interstitial space

February 26, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

This talk will draw on a paper by Gil Eyal, ‘Spaces between fields’, to talk about “interstitial spaces,” and to reflect on the role that digital projects might play in the constitution and nurturance of “spaces in between”, such as ‘The Immanent Frame’ (http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/) and other digital publication projects in view, and with “secularism studies” as an example of [read more»]

Scott Atran: Studying Religion in NYC Revisited

February 19, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

Scott Atran, chair, Studying Religion in NYC Revisited Last October the Committee for the Study of Religion hosted an event to explore interdisciplinary questions in the contemporary study of religion, and also to encourage more collaboration in the New York area. As preparation we read Christian Smith et al: Roundtable on the Sociology of Religion: Twenty-Three Theses on the [read more»]

Glen Bowersock: Paganisms from Abraham to Muhammad

February 11, 2014
12:00 am

A special event, co-sponsored with History, Classics and Sociology
History Lounge, Room 5114 Glen Bowersock, Paganisms from Abraham to Muhammad During his long and distinguished career, Professor Bowersock taught ancient history at Oxford and Harvard before joining the Institute for Advanced Study in 1980.  He is the author of more than 300 articles and books on Greek, Roman, and Near [read more»]

Religion Seminar: Liberty and Equality

February 05, 2014
12:00 am
Committee for the Study of Religion

“Both liberty and equality are among the primary goals pursued by human beings through many centuries; but total liberty for the wolves is death to the lambs . . .”
—Isaiah Berlin Alan Koenig and Bryan Turner: The Challenge of Apocalyptic Theocracies for Liberal Pluralism Alan Koenig: “Liberty for the Wolves: The Challenge of Apocalyptic Theocracies for Liberal Pluralism.” Respondent: [read more»]