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

May 14th: Christopher Parker: We’ve Seen this Before: Reactionary Conservatism Before the Tea Party

May 14, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

In Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America, Christopher Parker and  Matt A. Barreto make a convincing case for what we call “reactionary conservatism,” a belief system that stands apart from establishment conservatism. We also identify national right-wing social movements that predate the Tea Party, but have much in common. This talk examines the 1960s, [read more»]

Friday, May 9th: Adela Yarbro Collins: Crisis, Catastrophe, and Utopia in the Book of Revelation

May 09, 2014
12:30 pm
Committee for the Study of Religion

Although the book of Revelation was written more than thirty years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, that event was the fundamental crisis to which it responded. Nero’s police action against Christians in Rome was also an aspect of the crisis perceived by the author. The imperial cult was also dramatic social and political evidence in his view [read more»]

Mark Oppenheimer: A Conversation on the New Calvinism: Theology, Culture, and Politics

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

Mark Oppenheimer writes for The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Salon, Slate, Mother Jones, The Nation, and elsewhere, including a biweekly column about religion for The New York Times and a monthly column about fatherhood for The New Republic. Although much has been about religion (he has a Ph.D. in American religious history), Oppenheimer also writes about [read more»]

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»]