Points of Departure: On Religions and Social Transformations- A Lecture by John Torpey
Thursday, April 11th, 2013, 4-6 pm
509 Knox Hall
The distinguished British sociologist of religion David Martin has argued, above all on the basis of the global spread of Pentecostalism, that we are living through a period comparable in significance to the Protestant Reformation. This lecture seeks to evaluate that claim by examining a number of other major “points of departure” in human history, most of them associated with the birth of major world religions. Professor Torpey will seek to identify patterns in these other episodes that might help us set our own time in a broader perspective and hence to make better sense of it.
John Torpey is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of several books, including Making Whole What has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe: Transatlantic Relations after the Iraq War (edited with Daniel Levy and Max Pensky; London and New York: Verso, 2005); Politics and the Past: On Repairing Historical Injustices (ed.), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003; Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World (co-edited with Jane Caplan), Princeton University Press, 2001; The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State, Cambridge University Press, 2000; and Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. His interests lie broadly in the area of comparative historical sociology and his current research focuses on the problem of “American exceptionalism.”
Throughout the 2013 Spring term, the IRCPL, in conjunction with the Department of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, will present three public conversations that explore the often contentious role of religion in American political and public life. Seeking to further understand the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, the series will explore a number of timely topics that intersect with religion, such as civil religion, public discourses of morality, and reproductive and sexual rights. The series marks the launch of a new Religion in America program area at the IRCPL, which will seek to foster inter-disciplinary research, scholarship, and public discussion on the relationship of religion to American politics and society.