Author Archives: ircpl-metatron

sitarApril 20, 2017 @ 7pm – 8:30pm
Pulitzer Hall, Brown Institute for Media Innovation
2950 Broadway

Featuring a Hindustani Classical Sitar Concert by:

Pandit Kushal Das, Sitar

Pandit Ramdas Palsule, Tabla

And a conversation with students from Columbia Journalism School’s
Covering Religion Seminar

Join us! Register here:

Spring is here, and what better way to celebrate than with raga music? The evening features a sitar recital by Pandit Kushal Das and Pandit Ramdas Palsule, leading exponents of the sitar and the tabla in the world, performing rarely heard Spring ragas. Pandit Kushal Das rarely performs in NYC. This is a fantastic opportunity for connoisseurs and beginners!

In the discussion following the concert, some of the students from Columbia Journalism’s Covering Religion Seminar, who have just returned from a reporting trip in India, will engage with Pandit Kushal Das and his experiences on performing religious and secular music. They will reflect on their own understanding of music’s role in Indian society and Indian religiosity. How has music helped them better understand and unpack Indian life and religiosity? How has music helped them better cover religion?

The concert is hosted and curated by Yogi Trivedi, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Journalism

The Evening:

Religion and Media share an intimate relationship. In India, music has arguably been religion’s primary medium of choice for millennia. Even with the advent of newer forms of media, music has still retained a central role in religious experience and expression.

This concert and discussion reflects on the experiences from a recent trip to India by Columbia Journalism School’s Covering Religion class. Each year Professors Goldman and Trivedi lead a class of students to a different part of the world to see how religion manifests and how it can and should be covered by journalists. The students spend several weeks preparing for the trip before witnessing the role of religion in a particular society.

This year the students traveled to India. They realized that music and religiosity shared a dialectical relationship. Religious experience and expression were still mediated by music despite the advent of newer forms of media. Seasons, festivals, life, death, and even social change are mediated by performance, and more often than not musical experience. Their own journeys as students and journalists were also shaped by music, dance, and theater. As one student put it, music and religion in India sing to each other, sing with each other, and often silently.

In the discussion following the concert, some of the students will engage with Pandit Kushal Das and his experiences on performing religious and secular music. They will reflect on their own understanding of music’s role in Indian society and Indian religiosity. How has music helped them better understand and unpack Indian life and religiosity? How has music helped them better cover religion?

Join us for an intimate Indian classical music performance of Spring Ragas followed by a conversation with Pandit Kushal Das and the students from the Covering Religion class. The discussion will be moderated by Yogi Trivedi, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Journalism.

The Artists and Curator:

Pandit Kushal Das is one of the leading sitar and surbahar players of India. He hails from a family of musicians from Kolkata. He is a top grade musician at All India Radio. His “singing sitar” has become a favorite amongst connoisseurs today. His style is often likened to the Late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee.  His ability to play classical, folk, and devotional genres has also earned him great prestige amongst the musician community.

Pandit Ramdas Palsule has been recognized as one of the most senior disciples of tabla maestro Pandit Suresh Talwalkar. He regularly performs around the world with instrumentalists, vocalists, kathak dancers, and as a soloist. He is a guru at the Center for Performing Arts at Pune University and at the newly created Avartan Gurukul in Pune.

Yogi Trivedi is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Journalism School. His latest book, Swaminarayan Hinduism: Tradition, Adaptation, and Identity (2016), is a comprehensive edited volume on the Swaminarayan community. His scholarship is enriched by his training as a lecturer and musical performer of bhakti poetry and classical and devotional North Indian music. He has trained with various internationally acclaimed classical and folk musicians, such as Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj and Gujarati ghazal maestro Purushottam Upadhyaya.

All reservations are for open seating.  For questions about accessible seating reservations, please email

Intimacies: Days I & II April 13 @ 9:30 am – April 14 @ 5:00 pm


PLEASE NOTE: Location for Day 1 has changed to the Presidential Room at Columbia Faculty House

Intimacies I: Sexualities in Contemporary Muslim Societies
(April 13th, Presidential Room at Columbia Faculty House)

Breakfast // 9:00am – 9:30am

Opening Remarks // 9:30am – 9:45am

Panel 1: Muslim Sexualities: Exploring Definitions and Concepts // 9:45am – 11:45am
with Homa Hoodfar, Gul Ozyegin, Sofian Merabet, Scott Kugle, and Moderator: K. Soraya Batmanghelichi

Keynote Speaker: Mona Eltahawy // 11:50am – 12:45pm

Lunch // 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Panel 2: Let’s talk about Sex: On the Ground Perspectives of Muslim Sexuality // 2:00pm – 4:00pm
with Eman Abedelhadi, Mashuq Deen, Urooj Arshad, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, and Moderator: Samira Mohyeddin

Coffee Break 4:00pm – 4:15pm

Intimacies I Roundtable: Coming Out Muslim // 4:15pm – 5:30pm
with Leila Mouri, Shep Glennon, Hinasahar Muneeruddin, and Wahiba Abu-Ras

Reception and Samra Habib Photo Exhibition // 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Intimacies II: Queerness in Muslim Contexts/Communities
(April 14th, Lerner 569)

Breakfast // 9:30am – 10:00am

Panel 1: Queer Social Movements // 10:00am – 11:45pm
with Samra Habib, Tynan Power, Faisal Alam, and Moderator: Sima Shakhsari

Lunch // 11:45am – 1:00pm

Panel 2: “Variant” Muslims: Gender Pluralism & Ambiguity // 1:00pm – 3:00pm
with Faris Khan, Sima Shakhsari, Asli Zengin, Ali Mian, and Moderator: Durba Mitra

Coffee Break // 3:00pm – 3:15pm

Intimacies II Roundtable: Sexual Violence // 3:15pm – 4:45pm
with Leila Mouri, Ayah Eldosougi, Wahiba Abu-Ras, and K. Soraya Batmanghelichi

Closing Remarks // 5:00pm

Registration is strongly suggested. Please RSVP to this free conference at Eventbrite:

Conference: Making Alliances, Breaking Taboos, Transforming Religions


“Making Alliances, Breaking Taboos, Transforming Religions”

A Feminist Studies in Religion Visioning Conference

June 18 – 21, 2017

Drew University, Madison, NJ

Making Alliances, Breaking Taboos, Transforming Religions is a conference that aims to build on the longstanding work of feminist studies in religion around the globe by facilitating alliances and sharing, developing, and nourishing the work already taking place.

The conference will be international in scope and is intended to bring together a broad range of scholars, emerging and established, representing various religious traditions and a wide-range of fields, expertise, and areas of study. Participants will actively and collaboratively take on challenging questions and issues in order to continue building on and advancing the work of feminist studies in religion and its concern for justice and social change. This work is even more important in light of recent international trends of increasing misogyny, religious fundamentalism, right wing populism and ethnocentric nationalism.

The conference content will be organized around the three overarching themes in the title: Making Alliances, Breaking Taboos, Transforming Religions. These themes will be explored in panel discussions, plenary group discussions and small group conversations in which participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the conference themes through the lens of their own work. Participants will also have the opportunity to organize interest groups that focus on practical strategies for change.

Tariq Ramadan: Muslims and/in the West: Past, Present, Future March 30 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm


With Brexit, the election of Trump in the US, and the rise of the far-right in Europe, Muslims are facing greater scrutiny than ever before.  Throughout Europe and the US they are increasingly considered a fifth column.  Globally, self-identified Muslims are often considered harbingers of regressive values that are antithetical to a secular project of progressive enlightenment.  Western political and media attempts to expunge Islam and Muslims from the collective imaginary are both a reminder of the exclusionary practices that constitute a collective “we” and a confirmation of the ineluctable entanglements between the West and Islam, its age-old “Other.”  Join us for an afternoon with Tariq Ramadan, Brinkley Messick, Katherine Pratt Ewing, and Hasan Azad as we look at the intimate interconnections among Muslims, Islam, and the West.

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St Antony’s College) and also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar) and the University of Malaysia PerlisSenior Research Fellow at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar).

He holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, Egypt he received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars (ijazat in seven disciplines). Through his writings and lectures Tariq has contributed to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active at academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well intercultural dialogue. He is President of the European think tank: European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels.
He is a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

Latest books: “Islam and the Arab Awakening” OUP USA (2012); “The Arab Awakening: Islam and the New Middle East” Penguin (April 2012); “The Quest for Meaning, Developing a Philosophy of Pluralism” Penguin (2010); “What I believe” OUP USA (2009); “Radical Reform, Islamic Ethics and Liberation” OUP USA (2008),« Au péril des idées » (French) with Edgar Morin, Presses du Châtelet, March 2014.

RSVP for this event with Facebook:

RSVP directly on Eventbrite:

IRCPL Announces Grantees of 2016 Search for Project and Working Group Proposals


The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University supports academic scholarship on the study of religion, broadly defined.  We are proud of the interdisciplinary breadth of our work and are particularly excited to announce the results of our 2016 call for project and working group proposals. The awardees, from across Columbia’s campus and beyond, working in fields including architecture, literature, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and political science, exemplify our desire to create spaces which facilitate connections, conversations, and collaborations across disciplinary lines. We look forward to the seminars, conferences, research, writing, and curricular innovation which will come from these groups beginning this spring, and continuing over the next year.

Our congratulations – and thanks – go out to:

Entheogens and Psychoactive Religion
David Kittay (Religion)

A History of Difference: Piety and Space in Early Modern West Asia
Manan Ahmed (History)
Katharina Ivanyi (Religion)

Medieval and Early Modern Struggles toward Humility, Virtue, and Truth
Bachir Diagne (French)
Pierre Force (French)
Christia Mercer (Philosophy)
Alan Stewart (English / Comp Lit)

Sites of Religious Memory in an Age of Exodus
Seth Kimmel (LAIC)
Naor Ben-Yehoyada (Anthropology

Religion and Revolution
Jean L Cohen (Political Science)
Andrew Arato (Sociology, The New School)

Palestinian Jerusalem: Religion Under Occupation
Nadia Abu El-Haj (Anthropology)
Lila Abu-Lughod (Anthropology)
Nora Akawi (Architecture)
Brian Boyd (Archaeology)
Nathalie Handal (CSER)
Rashid Khalidi (History)
Brinkley Messick (Anthropology)
Salim Tamari (MEI)

Information on some of these events is already available at; further details will be posted as they become available. Write to with questions.

Information on how you can apply for IRCPL support for future working groups and other proposals can be found here.





Katherine Pratt Ewing Honored with Faculty Distinction


IRCPL Director Katherine Pratt Ewing was honored recently with Faculty Distinction after having been awarded the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs Grant.  Professor Ewing, along with Alexander Stille, San Paolo Professor of International Journalism, is among the first grantees in this new program aimed at work that connects scholarship on religion to journalism training and practice.

A number of faculty from the Department of Religion were also honored, including Gil Anidjar, Clémence Boulouque, Josef Sorett, Robert Thurman, and Zhaohua Yang.  More information about the 2016 Faculty Distinction winners is available here.  The IRCPL congratulates all of the 2016 honorees.

Watch “Religion and the Vote”


On October 17, 2016, IRCPL and the Department of Political Science convened a panel of experts to discuss the role of religion in the 2016 elections.  Participants included:

More information about the event can be found here.

A video recording of the event is now available here.