Category Archives: News

Istanbul Seminars – Call for Scholars and Students

Call for Scholars and Students

Politics Beyond Borders. The Republican Ideal Challenged by the Internationalization of Economy, Law and Communication.

8th Istanbul Seminars | 16-30 May 2014
Philosophers Bridge the Bosphorus

Venue: Istanbul Bilgi University

POSTER-studenti 2015For at least two centuries, Republicanism has been the political ideal of the subjugated people around the world, from the French Revolution to the anti-colonial struggles. The Republic has come to be seen as the place that realizes true freedom and self-determination independently from gender, religious or ethnic backgrounds. However, in the last decades, Republicanism has been challenged by the progressive weakening of state borders as guarantee of sovereignty. More and more Republicanism has become the synonym of state nationalism and very often of authoritarianism, taking into account only poorly, if ever, pluralism, cultural differences and the rights of minorities. Republican thought has to face the internationalization of politics, law, economy and communication through the power of information technology and social media. The Arab Spring contested explicitly Republicanism as a political model. Yet, how to move ahead? So far the Arab Spring resulted into political turmoil without bringing forth a viable and legitimate alternative political system. At the same time even in Europe the Republican tradition is threatened by populist and illiberal movements and by independentist parties which challenge the state unity. Therefore we are going to ask at the Istanbul Seminars ’15 what, if anything, remains of the Republican dream in a plural world without borders. Does Republicanism still have emancipatory potential or does it have to be replaced by other, more cosmopolitan oriented models?

Among Speakers 2015: Albena Azmanova, Richard Bellamy, Seyla Benhabib, Georges Corm, Nilüfer Göle, Mohammed Haddad, Regina Kreide, Ivan Krastev, Stephen Macedo, Max Pensky, David Rasmussen, Larbi Sadiki, Diego von Vacano.

Application period for students and young scholars will start in January 2015.  Events are free of charge and open to all.  Small grants are available for students who apply until March 31st.  Much more information available at

Recording of “James Baldwin and Audre Lorde: A Revolutionary Hope” now available

This December, the IRCPL, Columbia University School of the Arts, and Harlem Stage presented “James Baldwin and Audre Lorde: A Revolutionary Hope,” the first of the IRCPL’s two “Ancestral Witnesses: Literature and the African American Religious Imagination” events this year.  If you weren’t able to see it live, you can now watch the recording, courtesy of Columbia University School of the Arts’s youtube channel.

This March, Ancestral Witnesses will be back with an event honoring Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka.  More information will be available soon at


IRCPL in France


IRCPL Director Karen Barkey and Advisory Committee members Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Sudipta Kaviraj, and Nadia Urbinati recently traveled to Lyon, France to participate in a series of conversations with other thinkers, artists, and public figures as part of Villa Gillet’s Mode d’emploi — A Festival of Ideas.

In conjunction with the event, Professor Barkey published an essay, “Sketch for a Discussion on Tolerance,” in Le Huffington Post and spoke to Forum French Culture about the idea in Hapsburg, Russian, French, and Ottoman history. Listen to the complete interview here.

Karen Barkey at RFIProfessor Barkey also spoke with Radio France Internationale about “living in a plural society.”  Listen to the complete interview here.

Villa Gillet recorded other events, still in preparation. Check back here for updates as they become available.

Living in and under Jakarta’s streets

Saskia Schaefer portrait

Saskia Schäfer, IRCPL Post-Doctoral Researcher, reviews Daniel Ziv’s feature-length documentary Jalanan for New Mandala and places it within the context of Indonesia’s turbulent political climate.

Schäfer writes, “Listening: this is what makes Daniel Ziv’s depiction of these three urban poor so effective. He doesn’t speak for them, he doesn’t put them on display, and he doesn’t romanticize or pity them. He just listens to them and lets them speak.”

Read the full article in New Mandala at


New from CUP: Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites

IRCPL publication - Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites book cover

Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites: Religion, Politics, and Conflict Reslution is out this month from Columbia University Press.  Edited by Karen Barkey and Elazar Barkan, this collection explores the dynamics of shared religious sites in Turkey, the Balkans, Palestine/Israel, Cyprus, and Algeria, indicating where local and national stakeholders maneuver between competition and cooperation, coexistence and conflict. Contributors probe the notion of coexistence and the logic that underlies centuries of “sharing,” exploring when and why sharing gets interrupted—or not—by conflict, and the policy consequences.

More information about this book and all of the books in the Religion and Culture in Public Life series from Columbia University Press is available on our website or at

Video and Text of Rached Ghannouchi’s Talk Now Available

Rached Ghannouchi event photo

Rached Ghannouchi, co-founder and president of the Ennahdah Movement, spoke on “Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World” on Wednesday, October 1 at the Italian Academy. Full text of his talk is now available here.

This event was sponsored by the IRCPL and co-sponsored by the World Leaders Forum, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and the Middle East Institute.

Professor Mamadou Diouf awarded French Legion of Honor

IRCPL faculty news - photo of Professor Diouf receiving the French Legion of Honor award

The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL) congratulates Professor Mamadou Diouf on his being awarded the insignia of the Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honor at the French embassy in New York on September 22nd. France honored Professor Diouf for his role in engaging students from around the world in dialogue and debate about history and the present. Sony Pictures Classics co-founders and co-presidents, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, were also honored at the event.  The award was presented by the French Minister, Laurent Fabius, who said, “These individuals are breaking down the barriers of national borders and creating bridges between intellectual and cultural spheres while also enriching a transcontinental cultural dialogue.”

The order of the Legion of Honor is the highest award bestowed by the French government. The national order was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding achievement in the military as well as public and private sectors. Recipients are named by decree and signed by the President of the Republic. The Legion of Honor may be awarded to foreign citizens, though such recognition is relatively rare. Previous honorees include Bob Dylan, Walt Disney, and Toni Morrison.

For more information on this distinguished order see La grande chancellerie (French).