Category Archives: News

Souleymane Bachir Diagne honored among 2015 Distinguished Columbia Faculty awardees

Souleymane Bachir Diagne

The IRCPL would like to congratulate Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French and Romance Philology and of Philosophy and IRCPL Advisory Committee member, on being among the awardees for the 2015 Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award.

The award was created in 2005 by Columbia Trustee Emeritus, Gerry Lenfest, (LAW’58, HON’09), to honor exceptional faculty in the Arts and Sciences. The awards are given annually to recognize unusual merit across a range of activities including scholarship, University citizenship, and professional involvement, with primary emphasis on teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Brian Cole, Professor of Physics
  • Patricia Dailey, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French and Romance Philology
  • Bradford Garton, Professor of Music
  • Stathis Gourgouris, Professor of Classics
  • Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History
  • Liza Knapp, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages
  • Feng Li, Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Mary Pollard Murray, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  • Carol Rovane, Professor of Philosophy
  • Dorothea von Mücke, Professor of Germanic Languages

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.