Category Archives: Media

The Making of Salafism Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century

salafism

By Henri Lauzière
Published: November 2015

Some Islamic scholars hold that Salafism is an innovative and rationalist effort at Islamic reform that emerged in the late nineteenth century but disappeared in the mid twentieth. Others argue Salafism is an anti-innovative and antirationalist movement of Islamic purism that dates back to the medieval period yet persists today. Though they contradict each other, both narratives are considered authoritative, making it hard for outsiders to grasp the history of the ideology and its core beliefs.

Introducing a third, empirically based genealogy, The Making of Salafism understands the movement as a recent conception of Islam projected back onto the past, and it sees its purist evolution as a direct result of decolonization. Henri Lauzière builds his history on the transnational networks of Taqi al-Din al-Hilali (1894-1987), a Moroccan Salafi who, with his associates, oversaw Salafism’s modern development. Traveling from Rabat to Mecca, from Calcutta to Berlin, al-Hilali interacted with high-profile Salafi scholars and activists who eventually abandoned Islamic modernism in favor of a more purist approach to Islam. Today, Salafis claim a monopoly on religious truth and freely confront other Muslims on theological and legal issues. Lauzière’s pathbreaking history recognizes the social forces behind this purist turn, uncovering the popular origins of what has become a global phenomenon.

Henri Lauzière is assistant professor of history at Northwestern University. His research focuses on modern Islamic intellectual history in the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular interest in the ways in which historians process and produce knowledge about ideas.

More information is available at Columbia University Press.

Love and Forgiveness for a More Just World

love and forgiveness

Edited by Hent de Vries and Nils F. Schott
Published: November 2015

One can love and not forgive or out of love decide not to forgive. Or one can forgive but not love, or choose to forgive but not love the ones forgiven. Love and forgiveness follow parallel and largely independent paths, a truth we fail to acknowledge when we pressure others to both love and forgive. Individuals in conflict, sparring social and ethnic groups, warring religious communities, and insecure nations often do not need to pursue love and forgiveness to achieve peace of mind and heart. They need to remain attentive to the needs of others, an alertness that prompts either love or forgiveness to respond.

By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. With contributions by the renowned French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, the poet Haleh Liza Gafori, and scholars of religion (Leora Batnitzky, Nils F. Schott, Hent de Vries), psychoanalysis (Albert Mason, Orna Ophir), Islamic and political philosophy (Sari Nusseibeh), and the Bible and literature (Regina Schwartz), this anthology reconstructs the historical and conceptual lineage of love and forgiveness and their fraught relationship over time. By examining how we have used–and misused–these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity.

Hent de Vries is director of the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University, where he holds the Russ Family Chair in the Humanities and Philosophy. He is also director of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. He is the author of Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas; Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida; and Philosophy and the Turn to Religion and the editor of Religion Beyond a Concept.

Nils F. Schott is James M. Motley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. The author of The Conversion of Knowledge: Enlightenment and Religion in Eighteenth-Century Catechisms, he has also translated several works, most recently Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Henri Bergson, which he coedited with Alexandre Lefebvre.

Beyond Individualism The Challenge of Inclusive Communities

rupp

By George Rupp
Published: September 2015

In many places around the world, relations between ethnic and religious groups that for long periods coexisted more or less amicably are now fraught with aggression and violence. This trend has profound international implications, threatening efforts to narrow the gap between rich and poor. Underscoring the need for sustained action, George Rupp urges the secular West to reckon with the continuing power of religious conviction and embrace the full extent of the world’s diversity.

While individualism is a powerful force in Western cultures and a cornerstone of Western foreign policy, it elicits strong resistance in traditional communities. Drawing on decades of research and experience, Rupp pushes modern individualism beyond its foundational beliefs to recognize the place of communal practice in our world. Affirming the value of communities and the productive role religion plays in many lives, he advocates new solutions to such global challenges as conflicts in the developing world, income inequality, climate change, and mass migration.

George Rupp has served as dean of Harvard Divinity School and as president of Rice University, Columbia University, and the International Rescue Committee. As an activist and educator, he is committed to shaping fair institutions and building inclusive communities in both the developed and the developing worlds. His articles have appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and he is the author of five books, most recently Globalization Challenged: Conviction, Conflict, Community.

More information is available at Columbia University Press.

Parimal Patil – Scripture Without a Scriptor

Public-Lecture-Series-thumb

Parimal Patil, Harvard University
Scripture Without a Scriptor: Hermeneutics in Classical India

Wednesday, April 29

What does it mean for something to be ‘the word of God?’ What are the origins, forms, and functions of this concept? This seminar series will investigate what it means within the traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, with a variety of scholars and thinkers.

See the Word of God series for more information on other talks in the series.

Listen to the audio for this event here:

Marthe Hesselmans – Untangling Race, Religion, and Ethnicity in South Africa

Public-Lecture-Series-thumb

Marthe Hesselmans – Untangling Race, Religion, and Ethnicity in South Africa: A Community Effort
April 28th

In this presentation, Hesselmans zoomed in on two stories of integration that she encountered during her field research in South Africa in 2014. For more information, view the event page.

Listen to the audio for this event here:

Shaul Magid – The Word of God Is No Word at All

Public-Lecture-Series-thumb

Shaul Magid, Indiana University
“The Word of God Is No Word at All”
Wednesday, April 15

What does it mean for something to be ‘the word of God?’ What are the origins, forms, and functions of this concept? This seminar series will investigate what it means within the traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, with a variety of scholars and thinkers.

Listen to the audio for this event here:

See the Word of God series for more information on other talks in the series.

Emergent Forms of Religious Life in Contemporary Mexico

“Emergent Forms of Religious Life in Contemporary Mexico” aims to develop a preliminary exploration of the broad theme of emergent religious forms in Mexican public life.  We hope to address new narratives and social practices developed to cope with everyday life in a society that has undergone such rapid and deep transformation, the nature of engagement of contemporary religious organizations and trends in Mexican public life, and the proliferation of cult-like organizations that do not take on expressly religious forms, but may have kinship with them, such as Michoacán’s Knights Templar, Dianetics, or even the culture of pyramid scheme-like organizations such as Herbalife.

For more information, visit the event page here.

Listen to the audio of the day 1 morning session here:

Listen to the audio of the day 1 afternoon session here:

Listen to the audio of the day 2 morning session here: