Category Archives: Media

Sam Haselby – The Limits of American Secularism: A Perspective from its Early History

The U.S. has made historic contributions to secularism, yet it is arguably the world’s most religious political democracy. The early history of American secularism offers some clues as to why and how these facts cohere.

More information about Sam Haselby’s talk is available here.  More on the entire Religion and Politics in American Public Life series is available at

Listen to Sam Haselby’s talk in its entirety below:


Elizabeth L. Cline – Fast Fashion: Disposable Society and the Soul

aP1010662_2The hastening speed and obsolescence of modern consumer goods–expressed in its most extreme form within fast fashion–has fundamentally reshaped society, culture, economics, and ultimately our sense of selves. What is the responsibility or power of the individual to reflect on and alter this system? What social, entrepreneurial, governmental or economic shifts could truly challenge fast fashion and disposable culture?

Brooklyn journalist and musician Elizabeth L. Cline is one of the world’s leading thinkers in the fields of fast fashion, globalization and disposable consumption.  More information about this event is available here.

Listen to her talk in its entirety below.



Gil Anidjar: The Word of God

Sudipta Kaviraj and Gil Anidjar at the IRCPL's Word of God series

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.

The first talk in this new series, coordinated by Professor Sudipta Kaviraj, was given by Professor Gil Anidjar, Columbia University, on February 4, 2015.  More information about this talk, as well as the entire Word of God series, is available here.

Listen to Professor Anidjar’s talk below:


Tunisian Democratization After the Elections: A Trip Report

Professor Alfred Stepan speaks about Tunisia’s recent democratic transition and the elections which took place there last month.  Having just returned from another trip to the area, he reported on his experiences speaking with Tunisian political leaders and activists, and he discusses the country’s political present, future, and its role within the region.

More information about this event is available here.

Listen to the audio recording of this event here:


Religion and Politics in American Public Life: Darren Dochuk

The Religion and Politics in American Public Life lecture series, co-coordinated for 2014-15 by Professors Courtney BenderJean CohenJosef Sorett, and John Torpey, is a series of public conversations that explore the often contentious role of religion in American political and public life.  Each session features a speaker presenting on a timely, topical intersection of religion with American politics and society, such as civil religion, public discourses of morality, and reproductive and sexual rights.

Darren Dochuk is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Associate Professor in the Humanities in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is the author of  From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism, winner of The Society of American Historians’ Allan Nevins Prize, the American Historical Association’s John H. Dunning book prize for outstanding.

More information about this event is available here.

Listen to the audio recording of this event here:


Alon Confino: A World Without Jews

Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In Alon Confino’s new book, A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide, he demonstrates that the mass murder of Jews during the war years was powerfully anticipated in the culture of the prewar years.

On September 15th, Alan Confino discussed his book at an event presented by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, and the Department of Sociology at Columbia University.

More information on this event is available here.

An event response can be read here.

Listen to the audio recording of this event here:


Pluralism: Sufi Thought and Practice

This event looks at the contributions of Sufi thought and practice to understandings of pluralism in the Ottoman Middle East, South Asia, and West Africa.  Pluralism: Sufi Thought and Practice is the inaugural event in the IRCPL’s Sufi Islam in 21st Century Politics project, funded by the Henry R. Luce Initiative for International and Public Affairs.

More information on this event, including the list of presenters, is available here.

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