Tag Archives: CSRS Events

New Directions in Prayer: Trauma and Prayer


Listen to “Trauma and Prayer” in full here:

Trauma and Prayer

New Directions in Prayer is a three-part series of one-hour radio episodes produced by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life for its media project Rethinking Religion.  “Trauma and Prayer,” the first episode in the series, explores the role prayer plays in the lives of people who have experienced abuse or extreme trauma. With Dr. Norris J. Chumley as Series Host and Executive Producer and Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, author of Trauma and Grace, as featured commentator, the episode focuses not only on distinct forms of prayer, but also on the varied areas in which prayer is used to mitigate the impact of abuse and/or trauma. Listen to the full episode and full length interviews with the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones and William Moyers below.

This program was made possible through a grant from the Social Science Research Council, with support of the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect the views of the Social Science Research Council or the John Templeton Foundation.

Eric Gregory on Sacred Fruit- Augustine, Liberalism, and the Good Samaritan

Listen to a lecture by Eric Gregory, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, delivered at Columbia University on April 2, 2013. Recent developments in political theory, religious studies, and social criticism have led to revived interest in political theology as an alternative to more conventional approaches to “religion and politics.”  This lecture examines these developments in light of various encounters with the contested legacy of Augustine of Hippo.  Particular focus will be given to debates about secularity, realism, and moral sentiment in democratic culture.

Professor Gregory is the author of Politics and the Order of Love: An Augustinian Ethic of Democratic Citizenship (University of Chicago Press, 2008). His interests include religious and philosophical ethics, theology, political theory, law and religion, and the role of religion in public life. In 2007 he was awarded Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. A graduate of Harvard College, he earned an M.Phil. and Diploma in Theology from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and his doctorate in Religious Studies from Yale University.

Eddie Glaude on Publics, Prosperity, and Politics: the Changing Face of African American Christianity and Black Political Life

On Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, Eddie Glaude considered how the “blind spots” in African American religious historiography block the way to a more nuanced engagement with the powerful phenomenon of celebrity preachers and their mega churches.  More specifically, he examined W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic essay, “Of the Faith of the Fathers,” as a paradigmatic example of the evasion of forms of African American Christian expression that complicate traditional narratives of the prophetic role of black churches in African American politics.  Continue reading

Shopping on Shabbat Doesn’t A Dove Make: A response to Guy Ben Porat

By Hannah Rubashkin

On Thursday, February 21, Guy Ben Porat, an Israeli lecturer from Ben-Gurion University, gave a lecture at the Columbia Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies on his latest book Between State and Synagogue: The Secularization of Contemporary Israel. His lecture addressed the main questions of his book. Is secularization occuring in Israel? In what ways is it taking place? Is it connected to a particular political ideology, liberal or otherwise?

He began by making a useful distinction between secularization and secularism: the former consists of changes in peoples’ practice from religious to secular habits while the latter is an ideology that articulates the principles of liberalism as Americans from the U.S. would define it. This distinction created space for him to argue that secularization, but not secularism, was taking root in Israeli society. As examples of this secularizing behavior, he cited increases in marriages outside the Orthodox Rabbinate, shopping on the Sabbath, the selling and eating of non-kosher food, and non-religious burials. Continue reading

Gangster Nostalgia: A response to a public talk with Paul Lieberman

By Rivka Rappoport

A response to a public conversation with Paul Lieberman, author of the Gangster Squad, at Columbia University on February 19th, 2013.

Paul Lieberman’s talk “Gangster Movies and Reality” was marked, more than anything else, by a pervasive sentiment of nostalgia.  Throughout the talk, it seemed as if Lieberman longed for a world that was characterized by both the sub-system vigilante justice of the real life “Gangster Squad,” upon which the film Gangster Squad was based, and for the mobster, Mickey Cohen, whom the squad was tasked with bringing down.   As Lieberman walked the audience through important dates from the biographies of Cohen and the Squad, a fascinating narrative emerged of a world in which, sometimes, the differences between lawman and mobster were merely a matter of dress.

It turns out that the real-life members of the Gangster Squad were more than worthy of dramatization—complicated, obsessive, occasionally self-destructive characters who pursued Cohen aggressively.  Lieberman’s diligent delivery of the men’s bios was packed with fascinating tidbits that gestured toward the more complex film that might have been made in the blockbuster’s stead.  For example, he explained that Mickey Cohen was obsessed with cleaning his hands, washing them hundreds of times a day; the image of the fastidious gangster is so unlikely and so strong that it’s a wonder Hollywood could resist.  The members of the Gangster Squad had frequently interesting backgrounds, as well—one was the son of a real-life con man, another, a Texan sheriff—but these facts were delivered as though the audience was already acquainted with their names and invested in their stories.

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Alyshia Galvez on Guadalupan New York: Activism and Devotion among Mexicans in NYC

Listen to a talk by Alyshia Gálvez, at Columbia University on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013.

Professor Galvez is a cultural anthropologist (PhD, NYU 2004) whose work focuses on the efforts by Mexican immigrants in New York City to achieve the rights of citizenship. This talk asks: How do spaces of devotion become spaces of activism? What role does faith play in the construction of civic spaces and civil society among recent immigrant groups? What are the limitations of these forms of social mobilization? This talk will explore a decade of Guadalupan-based devotion and activism for immigration rights among recent Mexican immigrants in New York City. Based on Gálvez’s extended ethnographic research in New York City and many years of activism and advocacy, she will reflect on the changing immigrant rights movement and its intersection with faith based institutions and organizations.

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Religions, Civil and Uncivil, in American Public Life: A Talk by Jose Casanova

Listen to  talk by Jose Casanova, one of the world’s top scholars in the sociology of religion. The talk will explore, first, the concept of diffused “civil” religion in contradistinction to differentiated “eclesiastical” or “denominational” religion. It will then examine the pattern of congruent relations between “civil” and “denominational” religion in America in comparison to two divergent European patterns: the French laicist oppositional model between civil and Catholic religion and the Nordic secular integrational model between civil and Lutheran religion. Finally, it will examine the conditions under which both “civil” and “denominational” religions in America may turn “uncivil,” ending with some critical reflections about the contemporary culture wars around gender and sexual mores. Jose Casanova is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, and heads the Berkley Center’s Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular.

Throughout the 2013 Spring term, the IRCPL, in conjunction with the Department of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, will present public conversations that explore the often contentious role of religion in American political and public life. Seeking to further understand the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, the series will explore a number of timely topics that intersect with religion, such as civil religion, public discourses of morality, and reproductive and sexual rights. The series marks the launch of a new Religion in America program area at the IRCPL, which will seek to foster inter-disciplinary research, scholarship, and public discussion on the relationship of religion to American politics and society.