Jun 012017
 June 1, 2017  Tagged with:

Please join the North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar and Religions and Public Life at KIE for a lunch seminar on religion, politics, and governance with Guy Ben-Porat (Brown University), on Friday, December 1, at 12:15pm in Friedl 225.

Guy Ben-Porat is an associate professor at the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University and an Israel Institute Visiting Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He is the author of Between State and Synagogue, the Secularization of Contemporary Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Global Liberalism, Local Populism; Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland (Syracuse University Press). His new book (co-written) is on police and minorities (Cambridge University Press).

Abstract: The scholarly debate of religiosity and secularism in Israel has either engaged with ideological/theological questions or with formal political processes of elections and legislation. This work offers a different perception and interpretation of secularization that looks beyond openly-declared ideological secularism and its related struggles against the Orthodox monopoly in the political arena. The disaggregation of the concept of secularization opens up the new possibilities for research of both the declining role of religion in society vis-à-vis other systems (political and economic) and the role of religion in individual lives (beliefs, practices and values). The four issues studied in the book – civil marriage, civil burial, sale of pork and commerce on the Sabbath – demonstrate dramatic changes that occurred in the last three decades. These changes, as the study demonstrates, are at most partially attributed to a secular ideology and to an organized secular struggle. Consequently, secularization, measured in declining religious authority remains largely separate from secularism and a liberal ethos of equality and freedom.

Vegetarian lunch served.

Friday, December 1
Friedl 225, East Campus

Contact amber.diaz@duke.edu for parking (for those coming from outside of Duke). Duke faculty and students are encouraged to use the East-West campus bus.

May 022017
 May 2, 2017  Tagged with:

This symposium will unfold as a focused, cross‐disciplinary conversation about the relationship of German philosophy and theology as they struggle to redefine themselves following the trauma of WW I. Focusing on a number of case studies, the seven symposium speakers will explore how theology and philosophy, the two disciplines preeminently expected to delineate a viable social and ethical framework for modern life, struggle to do so following the collapse of Germany’s political, legal, and cultural institutions in November 1918. Representative trends within philosophy and theology during the interwar period, especially the increasingly important role of phenomenology will form the starting point for the discussion.

For more information, please click here.

Participants and Abstracts:

Prof. Philip Buckley (Professor of Philosophy, McGill University):

Nov. 2, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Phenomenology as Soteriology: Husserl and the call for ‘Erneuerung’ in the 1920’s”

Prof. Thomas Pfau (Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English, Professor of German, & Faculty

Member: Duke Divinity School):

Nov. 2, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

“‘Noch ist uns das Dasein verzaubert’: Disambiguating Rilke and Heidegger”

Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr (Dorothy Grant McLear Professor of Modern Jewish History and

Thought, University of Chicago & Hebrew University – Jerusalem):

Nov. 2, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

“Gnostic Anxieties of Weimar Jewish Intellectuals”

Prof. Dr. Judith Wolfe (Senior Lecturer in Theology and the Arts, University of St. Andrews):

Nov. 3, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

“The inheritance of eschatological thought in inter-war philosophy”

Prof. Cyril O’Regan (Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame):

Nov. 3, 11:00 – 12:30 p.m.

“Balthasar: Apocalypse and the Eclipse of Nietzsche”

Prof. John Betz (Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame):

Nov. 3, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

“The analogia entis as a Catholic panacea? Erich Przywara’s interventions in the philosophy and theology of the 1920s”

Prof. Dr. Dr. Holger Zaborowski (History of Philosophy & Ethics, Vallendar Philosophical-

Theological University):

Nov. 3, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

“Liturgy, Antinomy, and Freedom: Guardini’s Phenomenology of Religion”

*Beverages and refreshments will be provided prior to the first session and during breaks.

Symposium Website:


Sponsored by Arts & Sciences Research Council; Germanic Language & Literatures; Franklin Humanities Institute; Office of Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies; Religions & Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics; Program in Political Theory; Division of Theology – Duke Divinity School; Program in Literature & Theory; Department of History; Department of Religion

May 012017
 May 1, 2017

Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will host on Nov. 1 at 1:30p.m. a seminar with Daniel Jenkins, Presidential Visiting Fellow at Yale University. Dr. Jenkins’ talk, “Anti-Protestantism and Its Contemporary Legacy,” argues that many of today’s critiques of secularism, human rights, religious freedom, etc. assume an understanding of Protestantism that is difficult to square with its actual history.

A full abstract and the speaker’s bio is provided below.

For more information on the event, contact Deirdre White at deirdre.white@duke.edu.

1:30-3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 1
Friedl 225
(East Campus)

Abstract: This paper provides an alternative way to examine the legacy of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It does so by showing how contemporary leading intellectual historians, anthropologists and political theorists trace all that is wrong with current age back to the Protestant Reformation and its unintended consequences. In putting forward this argument it makes three observations: 1) The attack against the Protestant Reformation today is inseparable from a critique of liberalism that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union; 2) Recent critiques of Protestantism are, in fact, reviving a long tradition of Catholic anti-Protestantism with deep roots in the nineteenth Century; 3) There is a strange political convergence between Left and Right over their mutual disdain of Protestantism, and specifically its connection to human rights, religious freedom and international law.

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is a historian of Modern Western European Political and Intellectual History with a specific focus on 20th century France and Germany. He primarily concentrates on such topics as conservatism, nationalism, secularism, and religion and politics.  He is currently working on a manuscript for Columbia University Press titled, Raymond Aron and Postwar American Political Ideologies. He is the former managing editor of the Immanent Frame, which is the Social Science Research Council’s website devoted to questions of religion, secularism and the public sphere. His public commentary has appeared in The Nation, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Times Literary Supplement, Dissent Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2016-2017 he was the post-doctoral fellow in Public Theology for UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Religion. At Yale he will be offering religion and politics courses in the Department of Religious Studies.

Apr 092017
 April 9, 2017

The Duke Center for Jewish Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke, Duke-UNC Middle Eastern Consortium, Duke Asian and Pacific Studies Institute, and the Duke Middle East Studies Center will host on Oct. 18 a lecture on ‘An Italian Jesuit in Canton & the War on the Chinese: “Orientalism,” Conquest, & the Eastern Indian Ocean in the 16th c.,’ at 6pm in the Thomas Room (2nd floor), Lilly Library. Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Faculty of Arts & Science at New York University, will present the lecture.

A light dinner will be served.

For more information on the event, contact Serena Bazemore at serena.elliott@duke.edu.

  • 6 p.m., Oct. 18
  • Thomas Room 
  • Lilly Library
Apr 092017
 April 9, 2017

The Duke Center for Jewish Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke, Duke-UNC Middle Eastern Consortium, Duke Asian and Pacific Studies Institute, and the Duke Middle East Studies Center will host on Oct. 19 a lecture on ‘An Arab Jew in Rome: “Zionism” and “Islamophobia” in the 16th c. and Now,’ at 12pm in the Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Smith Warehouse (Bay 4, C105). Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Faculty of Arts & Science at New York University, will present the lecture.

For more information on the event, contact Serena Bazemore at serena.elliott@duke.edu.

  • 12 p.m., Oct. 19
  • Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall
  • Smith Warehouse
Apr 042017
 April 4, 2017

State Control over Sufi Lodges in Late Ottoman and Modern Turkey program logoReligions & Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will host on Oct. 4 a lecture on the lasting impact of 19th century religious reforms in Turkey.

In collaboration with Duke’s Department of History, Brett Wilson will present the lecture, “Subduing the Saints: State Control over Sufi Lodges in Late Ottoman and Modern Turkey,” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (101) in the West Duke Building on East Campus. Wilson, Associate Professor of History at Central European University, will look at how increasing state control over religious institutions has played a pivotal role in modernization projects in Turkey.

For more information on the event, contact Jamie Hardy at jamie.hardy@duke.edu.

  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Oct. 4
  • Ahmadieh Family Conference Room
  • West Duke Building
Mar 252017
 March 25, 2017

The Kenan Institute for Ethics, along with the Center for Comparative Philosophy and Department of Religious Studies, will host a lecture on Sept. 25 with Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

“Poetry and Moral Formation in South Asia” will explore the role of narrative, its relationship with dharma, and the close aligning of dharma or ethics and narrative aesthetics in South Asia. The lecture is at 2 p.m. Sept. 25 in Rubenstein 153. Leela Prasad, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Duke, will respond.

The event will be followed by a roundtable discussion Sept. 27 to further cover topics raised in Monius’ lecture and comparative approaches to the study of ethics. That event will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Divinity School Library. A RSVP is required to receive lunch by contacting srl30@duke.edu.

Feb 282017
 February 28, 2017

Join the Kenan Institute for Ethics for its annual celebration kicking off the new academic year. Enjoy food and reconnect with friends after a summer away from campus. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the lawn outside the West Duke Building on East Campus.

Students, faculty, staff and their families are welcome.

Nov 272016
 November 27, 2016

Vasileios Syros, a Maurice Amado Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland, will  introduce a new perspective on Islamic debates on violence by focusing on Islamic political advice literature on good government and the origins and effects of oppressive or arbitrary rule.

Syros will explore how the distinction between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power can serve as a heuristic device for the examination of a set of medieval Islamic writings on the successful conduct of government. In addition, the paper will relate these ideas to European political thought, such as Machiavelli’s The Prince. The ultimate objective of the talk will be to identify and analyze broader affinities and points of intersection between Western and non-Western modes of political theorizing on statecraft and styles of leadership.

Noon to 2 p.m.
April 27
West Duke 08C
Lunch is provided

Nov 232016
 November 23, 2016

In the 21st century, religion has made a surprising and powerful return, and has had major impact on public affairs, domestic and international alike. Scholars are still scrambling to understand the phenomenon’s significance, and those concerned for the preservation of constitutional norms and civility have been searching for new forms of interreligious dialogue.

To better address today’s unique challenges, Religions & Public Life will bring together scholars for “Interreligious Dialogue in the Post-Secular Age” from April 24 to 25.

Do we live in a post-secular age? Has the Weberian concept of modernity proved inadequate? Does postmodernity open new opportunities for religious dialogue? Scholars at five Israeli, European & American universities will be exploring these questions with a view to launching a long-term international collaboration that may result in the establishment of a new institute.

The workshop will take place on April 24 to 25, 2017 at Duke University, a founding member of the group, with hospitality extended by the Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.