Spring 2016

9/11 Warping and its Discontents: Our Security State, Racism, and Foreign Policy - Ramzi Kassem, Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106 | 95 Cushing Street 

The collective trauma of the September 11th, 2001 attacks made plausible the notion of a constant, omnipresent, almost supernatural threat.  In turn, this made mythical prospects of total security particularly appealing to officials and the public alike.  The distorting effect of formulating policy through a total security prism - a phenomenon Professor Kassem has described as 9/11 warping - can be observed both in the altered functioning of already - existing systems (like the imposition of cruel pretrial and post-conviction conditions of confinement in terrorism cases) and in the creation of new systems (such as the military commissions, the prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram, and the infamous CIA black sites).  Join us for an exploration of the links of 9/11 warping, structural racism, and U.S. foreign policy.

Hosted by the Center for the Study of Race + Ethnicity in America (CSREA). 
Co-sponsored by the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politicans and Policy, The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Department of Religious Studies, and Middle East Studies. 

Free and open to the public.

"Between Earth and Heaven: Middle Byzantine Views of Mary, the Mother of God," with Mary Cunningham, University of Nottingham, UK.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016
Annmary Brown Memorial | 21 Brown Street

Sponsored by the the Rhode Island Medieval Circle, and the Department of Religious Studies.  A small reception will follow the lecture. 



Body, Culture, Religion: Byzantine Views
A symposium at Brown University

Saturday, March 12, 2016
BERT 015 | 85 Waterman Street

1:00pm Welcome & Light Refreshments

Session 1 (1:30-3:30pm)
1:30-2:10: "Picturing Psalms: Pilgrims' Processions in Late Antique Jerusalem," Georgia Frank, Colgate University
2:10-2:50: "Holy Oil: Fragrance and Touch in Byzantine Piety" Susan Harvey, Brown University
2:50-3:30: "The Virgin Mary and the Natural World: Byzantine Conceptions of Sacrament and Creation," Mary Cunningham, Nottingham University

3:30-4:00pm: Break

Session 2 (4:00-6:00pm)
4:00-4:40: "Teenagers off Byzantium," Leslie Brubaker, Birmingham University
4:40-5:20: "Dissolving Bodies in Byzantium," Thomas Arentzen, University of Oslo/Brown Univeristy
5:20-6:00: Panel: Reflections on Lay Piety and Religious Culture, Vasileios Marinis, Institute of Sarcred Music, Divinity School, Yale University; James Skedros, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Reflections & Open Discussion

This event is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Royce Family Professorship. 

Materializing Sancity, Enacting Authority: Text, Image, and Performance in China & India
Graduate International Colloquium

March 14 & 15, 2016
All events are at the Watson Institute unless otherwise noted.

The Graduae International Colloquium will present two public lectures:

"How to Become a Brahmin and Get Away With it: The Social Power of Hindu Mythology," with A dheesh A. Sathaye, Associate Professor of Sanskrit Literaure and Folklore, University of British Columbia

Monday, March 14, 2016

Joukowsky Forum | Watson Institute

One of the most well-known features of classical Hindu thought is that it is impossible for an ordinary individual to change one's caste.  But in the Sanskrit epics, the mythological sage,Viśvāmitra is said to have done exactly that - to have become a Brahmin by amassing a tremendous amount of ascetic power, or tapas. This presentation will eamine how stories about Viśvāmitra in the Sanskrit epics would have served to establish the social identity of real-world Brahmins for an early Indian public culture. 

Daoist Use of Images in Private and Public Contexs," with Shih-shan Susan Huang, Associate Professor of Art History, Rice University

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Birkelund Boardroom | Watson Institute 

This talk will elaborate the key concept of Daoist visual culture: the polarization of private/inner (nei) and public/outer (wai) images and the interconnectivity and tension between the two.  The pictures associated with the private use or the inner system refer to the mental images generated in visualization as well as the artifacts made to correspond to such internal experiences.  The images associated with the public function or the outer system cover the multimedia materiality tied to the physical rituals and encompass liturgical paintings, ritual space, ritual artifacts, and the mobile spectacle of ritual performance.  From a theoretical perspective, this talk will also propose three modes of images central to Daoist symbolism: aniconic, immaterial/invisible, and ephemeral.  

For more information on the Graduate International Colloquium, please click here. Sponsored by the Graduate International Colloquium Fund, India Initiative, China Initiative, and the Departments of Religious Studies, Classics, and Hisory of Art & Architecture.

Family and Geneology in the Study of Religion.  
An interdisciplinary graduate student conference hosted by the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University. 

March 18 & 19, 2016
Petteruti Lounge | Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center

Keynote Address: "Family Romance: The Longest Fiction" by Professor Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan.

Friday, March 18, 2016
Petteruti Lounge | Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center 

For a full schedule of events, please click here.

Sponsored by the American Academy of Religion, New England/Maritime Region (NEMAAR), the Cogut Center for the Humanities, the Department of Religious Studies, the Program in Judaic Studies, the Graduate Student Council, the Department of History, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Egyptology/Assyriiology, the Department of Philosophy, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Department of Engish, the Department of Modern Culture and Media, the Department of Comparative Literature,  and the Department of American Studies.

Music in the Lives of the Crypto-Jews of Portugal, with Judith Cohen, York University, Canada

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Brown RISD Hillel House | 80 Brown Street

Since the mid-1990s, Dr. Judith Cohen has been conducting ethnomusicological fieldwork in Belmote, as well as villages in the northeast of Portugal, Tras-os-Montes, exploring the use of music in the lives of the members of a hidden Jewish community, discovered only at the beginning of the 20th century.  Judith will talk about her work with them, how they use local songs in coded ways, and how the internet has changed their musical lives, and will also sing extracts of songs from the regions they live in, with the tradtional square frame drum, the "adufe," used in women's songs in the area.

Sponsored by the Program in Medieval Studies, the Program in Judaic Studies, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown/RISD Hillel, the Department of Portugeuse and Brazillian Studies, and the Dean of the Faculty Office. 

Contemplative Minds: the Mary Interlandi '05 Lecture Fund presents "Reviving the Contemplative Suf Heart of Islam," with Alan Godlas, Ph.D., University of Georgia.  

Monday, April 11, 2016
Salomon 001.

Contemplation in Islamic Sufism, being rooted in the Qur'an and hadith and elaborated principally in Sufi texts, secondarily consists of various contemplative practicesreferred to as forms of "remembrence" (dhikr) transmitted especially in Sufi orders; while primarily such contemplation consists of a retraining of the individual's consciousness to respond at each moment twoard one's consciousness and whatever appears in it, responding with a specifici contemplative attitude consisting of a continual re-embrace of an unconditionnally grateful and loving attitude of awareness of God, who is understood as approaching us at each moment in the form of the ever-changing contents of our consciousness.  

This lecture is made possible by the generosity of Elizabeth and John Interlandi in memory of their daughter, Mary, and is co-hosted by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious LIfe and Contemlative Studies Initiative at Brown.  

This event is free and open to the public.  No registration is necessary.  

What I Am Thinking About Now Series: Andre Willis, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, "Whiteness as God: Towards a Theo-Political Understanding of American Democracy"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
CSREA Conference Room | Hillel 303 | 80 Brown Street

"What I am Thinking About Now" is an on-going informal workshop/seminar series to which faculty and graduate students are invited to present recently published work and work-in-progress.  All are invited to attend and participate in the discussion.

RSVP to [email protected].  Location of seminar may change if the number of RSVPs received exceeds the capacity of their conference room.   

6th Dorushe Graduate Conference in Syriac Studies

May 8-9, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 1-730pm: Hillel Meeting Room (80 Brown Street)
Monday, May 9, 9am-3pm: LIST 110 (64 College Street) 

Keynote addesses by:
Dr. Ute Possekel, Harvard University
"Go, and set up for yourselves excellent laws...": The School of Nisibis and Institutional Autonomy in Late Antique Education.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016
Hillel Meeting Room (80 Brown St.)

Professor Adam Becker, New York University
What is Syriac Christian Tradition(Is it any of the three?)

Monday, May 9, 2016
LIST 110 (64 College Street)

Conference registration is $25.  Keynotes are free and open to the public.

The conference is made possible through the generosity of Brown University's Department of Religious Studies, the Program in Judaic Studies, the Inernational Graduate Student Colloquium Fund, Middle Eastern Studies, the Program in Early Cultures, and the Royce Family Professorships of Teaching Excellence.