Torture, Abuse and Desecration in the Name of Religion

Torture, Abuse and Desecration in the Name of Religion: Visions, Actions, Justifications

May 7-9, 2017
Petteruti Lounge, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center

What constitutes torture, abuse and desecration, what role have they played in the
history of religions, and what role do they play in contemporary religious contexts? How have torture, abuse and desecration shaped religous discourse and how have such actions been justified in the name of religion? These are but a few of the questions we seek to address in this interdisciplinary and comparative conference on religion's relationship to torture, abuse and desecration through time and space (from antiquity to the present and from Iceland to India).  The conference will have four sessions, each with three presentations. Three sessions focus on historical periods while the fourth is devoted to theorizing aspects of torture, abuse and desecration in the name of religion.

1) Mediterranean and West Asian Antiquity (Sunday, May 7, 3-6pm)

Tracy Lemos, University of Western Ontario, "With Half of Her He Roofed the Sky: Theologies of Dismemberment in Ancient
West Asia."

Frances Flannery, James Madison University, "In-Group and Out-Group Formation in Hellenistic Judaism as a Commitment
Mechanism of Punishment."

Rebecca Falcasantos, Providence College, "Converting Bodies: Ritual Mutilation in Late Antique Religious Conflict."

Saul M. Olyan, Brown University (Session Chair)

2) Medieval/Early Modern Contexts (Monday, May 8, 9-12)

Susan Einbinder, University of Connecticut, "Medieval Perpetrator Trauma in the Wake of Anti-Jewish Violence."

Oren Falk, Cornell University, "The Icelandic Peace Corpse: A Socially Sensible Slaughter."

Anthony Bale, University of London, "The Violent Document, 1233: Jews and Christians, Justice and Memory, in the Norwich
Tallage Roll ."

Amy Remensnyder, Brown University (Session Chair)

3) Modern/Contemporary Contexts (1789-the present) (Monday, May 8, 2-5pm)

Hillel Kieval, Washington University, "Reading the Talmud in Vienna: Anti-Semites and Jews."

Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University, "Desecration as Self-Respect. Violation of Sacred Space in Modern India."

Bernard Haykel, Princeton University, "ISIS's Justification for the Destruction/Desecration of Archeological Sites."

David Frankfurter, Boston University (Session Chair)

4) Theorizing Torture, Abuse and Desecration (Tuesday, May 9, 9-12)

Ruth Marshall, University of Toronto, "Visions and Testimonies of Satanic Cabals/Attacks/Abuse and Forms of Spiritual
Counter-Attack in Contemporary Charismatic Christianity."

Anna Bigelow, NCSU, "Homecoming: Death, Coercion, and Spectacle of Belonging."

Shaul Magid, Indiana University, "Violence, Power, and Desecration as a Holy Act: Theorizing Meir Kahane's 'New Jew'."

Paul Nahme, Brown University (Session Chair)