September 18, 2008
Religious and Political Identities: The Mediterranean Since 1492
At the first Berkley/Van Leer workshop, participants engaged the theme "Religious/Political Identities in the Mediterranean" from a variety of historical perspectives. The first session reviewed "The Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to 15th Century: Empires, World-Systems, Civilizations, Religious Regimes", with papers on Catholicism, Islam, and the great capital cities of the era. The next session focused on the region's four major religious traditions: Latin Christianity, Eastern Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The third session considered patterns of interaction and modes of religious pluralism, and included a discussion of convivencia in medieval Spain. Further topics of discussion included the emergence of the modern national territorial state, the rise of the Ottoman Empire, and Eastern Mediterranean Christians. The workshop closed with a discussion of the next project meeting, to be held in Jerusalem in July 2009.
Aziz Al-Azmeh, Central European University
Yaron BenNaeh, Hebrew University
Jose Casanova, Georgetown University
Yochi Fischer, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Molly Green, Princeton University
Heath Lowry, Princeton University
Gabriel Motzkin, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Uri Ram, Ben Gurion University
Jonathan Ray, Georgetown University
Aviel Roshwald, Georgetown University
John Voll, Georgetown University
This workshop marks the beginning of a collaborative research project between The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University on "Religious and Political Identities: the Mediterranean since 1492," with the aim of rethinking anew the transformations in the relations between religions, political identities and political institutions throughout the Mediterranean basin from early modernity to the present.
The project will address the ongoing transformations of the major religions of the region -- Judaism, Christianity (both Eastern and Latin ) and Islam in relation to changes in political institutions and communal identities across three different periods: a) from the emergence of the Ottoman empire and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain to the time of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt, b) from the emergence of the modern secular state and modern nationalism in the Western Mediterranean to its various configurations in the post-Ottoman territories, and c) the contemporary de-stabilization of secular national projects and the reinvigoration of religious political identities and movements from the 1960s to the present.
José Casanova is one of the world's top scholars in the sociology of religion. He is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, and heads the Berkley Center's Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular. He has published works in a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions, and sociological theory. His best-known work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field and has been translated into five languages, including Arabic and Indonesian. In 2012, Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize from the Salzburger Hochschulwochen in recognition of life-long achievement in the field of theology.
John Voll is Professor of Islamic History and Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University. From 1965-1995 Voll taught and researched at the University of New Hampshire. He...