UCB: Religion, Politics and Globalization Program Spring 2013 Lecture Series

February 6, 2013

The Religion, Politics and Globalization Program (RPGP) at UC Berkeley is happy to announce their upcoming spring lecture series. RPGP will be having events on the Gulen movement in Turkey, the ethical practices of religious "nones", and the Peoples Temple and African American politics. Details are below.


Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gűlen Movement M. Hakan Yavuz University of Utah
Monday February 25, 12-2
201 Moses Hall (map)

On the basis of extensive fieldwork and research, Yavuz will offer a theoretically guided and empirically rooted narrative of alternative Islamic forms of modernity by focusing on Turkey and the Gülen movement.
The talk will examine the interplay between ideology, faith, and socioeconomic and political factors in fostering pathways to specific forms of modernity and development. He will argue that the Gülen movement represents not only an alternative Islamic form of modernity but also a force to recast the boundary between state and society; the self and community; and between reason and revelation. By tracing the movement’s historical and social development, Yavuz will examine how a marginalized and persecuted pietistic community evolved into a major transnational religious and social reform movement with the aim of fostering an Islamic Enlightenment.

M.Hakan Yavuz is a professor of political science at the University of Utah. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, the Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, and the Balkans, examining the relationship between Islam and nationalism and the preservation and dissemination of Islamic knowledge under socialism. He is an author of more than 40 articles on Islam, Islamic modernity, nationalism, Kurdish and Armenian questions, and modern Turkish politics. His most recent book is Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gülen Movement (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Research on Social Change.


Being Good Without (Much) God: Ethical Practices of the Religiously Unaffiliated Elizabeth Drescher Santa Clara University
Wednesday March 13, 12-2p
223 Moses Hall (map)

Much attention has been focused of late on the so-called “Nones”—people who do not identify or affiliate with traditional religions. While a number of Nones identify as atheists or agnostics, most do not, with the majority retaining a belief in God or a Universal Spirit. Still, though their practices may draw from traditional religions, they are often generously seasoned with other approaches to meaning-making, self-realization, and social engagement that fall outside religious frameworks. As the population of Nones grows, it is reasonable to consider what impact this might have on the development personal and public values and associated ethical practices. Drawing on interviews and narrative surveys with Nones across the country, this talk will offer a preliminary exploration of the ethical practices of Nones, considering how these may be shaping a new ethical ethos in the United States.

Elizabeth Drescher, PhD is a scholar, writer, and public speaker whose work focuses on spirituality and meaning-making in everyday life. She teachers religion and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University, is a journalism fellow with the Social Science Research Council’s “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” project, and a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches. She is currently at work at on Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones (Forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2014).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Social Change


Peoples Temple , Jim Jones and Black America James L. Taylor University of San Francisco
Wednesday April 10, 12-2
223 Moses Hall (map)

This talk explores a line of inquiry that seeks to recover the "black dimension" of the Peoples Temple movement in California during the Civil Rights and Black Power era. From a full-length book project, this talk situates Peoples Temple within the context of concurrent trends in Southern and Northern California religious movements and development. Its controversial thesis claims that Peoples Temple, the movement, massacre, and aftermath were a first answer to the question posed in Martin Luther King's final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Taylor argues that chaos was chosen, and remains evident across many of the social, economic, and spiritual categories which King addresses in his book. A decade later, Peoples Temple portended the tragic turn in social policy such as the War on Drugs and mass incarceration.

James Lance Taylor is Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at University of San Francisco. He is the author of Black Nationalism in the United States: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama, a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2011. He is co-editor and an author with Katherine Tate (UC Irvine) and Mark Sawyer (UCLA) of Something’s in the Air: Race and the Legalization of Marijuana(Routledge, 2013), focusing on controversies concerning race and marijuana legalization. His lecture draws on his current research into the Peoples Temple movement and African American political history.

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