annual report 2010-11
about the center for the study of religion and conflict
Religion wields extraordinary influence in public affairs. Although a rich reservoir of values, principles, and ideals, it is also a powerful source of conflict and violence as diverse traditions—religious and secular—collide. Globalizing trends that are making the world smaller are also unleashing dynamics that are creating some of the most complex and challenging problems of our age. The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University promotes interdisciplinary research and education on the dynamics of religion and conflict with the aim of advancing knowledge, seeking solutions and informing policy. By serving as a research hub that fosters exchange and collaboration across the university as well as with its broader publics—local, national, and global—the Center fosters innovative and engaged thinking on matters of enormous importance to us all. Committed to a model of scholarship that is transdisciplinary, collaborative and problem-focused, the Center stimulates new research by bringing together faculty and students from across the disciplines, creating links between the academic world and that of professionals, policymakers, practitioners and religious leaders, and fostering cross-cultural exchange through partnerships and collaborations with international scholars, students and institutions.
Table of Contents From the Director
Year in Review 2010–11
Faculty Advisory Committee John Carlson (Associate Director, CSRC), Religious Studies Terence Ball Political Science Abdullahi Gallab African & African American Studies Joel Gereboff Religious Studies Moses Moore Religious Studies Steven Neuberg Psychology Yasmin Saikia Peace Studies, History Sheldon Simon International Relations and Security Studies George Thomas Global Studies Hava Tirosh-Samuelson Jewish Studies Carolyn Warner Political Science Mark Woodward Religious Studies Staff Carolyn Forbes Assistant Director Laurie Perko Coordinator Research Support Chad Haines Research Fellow Maureen Olmsted Project Coordinator
Peace Studies L uce Project on Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender Research 8 Programs 12 Education 14 Friends of the Center
Linell Cady Director
Student Interns and Graduate Assistants, 2010-11 Matt Correa Diana Coleman Bret Lewis Richard Ricketts Derek Schuttpelz
message from the director
ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict continues to expand its profile as a leading site for transdisciplinary research and education. This Annual Report showcases some of the impressive research, the people and the programs from the past year. The size and number of the awards from federal agencies and private foundations for faculty research testify to the significance of this work. Projects range from those that focus explicitly on the causes of conflict and violence, to those that address practices and policies aimed at managing conflict and advancing a sustainable peace. A distinguishing feature of all of this research is its multidisciplinary approach that brings scholars with expertise from a range of disciplines together to address urgent problems. Recognizing the innovation and value of such collaboration, the Department of Defense honored our Minerva project with an award for “exceptional scientific achievements and contributions to the field of social cultural modeling” for advancing understanding of movements across the Muslim world that counter violent extremism. Further supporting our collaborative efforts, a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation is funding a new initiative that explores the role of religion in international affairs. Our project focuses on the intersections of religion, human rights, and gender, and the conflicts, movements and debates they have generated. In addition to funding a seminar that includes faculty from across the university, the project is supporting individual research projects, co-taught courses, and bringing a series of visiting scholars and practitioners to campus. This past year we were honored to have Marzia Basel join us as the Luce international fellow for a month’s residency at the Center. The appointment of Yasmin Saikia as the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies has greatly enhanced our initiative in developing research and education in which peace is a guiding focus. This included a major conference on women, Islam and peacebuilding held at ASU in March 2011. It brought together scholars and practitioners from ASU, the United States and abroad to address the increasingly important role that Muslim women are playing as individuals and as leaders and participants in broader movements to transform their societies. Linking research to rich educational opportunities for our students continues to be a top priority. Our Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, now in its eighth year, attracts some of the university’s most talented students for a unique blend of seminar and research internships. Our interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program, available to all students regardless of major, explores diverse approaches to the intersections of religion, conflict, and peacebuilding. Several dozen students have earned the certificate since its launch three years ago. Key to these advances has been a robust community that supports intellectual exchanges and sparks creative new thinking through conversations, colloquia, lectures, and conferences. We are grateful to have the continuing support of John and Dee Whiteman for our major public lecture series, “Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions, ” which brings leading intellectuals to campus to engage issues ranging from religion, politics and American identity to the shifting religious and political currents in the Middle East. I encourage you to read the report, explore our website, participate in our events, and contribute to our work. As always, we appreciate your interest, ideas and support as we work towards deepening understanding and creating a more peaceable world.
CSRC year in review
highlights from the 2010-11 academic year September
August Henry Luce Foundation awards grant to CSRC for project on “Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender”
Launch of Hardt-Nickachos Peace Studies Initiative • “How Do We Teach Peace?”, with ASU President Michael M. Crow, CSRC Director Linell Cady and Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies CSRC Minerva Project— Presentation at National Defense University in Washington
Yasmin Saikia joins CSRC as first holder of Hardt-Nickachos Peace Studies Chair
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Public Lecture Series • James Davidson Hunter and Alan Wolfe: “From Tea Parties to Textbooks: Religion, Politics and the Struggle for American Identity”
Announcement of 2010-11 CSRC Undergraduate Research Fellows CSRC Luce Seminar on Religion, Rights and Gender begins
Release of CSRC Director Linell Cady’s Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (Palgrave Macmillan, with Elizabeth Shakman Hurd)
CSRC Faculty Seminar on Religion and Revolution begins
November Two-day workshop on Kingian Non-violence Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker on Religion and Conflict • E liza Griswold: “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam” Conversations at the Center •C had Haines: “Afghanistan: States of Indeterminancy” • E velyn Early: “Rethinking Public Diplomacy: Religion Discourse in the Middle East” CSRC Fellow co-writes and performs in “Religious Persecution in the US: An Interactive Student Theater Project World-reknowned Gandhi scholar Dennis Dalton visits CSRC
December CSRC Luce Seminar on Religion, Rights and Gender Conversations at the Center • Elizabeth Shakman Hurd: “Law, Religion, and the Politics of International Human Rights” • Dan Philpott: “God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics”
Conversations at the Center • Rachel Cichowski: “Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Theory and Practice in Teaching and Research
CSRC Minerva Project wins DoD-HSCB award
Release of CSRC project director Carolyn Warner’s “Thinking about the Role of Religion in Foreign Policy: A Framework for Analysis,” Foreign Policy Analysis (with Steven Walker)
Luce International Fellow, Marzia Basel, begins month-long residency at CSRC
Release of CSRC project director Mark Woodward’s Java, Indonesia and Islam (Springer)
International Conference on “Women, Islam and Peacebuilding”
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions • Isobel Coleman: “Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East”
Conversations at the Center • Gershon Baskin: “Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible: Obstacles and Opportunities” • Charles Hirshkind: “Is There a Secular Body” • Marzia Basel: “Gender, Religion, and Human Rights: Afghanistan’s Changes and Challenges” • Merlyna Lim, “Revolution 2.0 in Egypt and Beyond”
CSRC Fellow wins Truman Scholarship
2010-11 Certificates in Religion and Conflict awarded
Film Festival and Symposium: “Living Conflicts in India, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine: Religion, Secularism and the Search for Peace”
Release of Templeton Research Fellows Brad Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz’s The Techno-Human Condition (MIT Press), booksigning event at Changing Hands
CSRC Research Fellow Chad Haines speaks at Phoenix Council of Foreign Relations
at the center for the study of religion and conflict Professor Yasmin Saikia joined the Center this past year as the first holder of the HardtNickachos Chair in Peace Studies. She grew up in the shadow of the 1971 Bangladesh war, inspiring a passion for peace that informs her teaching and research. The author of three books, her work focuses on movements for peace and reconciliation that exist alongside conflicts at the intersection of religion, history and culture in South Asia. This past year, Professor Saikia launched two new projects—“Learning Peace and Violence” and “Women, Islam and Peacebuilding”—the first a long-term study of children’s learning processes and socialization towards peace and violence in India, Pakistan and Palestine, the second a collaborative project that involved scholars and peacebuilders from many different countries. She also taught several new classes in peace studies— including one on Gandhi and the politics of nonviolence and another on peace movements in the Muslim world. Over the past year, we had the opportunity to discuss with Professor Saikia her vision for peace studies at ASU. Q: What is peace? Is it merely the opposite of war? I started thinking on this question more deeply during my fieldwork in Pakistan…I realized that the story not told is what happens to ordinary people like you and me. After a war is over, the so-called agreements of nation building, the treaties, are what is typically considered peace…but do human beings really find peace through these processes? For me peace is a very active verb. It is a harmony, an awareness of being part of a human community that unites diverse communities, unites you and me. It is not a byproduct of some disruption created by divided human communities, divided identities that you see in so much conflict today. I am not saying that these identities are immaterial nor should they be done away with. I am not talking about a utopian world where there are no categories but I don’t think we need to restrict ourselves to one way of being. Q: Your answer sounds very philosophical… I am giving a philosophical answer because it has been a process for me to learn that the discussion about peace is not just a matter of definition, it is an awareness building…how do we impassion people with the stories that we tell? Do we tell them the story that we are a human community or that those people are different and they’re here to destroy us? Do we
tell ourselves that to protect ourselves we must do violence? Must we teach others how to obey us or conform to our standards to have peace? What we are reading, how we are educating, how we approach a problem… it is crucial to understand the different avenues from which you can see peace. For me peace is connecting to the truth. The lie we must contend with is that we are inherently divided. As long as that lie is at the forefront of social consciousness…war and force and whatever other form of violence you can conceive will precede and dictate the terms of our lives and peace will be a byproduct of those terms. Q: What attracted you to ASU? I realized that I could just keep writing books, but that I did not become an academic for this purpose. The idea of becoming an academic, for me, was to create a certain kind of hope in the next generation. I saw myself as a teacher who should make some change in the way people live their lives. I realized that I needed to find a location that will encourage me and support me to think in this, idealistic you might say, way. So I started looking at ASU and one of the big factors in my choice to come here was Michael Crow. I listened to tapes of his university address in February of 2010. It was challenging, inspiring…there was an urgency that each person was called upon to do something at ASU…to really succeed…
not just at becoming good teachers and good researchers but in learning to interact, to dialogue, to seek a common ground. I was really stunned as this is where my research is focused. I am looking for the common ground of humanity on a large scale and here a university president was saying disciplines can talk, dialogue, exchange in an interdisciplinary and interpersonal manner. I see this as part of finding the non-divided world, so it was very inspiring to me. Q: What does your own identity have to do with the study of peace? I am from South Asia and a Muslim person. Muslims are, in many areas of the world, just seen as an object of terror, as if they are no longer human beings. But Islam, like all religions, is the product of a long history and tradition, so we must bring these aspects back into our conversations, not just the destruction that is constantly portrayed in the media. Right now the focus is on Muslims, but in the past others have held this notorious position as “the enemy” and there will be others in the future. I want to create an academic conversation that explores and reaches out to these vulnerable groups, whether it be women, Muslims, etc. to promote interfaith and interpersonal dialogue.
Q: How do you feel about the success of your first major event, the conference on Women, Islam and Peacebuilding? The conference itself was a major event spread over two days, with five formal panels, one public conversation between activists, a panel on local issues, and a dinner presentation. Nine of the presentations described peacebuilding activities carried out in international sites in Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Sudan, Nigeria, Iran, Bangladesh and Egypt. We had a very wide range of topics that were covered— theological, philosophical, normative, legal, Islamic feminism, and conflict resolution. After the two-days of discussion on this very new and innovative subject of “Women, Islam and Peacebuilding,” we wanted to take the conversation to another level and are currently at work on developing the papers for an edited book. Beyond the scholarship that invigorated me, the one-hour public conversation between the Sufi sheikha, Cemalnur Sargut, and social activist, Daisy Khan, was a true highlight for me. In the conversation between them they shared some of their concerns, but instead of delving on the problems they talked of the successes—the small and big steps that they have taken to move forward. I wondered if peace workers, politicians, policy makers, academics and activists could speak and engage each other with equal respect and appreciation, we can solve the world’s problem. These two women and the conversation between them have become my guides for thinking about peace and the power of discourse in a positive way to forge this goal in the future. One of the important elements for the success of the conference was the audience. It drew in a lot of people from the campus, students and faculty, as well as the public. Many have expressed to me that they now understand the role and work of Muslim women in contemporary Muslim societies much better. This empowering of students and public with new knowledge is a very successful outcome of the conference.
Q. What was your biggest challenge with this event? The biggest challenge we encountered concerned the changing dynamics in the Muslim world that prevented four of our invited speakers from attending, including problems with visas, the outbreak of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and concern about the potential for humanitarian crises. Q: How do you plan to capitalize on the success of this event? What are your plans for expanding peace studies at ASU? We immediately followed up this conference with a film festival that explored the dynamics of religion, secularism and the search for peace. We brought three filmmakers to ASU for discussion of these issues through the situation of India, Pakistan and Israel/Palestine. The enthusiasm of the participants at the conference
and the film festival have made me confident about the efforts we are making to establish peace studies at ASU. We are building a network of faculty at ASU engaged by these issues. We are working towards expanding the number and range of undergraduate courses offered in peace studies so that we don’t rely on my teaching alone. My goal is to engage a broad conversation on the issue of peace—its scope, meaning, and impact—in order to develop a peace theory emerging from the humanities that we, at the Center, can take a lead role in conceptualizing and disseminating to a wider audience. Interviews conducted by Carol Hughes, Senior Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Richard Ricketts, Media Intern with the center; edited and condensed by Richard Ricketts and Carolyn Forbes.
The Hardt-Nickachos Peace Studies Endowment was established within the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict to enhance research and teaching on the ideas, resources and practices that foster peace. The endowment helped create the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies and supports annual programs that bring attention to the study of peace. Peace Studies is conceived of as the broad interdisciplinary study of humanity’s imagination of peace and efforts to construct peace, found globally and throughout history, and in the future. Approaching peace as a dynamic, positive process that involves many dimensions and topics, Peace Studies explores the possibilities for peace expressed in philosophical, religious, social, political, and spiritual thought, as well as in diverse cultural and artistic forms, social movements, and institutions, within and across borders. The establishment of the Hardt-Nickachos Endowment in Peace Studies has long been the dream of emeritus professor Ann Hardt. Making a difference has always been her passion. As a professor in ASU’s College of Education, she taught classes in peace studies and cooperative learning. As a practitioner she trained people all over the world in non-violence and conflict resolution. And as an investor in the future, she and her late husband, Anthony (Tony) Nickachos, first created the Initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies, then created the endowment, to further teaching, research and international exchanges. Hardt gifts to the Center have already made a difference, establishing the chair, providing travel scholarships for students to learn about peace building directly from people in conflict zones, and bringing to campus leading scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of religion, conflict and peace studies. As Hardt says, “As a society we have studied war and violence…it’s time to teach peace at ASU.”
religion and international affairs
through the prism of rights and gender The Issues In the cover story of its July 29, 2010 issue, Time magazine featured a photo of an 18year old Afghan woman, Aisha, whose nose and ears had been sliced off as punishment for trying to escape her abusive household. The sentence was ordered by a Taliban commander and carried out by Aisha’s husband and brother-in-law. The cover starkly symbolized how human rights concerns—women’s rights in particular—have become pervasive and inextricable elements of international political life. But behind these rights violations, the article pointed out, powerful actors, ideas and interpretations—religious and secular—are at work. This story of Afghan women is but one illustration of a far-ranging, complex array of issues converging in international affairs around the nexus of human rights, religion, and gender: • Is secularism the only way for women to achieve equality? • Is religion inherently antithetical to women’s advancement? • Is the concept of human rights so associated with “the West” that it can never be a viable means for achieving women’s rights in non-Western countries? • Are there other religious and ethical traditions—about justice, human dignity, or good governance—that women and mean draw upon to support women’s concerns? • Do certain rights, principles, policies, presumptions, and institutions come at the expense of women?
It is this convergence of concerns that ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has set out to explore under the auspices of this two-year initiative funded by the Henry R. Luce Foundation’s Program in Religion and International Affairs.
The People The Luce Project engages a broad group of faculty from the humanities, social sciences and law in a seminar that promotes new research and teaching initiatives through cross-disciplinary exchanges, research grants and teaching awards, dialogue with visiting scholars and practitioners from the US and abroad, and the naming of a Luce International Fellow each year. Madelaine Adelman Associate Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry Linell Cady** Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies
John Carlson* Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Roxanne Doty Associate Professor of Political Science Alesha Durfee Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies
Miki Kittilson* Associate Professor of Political Science Mary Margaret Fonow Director of the School of Social Transformation and Professor of Women and Gender Studies Joan McGregor Professor of Philosophy
Tracy Fessenden Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Daniel Rothenberg Executive Director and Professor of Practice, Center for Law and Global Affairs
Stanlie James Professor and Head of Faculty of African and African American Studies
Yasmin Saikia Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies and Professor of History
Sally Kitch Founding Director of the Institute for Humanities Research and Regent’s Professor of Women and Gender Studies
Shahla Talebi Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Luce International Fellow
George Thomas Professor of Global Studies Rebecca Tsosie* Professor of Law, Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar, and Affiliate Professor of American Indian Studies Carolyn Warner** Professor and Head of Faculty of Political Science Reed Wood Assistant Professor of Political Science **Project Directors *Project Team Members
A central component of the initiative is the opportunity for extended engagement with leading practitioners from overseas who are at the forefront of change. Serving month-long residencies at the Center, Luce International Fellows engage with faculty, students and community members over an extended period of time. Marzia Basel, recognized for her leading role in advocating for women’s rights in Afghanistan as the founder and director of the Afghanistan Progressive Law Organization and the Afghan Women’s Judges Association, was named the first Luce International Fellow. “Basel was an obvious choice to serve as our first Luce International Fellow,” said Linell Cady. “Her background in international law and women and development, coupled with her experience with the Afghan legal system, put her at the forefront of working through the ways in which religion, gender, and rights are negotiated.” “I would request that you advise the U.S. government not to negotiate away advances for women…Peace without women’s rights is no peace at all. This is my message to you,” said Marzia Basel. Basel delivered this message repeatedly in a series of public talks, lectures to undergraduate classes, and in meetings with professors and student organizations during her month-long residency at the Center in March 2011. She observed courses in religious studies and law, participated in the Luce Seminar, visited courts and met with judges, and toured local organizations that address issues of domestic violence and women’s rights. She also met with Sandra Day O’Connor and testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington. In her talks, meetings and testimony, Basel addressed a variety of issues,
including the Afghanistan Constitution and the rule of law, the role of Shari’ah and customary law in Afghanistan and its impact on women’s rights, and the role of Islam in politics. “I tried to teach students about cultural obstacles to women’s rights in Afghanistan. How is Islam interpreted, and who makes those decisions? One thing I wanted to make clear is that the Taliban is not the voice for what Islam is in Afghanistan. It’s a basic point that needs to be repeated--not all Muslims are extremists,” said Basel. “I believe that Islam’s protections for women in terms of divorce and property law make it one of the best religions for protecting women’s rights,” she said. “It is extremist, false and uneducated interpretations that I fear.” Basel, who holds degrees in law and political science from Kabul University and a master’s in international law and comparative studies from George Washington University, worked as a judge in civil and criminal courts in Afghanistan. She founded the Afghan Women Judges Association and the Afghan Progressive Law Organization to address those fears. “By providing support and education to judges and lawyers, I think it will be possible to counter these extreme interpretations,” she said. Basel also wanted to drive home several points about history and culture. “I wanted to challenge the idea that the status of women’s rights in Afghanistan has more or less always been in the same spot that it is now,” said Basel. “In reality, what we have seen is the ascent of an extremist version of Islam in Afghanistan that is powerful, but not representative of the ways most Afghans want to live, or of how people in Afghanistan used to live. If the Taliban returns, the first victims will be women.”
advances knowledge through cross-disciplinary engagement develops new creates international networks Minerva Research Initiative: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter-radical Muslim Discourse Funder: Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative The rise of Islamic extremism is among the most critical issues facing the global community in the twenty-first century. The diffusion of exclusivist, extremist interpretations of Islam is not just a threat to non-Muslims but to Muslim communities as well. In addition to the perpetration of violence, extremists seek to effect cultural change across the Muslim world to facilitate their agendas, in areas ranging from traditional religious practice to gender relations. Although there is a substantial literature on Muslim extremism, very little is known about the movements within Muslim communities actively working to counter violent extremism. This collaborative, multi-disciplinary project addresses that gap through a systematic effort to examine the types and complexity of the counterextremist movements, ideas, discourses and networks that are critical to the containment and eventual defeat of radical extremists. The project employs an integrated set of methodologies to explore these contesting discourses and movements across three culturally, historically and linguistically distinct regions: Southeast Asia, West Africa and Western Europe. Extremist movements are present in each region, and are actively contested by counter movements. Moving beyond the assumption that counter radical discourse necessarily focuses on politics, this study examines the full range of religious, social, political and cultural responses to Muslim extremists within these areas. By using ethnographic and discourse analysis, survey research, and web mining to map locally defined counter-narratives to extremist ideologies found in these regions—including ritual performance and symbolic action—the project addresses a number of emerging themes. These include:
the interaction of local and global issues in radical and counter-radical discourse; the role of women’s empowerment movements in advancing counter-radical discourse; the degree to which theologically conservative groups rooted in local cultures offer effective counter-extremist strategies; and the role of popular culture in spreading counterextremist messages across the Muslim world. A striking feature of the innovative research design of the project is the leading role of the humanities. Scholars in the humanities have a rich history of studying the philosophical, social and historical dimensions of distinct cultures, enabling them to identify nuances that are critical for understanding how counter-radicalism works on the ground across diverse communities and regions. By linking the deep knowledge of area experts and scholars of religious and Islamic studies with the quantitative and computational expertise of social and computer scientists, the project produces a more complex picture of the flow and influence of counter-radical ideas and movements than each approach could produce on its own. The project has been recognized with an award for “exceptional scientific achievements and contributions to the field
of social cultural modeling” by the Human Social Culture Behavior (HSCB) Modeling Program of the Department of Defense for strengthening the U.S. government’s understanding of movements within Muslim communities actively working to counter violent extremism. Principal Investigator and Project Director Mark Woodward, Arizona State University Co-principal Investigators and Project Team Steven Corman, Arizona State University Hasan Davulcu, Arizona State University David Jacobson, University of South Florida Riva Kastoryano, Sciences Po (France) Muhammad Sani Umar, Northwestern University Arun Sen, Arizona State University Thomas Taylor, Arizona State University Partner Institutions Northwestern University CERI-Sciences Po (France) University of South Florida
strategies and policy insight Comparative Secularisms: Religion, Politics, Gender Funder: Ford Foundation Disputes over the nature and legitimacy of the secular state and society have exploded in recent decades both in the United States and abroad. Religious actors and movements increasingly challenge, and sometimes violently resist, the secular consensus that has dominated politics and policy in modern democratic states. Greater understanding of the nature and varieties of secularism is urgently needed to move past polarized and increasingly inflammatory positions that pit an antireligious secularism against religious actors suspicious if not hostile to the secular state and society. Over the past four years, the project has explored the politics of the dominant public narratives that shape attitudes, perceptions, and conflicts at the interface of religion and the secular. By engaging an international network of scholars, the project has fostered new conversations and new frameworks for addressing the challenges of religious pluralism within the new global order. Early insights and findings from the project have been published in the edited volume Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age
(Palgrave MacMillan, 2010). The project also revealed an emerging set of conflicts at the crossroads of religions and the secular regarding gender and the status of women. A second volume on this topic is forthcoming. Principal Investigator and Project Director Linell Cady, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University Co-principal Investigators and Project Team Rajeev Bhargava, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi John Carlson, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University
interdisciplinary seminar on these issues, the aim of this project is to generate a set of theories, frameworks and proposals that investigate, in a coordinated and complementary way, issues related to why, how, and under what circumstances religion contributes to intergroup conflict, on the one hand, and intergroup peace, on the other. The project aims to develop a theory- and data-based model of the factors and processes that create conflict. It then “injects” into this model a consideration of how religious discourse, practice, community, and institutions may facilitate or inhibit these conflict mechanisms. The goal is a conceptual model, representing an interlinked set of hypotheses, that offers predictions about where, how, under what circumstances and for whom religion-influenced conflict could emerge.
José Casanova, Georgetown University
Principal Investigator and Project Director
Tracy Fessenden, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University
Steven Neuberg, Department of Psychology
Nilüfer Göle, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University
The Dynamics of Religion and Conflict Funder: National Science Foundation The role of religion in fostering conflict, from the more civil to the more violent, has become increasingly apparent in the contemporary world. Questions surrounding this topic are numerous and wide-ranging. Does religion necessarily foster conflict, even violence? What conditions (cultural, psychological, social, economic, political) tend to foster religious conflict? Is there any significant difference between religious conflict/violence and other forms of group conflict/violence? There is a significant need to bring a variety of disciplinary perspectives together to explore the intersections of religion, conflict, and violence. Emerging from an
Co-principal Investigators and Project Team Benjamin Broome, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication Roger Millsap, Department of Psychology David Schaefer, School of Social and Family Dynamics Thomas Taylor, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences George Thomas, School of Politics and Global Studies Carolyn Warner, School of Politics and Global Studies Michael Winkelman, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
The Role of Religious Beliefs in Generosity Funder: Science of Generosity Initiative, John Templeton Foundation Common sense suggests that the more generous a society is, the more peaceful it is—and empirical evidence shows that charitable giving across the world is heavily dependent upon the generosity of the major world religions. But outside of a narrow set of studies on Protestant denominations in the United States, the mechanisms that cause believers and organizations to give are not well understood. What specific religious beliefs and institutions promote generosity? Do these vary across religious traditions? Do religions promote generosity toward their own members as well as others, or do religions tend to favor members of their own community? How, if at all, do taxation, social welfare arrangements and religion-state regulations affect the generosity of adherents of different religions? This project aims to answer these questions through a comparative study of Catholics and Muslims in Europe—religions that claim 1.1 billion and 1.5 billion adherents worldwide. By combining insight and methods from the disciplines of political science and social psychology, this project has significant policy ramifications. In addition to providing critical theoretical tests, this project also provides new insight into the types of interventions that might be relevant to increasing generosity. Principal Investigator and Project Director Carolyn Warner, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University Co-principal Investigators and Project Team
Ethnic and Religious Influences on Forgiveness for Mass Atrocities
Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology
Funder: National Science Foundation
Funder: Metanexus Institute/John Templeton Foundation
Human history is replete with examples of groups committing mass atrocities against each other. The effects of some of the more recent such as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide committed by the Turks, and slavery in the United States can still be felt today. The scars from these tragedies run deep and across generations, with the capacity to breed negative emotions and mistrust that can prevent positive intergroup relations and exacerbate conflict between groups. Is forgiveness possible in such a situation? If so, how? In what ways do religious and ethnic identities play a part? The goal of this project is to generate new data-based insights into the role that ethnic and religious identities play in intergroup relations as well as enhancing understanding of a set of processes that have direct implications for the lives of individuals and groups across the globe. Principal Investigator and Project Director Adam Cohen, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University Co-principal Investigators and Project Team Joel Gereboff, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University Moses Moore, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University Ara Norenzayan, Psychology Department, University of British Columbia Steve Neuberg, Psychology Department, Arizona State University
Adam Cohen, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University Ramazan Kilinc, Department of Political Science, Michigan State University
Humanity stands at the precipice of a new phase in human evolution. Referred to as “posthumanism” or “transhumanism,” this new phase is emerging due to the confluence of new developments in the life sciences (e.g., genomics, stem–cell research, genetic enhancement, germ–line engineering,), technology (i.e., robotics, nanotechnology, pattern recognition technologies), and neurosciences (e.g., neuro–pharmacology and artificial intelligence). Today human beings are not only able to enhance their own performance and make important strides against devastating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and AIDS, but also to endow humanly–engineered traits to future generations. The new technologies may be able to produce human beings with enhanced capabilities who will live longer and provide the capacity to create and modify (i.e., clone and engineer) all forms of life. In the transhuman phase, humans will become their own makers, transforming their environment and themselves. Proponents of transhumanism believe that advances in robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and genomics will liberate humanity from pain and suffering. Presumably, in the transhuman age humanity will conquer the problems of aging, disease, poverty, and hunger, finally actualizing happiness in this life. Yet, many people, especially those committed to a religious outlook, intuitively recoil from the transhuman vision and find within that vision an affront to human dignity. It is precisely the belief that humans are created by God in the image of God that leads many people (including religious scientists) to resist the transhuman vision as a new hubris that will destroy humanity by “redefining” it, and further endanger life on our vulnerable planet through unforeseeable consequences. They argue that
transhumanism promotes a utopian vision rooted in a host of unstated assumptions about the meaning of being human. To face the challenges of transhumanism, this project engaged an interdisciplinary group of faculty in a six-year seminar that debated the complex religious, philosophical, social, environmental, cultural, legal and policy issues. Over the course of the project, the seminar engaged visiting scholars and practitioners through workshops and conferences, and engaged the public through a series of public lectures titled “The Templeton Research Lectures at ASU: Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism.” By taking an interdisciplinary approach, the project did not treat ‘science’ and ‘religion’ as two reified a–historical categories, thus avoiding the pitfalls of seeing them as necessarily in conflict with each other or as separate and unrelated spheres. Rather, by taking an interdisciplinary approach that was attentive to culture, social institutions, and history, the project produced a series of ground-breaking books on the challenges of transhumanism. Principal Investigator and Project Director Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and Director of Jewish Studies, Arizona State University
Jewish Faith and Modern Science: On the Death and Rebirth of Jewish Philosophy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008) Norbert M. Samuelson
Seminar Members (2006-2011) Brad Allenby, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Andrew Askland, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Stephen Batalden, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Linell Cady, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and Director of the Center of the Study of Religion and Conflict Guy Cardineau, School of Life Sciences Eugene Clay, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Adam Cohen, Department of Psychology Jerry Coursen, Harrington Department of Bioengineering Brian Gratton, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Marjorie Kornhauser, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Barry Leshowitz, Department of Psychology Gary Marchant, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Joan McGregor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religions Studies Kenneth Mossman, School of Life Sciences Craig Nagoshi, Department of Psychology Jason Robert, School of Life Sciences Barry Ritchie, Department of Physics Norbert Samuelson, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Daniel Sarewitz, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes Cynthia Selin, School of Sustainability Jameson Wetmore, School of Human Evolution and Social Change Michael White, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Ted Guleserian, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies David Guston, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes Steven Hoffman, School of Life Sciences David Kader, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
H+/-: Transhumanism & Its Critics (Xlibris, 2011) Gregory Hansell and William Grassie (editors)
The Techno-Human Condition (MIT Press, 2011) Braden R. Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz
Building Better Humans?: Refocusing the Debate on Transhumanism (Peter Lang International) Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Kenneth Mossman (editors)
Forthcoming: Designing Our Destiny: Directed Evolution and the Human Future (John Hopkins Press) Maxwell J. Mehlman
explore the relationship between enrich the life of the campus and community deepen global understanding
“ I think what distinguishes “ Conflict is not really that religious women peacedifficult to teach about…what makers from secular and is difficult to teach is peace, traditional approaches are as that is something that the sources of inspiration, humanity has rarely seen…” their faith and spirituality… — Michael M. Crow, President of many of these women Arizona State University, at the launch of the Hardt-Nickachos Peace see their peace work as a Studies Initiative, September 29, service to God which keeps 2010. them motivated to continue despite the challenges they face. What makes religious “ One of the most important features of the late modern and women’s peace making post secular world is the place and role of religion. Though different is their unique long assumed in the West to be a relic of an earlier epic experiences…in some cases, and of past regimes, religion, as sacred cosmology, and the their marginalization from communities and practices that embody them, is a central formal mechanisms. These and now enduring part of an ongoing legitimation crisis… experiences lead them to develop a unique perspective Religion is part and parcel of the intractable dynamics of late modern pluralism and as such, it deepens conflicts, partly by on issues relating to grounding competing claims of legitimacy in the symbols of peacemaking.” transcendence…” — Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana , founder and associate director of the Salaam Institute for Peace and Justice and a faculty member in peace and conflict resolution at American University (Washington), who presented as part of the conference “Women, Islam and Peacebuilding” held at the Center from March 10-11, 2011. The conference brought together an international group of scholars and practitioners from across the Muslim world. Papers from the conference are currently being edited for publication.
— James Davison Hunter, Labrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory at the University of Virginia and Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture discussing the current state of religion and politics in American life, with Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and Linell Cady, Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, as part of the center’s, “Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Lecture Series” in October 2010.
“ We didn’t approach the film trying to say this side was right and this side was wrong…Given the pain and loss, we were amazed to find people who were willing to move past that and find a way to end the cycle of violence. And they did it by finding common ground in the non-violence movement.” — Jim Hanon, writer and director, “Little Town of Bethlehem,” who spoke at the April 14 film festival and symposium, “Living Conflicts in India, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine: Religion, Secularism and the Search for Peace.”
religion, society and culture
“ What I discovered is that the most important and overlooked religious conflicts of our times are those within religions, not between them. Between Christian and Christian and between Muslim and Muslim over who has the right to speak for God, who is a true believer and who is not…No religious community or tradition has “ In the last 50 years we’ve seen the rise of a political narrative, political Islamism, which has a monopoly on religious equated women’s rights with negative things…yet women are finding a new language. It’s violence.” actually not even that new, this is a language that goes back centuries, it’s a language of — Eliza Griswold, foreign Islamic feminism, where Muslim women say we want our rights, not because of some universal correspondent, Schwartz Fellow rights declaration, not because of what the West is telling us, not because of something we’re at the New America Foundation, seeing on TV that’s inauthentic to our own society, we want our rights because they are and author of “The Tenth Parallel: culturally a part of our tradition and of our religion. It just hasn’t been practiced that way in a Dispatches from the Fault Line very long time.” Between Christianity and Islam,” speaking as the 2010 Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker on Religion and Conflict.
— Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East, speaking as part of the “Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions” lecture series on March 31, 2011.
deepens global understanding inspires new approaches to religiously-charged conflict UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWS PROGRAM An outstanding group of students is selected each year to participate in the Center’s Undergraduate Research Fellows Program. The program features an enriched seminar experience that includes working directly with faculty on research projects related to religion and conflict and learning from visiting scholars and practitioners. Fellows are also awarded scholarships made possible through annual gifts to the Friends of the Center.
Undergraduate Research Fellows, 2010-11 Nesima Aberra Majors: Journalism, Mass Communications Faculty Mentor: Mark Lussier, Professor of English Project: “Romantic Dharma: The Emergence of Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century Europe”
“ I loved my research placement. [The professor I worked with] is a wonderful mentor and he really helped me develop as a student. The work he assigned me was substantive, challenging, and interesting.” Cameron Bean Majors: Political Science, Sociology Faculty Mentor: Mark Woodward, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Project: “Finding Allies for the War of Words: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter Radical Muslim Discourse”
“ I particularly enjoyed being able to talk with authors about their work when they came to our class. Those opportunities to interact with the scholars were incredibly interesting and a rare opportunity for undergraduate students.” Anna Bethancourt Major: English Faculty Mentor: Victor Peskin, Assistant Professor of Global Studies Project: “Post Conflict Reconciliation in Former Yugoslav States” achel Bishop R Majors: Global Studies, Religious Studies Faculty Mentor: John Carlson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Project: “Religion and Violence in American History” Alli Coritz Majors: Religious Studies, Global Studies Faculty Mentor: Barton Lee, Faculty Associate of Jewish Studies Project: “Derekh Eretz: Moral Conduct in Jewish Law, Custom and Practice”. ahid Hiermandi N Major: Global Health Faculty Mentor: Owen Anderson, Associate Professor of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, West Campus Project: “Developing a New Textbook for Religion 100 Classes” Tye Rabens Majors: Journalism, English Faculty Mentor: Abdullahi Gallab, Assistant Professor of African and African-American Studies and Religious Studies Project: “‘Signposts’ in the Track of Global Jihad”
Jenny Reich Major: Religious Studies Faculty Mentor: Abdullahi Gallab, Assistant Professor of African and African-American Studies and Religious Studies Project: “‘Signposts’ in the Track of Global Jihad”
“ Overall it was a class I would take over again in a heartbeat since it really is rare to be in such a small environment with the ability to speak with people from differing academic backgrounds!” Bryan Tom Majors: Economics, Political Science) Faculty Mentor: Mark Woodward, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Project: “Finding Allies for the War of Words: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter Radical Muslim Discourse” Levi Wolf Majors: Geography, Political Science Faculty Mentor: Eugene Clay, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Project: “Interconfessional Conflict in Russia, 1900-2002”.
“ I expected to get an interesting opportunity to research contemporary issues relevant to religion, geography, and politics. However, the fellowship provided much more than the research. The seminar was enlightening and engaging, providing me with an opportunity to connect with a diverse population of students all interested in roughly the same subjects in a tight-knit forum…the seminar benefited me immensely.” 14
teaches peace Center Fellow wins Truman Award Helping a Bhutanese refugee family when she was an ASU freshman sparked a passionate interest in human rights for Danielle Bäck. Her desire intensified as she became more involved in student justice organizations. Last year she founded the ASU Coalition for Human Rights, mobilizing a dozen different student groups to coordinate their far-flung efforts. Now the ASU economics junior and former undergraduate research fellow with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has won a Truman Scholarship, the nation’s highest undergraduate leadership award. The $30,000 award is given to about 60 college juniors each year who show outstanding leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference” in a career in public service. ASU has had 17 Truman Scholars in the past 20 years, one of the best records of any public university. Bäck grew up in Chandler, the daughter of a Lutheran minister who also is a psychiatric nurse. This piqued her interest in medicine, and as she got more involved at ASU she became aware of how much public health and human rights are intertwined, especially in developing nations. Thanks to a Flinn Scholarship and programs like the Center’s Hardt Scholarship in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies, Bäck has been able to travel and study in the Middle East and Africa during breaks from school, including her work with the Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegation in Israel and the West Bank in the summer of 2010, which affected her deeply. “Seeing Israelis and Palestinians protesting together was transformative for me,” she said. “Because of the blockade on Gaza, 80 percent of the people in Gaza are dependent on the United Nations for food, and there are shortages of necessary medical supplies. Patients are prevented from leaving to receive specialized treatment, and doctors are often denied requests to receive additional
training abroad. The medical system is on the brink of collapse.” A core component of Bäck’s approach to social transformation is non-violence, a topic she was able to delve into as part of the Center’s undergraduate research fellows program. One of the speakers that students met that year was Sharon Nepsted, a professor from the University of New Mexico who delivered the center’s Annual Lecture in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies that year. “After hearing Dr. Nepsted’s talk on the role of religious non-violent movements in bringing about peaceful change,” she said, “I have been determined to learn all I can about them, especially in the Middle East where such groups do not get media attention.” During her undergraduate fellowship with the Center, Bäck carried out research related to gender, human rights, and polygamy in Southeast Asia as part of a project on Muslim counter-radical discourse directed by Mark Woodward, an associate professor of religious studies and faculty affiliate with the Center.
After graduate school, Bäck plans to work with a public health organization in the Middle East, eventually taking a leadership position within an international health organization such as Doctors Without Borders or Physicians for Human Rights. Speaking passionately about her generation’s future at the Center’s Fall 2010 event, “How Do We Teach Peace?,” Bäck’s said, “we in the U.S. can use non-violence and socially responsible investing to promote human rights, advocating for sustainable solutions to help stop human rights abuses around the world.” Sara Auffret, ASU News, with additional reporting by Alli Coritz.
Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict The undergraduate certificate program allows students from any major to pursue a cross-disciplinary program of study. Established with support from the Ford Foundation, the program includes courses from faculty in ten different fields of study, including such topics as “Religion, Violence and Conflict Resolution,” “Religion, Ethics and International Affairs,” “National Security and International Terrorism, and “Gandhi and the Politics of Non-violence.” The program began awarding certificates in 2009 and since then has graduated 34 students, including the following students who earned certificates in 2010-11: •E mily Adams (Political Science and Religious Studies) • I brahim Birgeoglu (Political Science) •A lli Coritz, (Global Studies, Religious Studies and Geography)
•D imple Dhanani (Religious Studies) • S hana Dominguez (Religion and Applied Ethics) •A ria Gehrmann (Women and Gender Studies) •N icole Gordon (Religious Studies) • S ummer Kamal (Political Science •K aitlin Keirsted (Global Studies) • Vanessa Miranda (Justice Studies) •M ax Pardo (Global Studies) •R obert Pavlovic (History) •D erek Schuttpelz (Religious Studies) •A licia Somsen (Religious Studies) •C hristen White (Anthropology and Religious Studies) •M icah Wimmer (Chemistry) •Z ackary Withers (Religion and Applied Ethics)
•M elody Dernocoeur (Global Studies)
of the center for the study of religion and conflict Friends of the Center provide annual gifts to help support the research and education initiatives of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. Gifts to the Friends of the Center help expand student fellowship programs; bring innovative scholars, writers and practitioners to campus; and help build a network for research and dissemination that includes students, faculty, professionals, practitioners and policy experts. The Center thanks the many friends that contributed to our sustained progress during the 2010-11 academic year.
John and Dee Whiteman have a passion for education. Well known for their commitment to learning at every age, the Whitemans award an annual grant to the Center in support of the “Alternative Visions” lecture series. “Our goal,” said Dee Whiteman, “is to see opportunities created for students and the public to hear about what is going on around the globe from those at the cutting edge of understanding these conflicts. We believe strongly in education and what the Center is doing.”
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