AN N UAL
R E P O R T
Message from the Director
he Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict pursues a dual focus when it comes to the religious dynamics of conflict and peace. Without addressing the myriad causes of conflict, peace is just a pipe dream. But peacebuilding cannot be reduced to the study of conflict alone. Advancing peace invariably introduces a transformative dimension into conflict zones— thinking differently, valuing differently, relating differently. The past year has seen a dispiriting array of sites of conflict, intolerance and violence, often with religious overtones, across our world. From the increasing challenge of rising sectarian violence to puzzles about the centrality of women and gender in religiously-inflected conflict, our faculty work together to tackle problems that require expertise across multiple domains. Repeatedly we see how critical it is to move beyond a narrow focus on the present if we are to understand and address the memories and motives that trap societies in cycles of violence. Our work in peace studies this past year—including lectures, seminars and a conference on “Contesting Visions of Peace”—highlighted the multiple ways peace is imagined. The take away was clear: how we envision peace, far from being a utopian idea, shapes perceptions, expectations, and choices in the present. I invite you to browse through this report to learn more about the people, programs, and initiatives that make up the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. We are grateful for the generosity of so many of you for supporting our work and for helping us to expand our educational programs. Take a look at the stories of Mariha Syed and Galen Lamphere-Englund to see what a difference this support makes in the lives of just two of our students.
Table of Contents
CSRC Year in Review
Major Events The Religion of No Religion: Or How We Became ‘Spiritual, Not Religious’
God Is Not One: Religious Tolerance in an Age of Extremism
The Religious Foundations of US Foreign Policy
Special Section An Interview with Rami Khouri: The Top 5 Misconceptions about Revolutions in the Middle East Friends of the Center: Making a Difference
Research Connecting Countries Through Scholars
Does religion turn weak groups violent?
From Faculty Seminar to Global Survey
Religion and Gender in Global Affairs New Book Questions Conventional Wisdom
New Grant Examines Influences on Women in High Courts
Literature, Culture, Globalization: New Partnership Advances International Exchange Faculty in the News
Education Undergraduate Research Fellows, 2013-14
Friends of the Center Research Awards
Biochem Major Explores New Perspectives
Student Explores Conflict Transformation Through Film, Music
Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict
About the Center
CSRC Year in Review Highlights from the 2013-14 Academic Year
NSF grant awarded to Miki Kittilson and Valerie Hoekstra, “International Influences on Appointments to High Courts”
Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies • Najeeba Sayeed-Miller: “Actual Peacemaking”
State Department grant awarded to Nadia Anjum, Deborah Clarke, Carolyn Forbes, Neal Lester, Claudia Sadowski-Smith, and Yasmin Saikia, “University Partnership with Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan: Globalizing Research and Teaching of American Literature”
AIPS Visiting Fellow Muhammad Shoaib begins residency at CSRC
Announcement of 2013–14 Undergraduate Research Fellows
Conversations at the Center
Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series
• I ra Chernus: “War Against Evil: The Religious Foundations of US Foreign Policy” Community Panel Discussions • J ohn Carlson, Alan Gomez: “‘Closing’ Guantanamo” (Guantanamo Public Memory Project@Phoenix Public Library)
Minerva Research Presentation, Washington, D.C. Hardt-Nickachos Peace Research Seminar ongoing Conversations at the Center
Release of Director Linell Cady and Tracy Fessenden’s Religion, the Secular, and the Politics of Sexual Difference Columbia University Press
• Larry Iannoccone: “The Decline of Religiosity?”
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Lecture Series • Stephen Prothero: “God is Not One: Religious Tolerance in an Age of Extremism”
Release of “Why Do We Fear?” A video essay by CSRC affiliates Neal Lester and Steven Neuberg
•W orkshop on “Innovation, Secularization, Eschatology”, with John Evans, Nassar Zakariya, Margo Boenig-Liptsin, and Ben Hurlbut
February CSRC Minerva All-Hands Meeting
March Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series
Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies
Friends of the Center Student Research Awards Announced
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Lecture Series
Publication of CSRC project directors Steve Neuberg and Carolyn Warner’s “Religion and Intergroup Conflict: Findings from the Global Group Relations Project” in Psychological Science Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker on Religion and Conflict
• Rami Khouri: “Sectarianism, Secularism and Statehood: Challenges and Change that Shape the Middle East” Conversations at the Center
• Michael Zimmerman: “The Technological Singularity: A Crucial Event in God’s SelfActualization?” Conversations at the Center • Ken Wald: “The Choosing People: The Puzzles of American Jewish Voting”
2012-13 Certificates in Religion and Conflict awarded • Workshop on “Contesting Visions of Peace”, with Samuel Moyn, Ranabir Samaddar, Zillah Eisenstein, Amyn Sajoo Conversations at the Center
CSRC Minerva Program Review and Research Briefing, Washington, DC
Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender a project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation
• Apple Hill Musicians: “Playing for Peace: A Panel Discussion on Music and Peace”
• J onathan Ebel, “Safety, Soldier, Scapegoat: Pat Tillman and American Civil Religion”
• Jeffrey Kripal: “America and the Religion of No Religion: Or How We Got to ‘I am Spiritual but Not Religious’”
•V alentina Bartolucci: “Soft Power and Web 2.0: Public Diplomacy as AntiTerrorism” (with Center for Strategic Communication)
Conversations at the Center • Alessandro Monsutti: “Fuzzy Sovereignty”
Arizona Humanities Council/Heritage Square Community Conversations • L inell Cady, “The Meaning of Religious Freedom”
Briefing on the Luce Report on Religion, Rights and Gender to Office of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Government of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
The Religion of No Religion: Or How We Became ‘Spiritual, Not Religious’
n recent decades there has been a rise in the number of Americans who claim to be “spiritual, but not religious.” Jeffrey Kripal calls this increasingly popular orientation the “religion of no religion,” and in his lecture discussed how and why so many Americans have come to describe themselves in this way. “Jeffrey Kripal has written extensively on religious “The religion of no religion is not experience across multiple traditions,” said center director the end of religion, rather, it is the Linell Cady. “His creative beginning of new types of religion, and out-of-the-box thinking on these issues challenge us a kind of creative void that denies to expand the ways we seek the old in order to create the new.” to understand the nature and future of religion.” According to Kripal, although these spiritual but not religious worldviews do depend upon a robustly secular society to flourish, “the religion of no religion is not secularism.” In the past, the religion of no religion has generally been restricted to small, esoteric communities and individual authors. One such Jeffrey Kripal, the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought example is Esalen, an institute located in Big at Rice University, speaking at the MU Sur, California, and the birthplace of the human Alumni Lounge.
potential movement. In discussing Esalan, which was the focus of his recent book, Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, Kripal explained the institute’s efforts to move beyond the confines of conventional religion. He described the religion of no religion as “an implicit theory of religion and the religious imagination…a deep ‘superlogic’ [that serves as] a radical way of understanding religion that simultaneously affirms and denies the symbolic expressions of the different historical religions.” It is this “superlogic,” or unconscious operating system behind the religion of no religion, that Kripal claims could be a “potential future answer to some of our present crises around religious intolerance and religious violence, most all of which depend on the very strong and firm religious identities that the religion of no religion relativizes and moves beyond.” Kripal argued that “religions, to the extent that they make universal claims about the human condition, are structurally or logically intolerant.” Based on this perspective, he proposed that if we are ever going to solve our religious problems, we will have to learn to handle them with more nuance and sophistication. “We might define religious tolerance as the civic virtue of not attempting to suppress religious worldviews that compete with, contradict, or even deny those of the majority worldview,” said Kripal. For Kripal, the religion of no religion is not the end of religion, rather “it is the beginning of new types of religion, a kind of creative void that denies the old in order to create the new.” “Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, we can choose to be concerned about consciousness and not Christianity or Judaism or Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or whatever,” said Kripal. “We can choose to share our divine humanity over our constructed and relative religious egos.” Kripal sees this emerging emphasis on a religion of no religion as sophisticated enough to help redefine religious diversity. “It’s a philosophical response to religious pluralism and a very powerful one.” The Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker Series on Religion and Conflict honors the Marshalls’ lifelong commitment to promoting the arts, education, civil liberties, and world peace.
God is Not One: Religious Tolerance in an Age of Extremism
re all religions simply different ways up the same mountain? Or is the key to religious tolerance found in better understanding differences? Though America is deeply religious, Americans know shockingly little about religion. This is the view of Stephen Prothero, who led a captivating discussion of this paradox as part of the center’s Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions lecture series. Described by Newsweek as “a world religions scholar with the soul of a late night comic,” Prothero brought his wit and expertise to the discussion of religious differences and why they are significant. Prothero argued that without an active and engaged understanding of religions, we are ill-equipped to comprehend world affairs or the motivations of our political leaders. For Prothero, the way to real and enduring interreligious understanding, especially following 9/11, lies with a clear-eyed knowledge of religious difference. “The sooner we can understand the differences between religions, the more we can figure out how to achieve religious tolerance and co-existence.” The idea that each religion is just a “different way up the same mountain,” is “untrue, condescending, and dangerous,” Prothero said.
debate gay marriage or stem-cells without knowledge of the Bible? “Only by teaching students in high school and in colleges about the Bible and the world’s religions, can we equip them to understand American politics and world affairs.” Although many of Prothero’s students attend church, they often have minimal religious knowledge. “They know very little about their own religions, “Far more powerful is the reminder that religions, and they know even less about the religions of other people.” like the human beings that inhabit them, are This lack of knowledge different. That is the place that any genuine study inspired Prothero’s religious literacy campaign and his of religion must begin.” research into the unique qualities of each religion that According to Prothero, the claim that all led to his New York Times bestselling book, God religions serve one purpose is no more effective is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run than the claim that all religions are poison. the World. “Far more powerful is the reminder that “The cause of conflict in the world is not religions, like the human beings that inhabit difference, religious or otherwise, because them, are different. That is the place that any difference has always been with us,” said Prothero. genuine study of religion must begin, and any “The cause of our conflicts is an inability to effort at interreligious understanding.” manage difference, to reckon with difference.” “The world’s religions start with very different analyses of the human problem and therefore, Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions strive toward very different goals,” Prothero is a lectures series supported by a grant from John explained. Whiteman. The series brings nationally and Can American citizens understand the War internationally recognized experts to campus to in Iraq without knowledge of Islam? Can they address the religious dynamics of conflict and peace. 5
Stephen Prothero is a professor of religion at Boston University. His work has been featured on the cover of Time magazine, Oprah, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, National Public Radio, and other notable media outlets. He is the author of several bestselling books including, God is Not One, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – And Doesn’t, and American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon.
The Religious Foundations of US Foreign Policy
Ira Chernus is a journalist, author, and professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder whose work focuses on discourses of peace, war, foreign policy, and nationalism, and how these have affected public culture and public policy in the U.S. He is the author of nine books including, Apocalypse Management: Eisenhower and the Discourse of National Insecurity, Monsters to Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin, and American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea.
oes the United States have a divine responsibility to protect the world against evil? Ira Chernus, a professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, discussed the religious foundations of U.S. foreign policy as part of the “Conversations at the Center” speaker series this past year. “Throughout American history it has been widely believed that the United States is God’s new Israel, and with that, the white American people are God’s chosen people,” Chernus explained. Chernus described this idea as the foundation of American Exceptionalism, the belief that we are an exceptional people because God “In all the years since World War has chosen us to lead the world II, the country began to assume to a messianic era of perfect peace, justice, and love. For that evil is always lurking out Chernus, this mindset has been there somewhere, that we must influential in the development of U.S. foreign policy constantly be on guard, and ready throughout American history. to take up the war against evil.” One result of this sense of exceptionalism is that U.S. foreign policy receives public support because it is perceived as pure and virtuous. Up until the 1940s, the basic assumption in American foreign policy was that the country would stay at peace. However, according to Chernus, there was a dramatic change following World War II. 6
“In all the years since World War II,” said Chernus, “the country began to assume that evil is always lurking out there somewhere, that we must constantly be on guard, and ready to take up the war against evil.” Since then, there has been a general consensus in the United States that our foreign policy should aim, above all, to defend against evil in the world. “In effect, what the foreign policy establishment was saying is that we will always face threats, we will always be insecure, and that’s why I think what they really created was the national insecurity state. There is no way to escape from the insecurity.” However, as Chernus noted, when you combine these notions of American exceptionalism and the “national insecurity state,” what gets promoted is an “us” versus “them” dualism that places the United States in stark contrast to a world of potential enemies. Chernus argued that the solution to this legacy is to promote mutually beneficial interactions as a means to peace. “People have to trade with each other, learn from each other, and help each other, and when they do that...when they’re cooperating, living harmoniously…that’s peace. They’re living in peace. “The wider the network of those peaceful, mutual relationships, the better off everyone is. Ideally, it should include everyone in the world.”
s peace possible? Najeeba Syeed-Miller has addressed this question as part of her work in peacebuilding and conflict resolution from the streets of Los Angeles to meeting rooms in India, Afghanistan, Israel, and Palestine. And she did it again as part of the the Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Peace Studies this past fall. In her lecture, Syeed-Miller focused on the importance of framing questions for creating the conditions for successful dialogue. “Being aware of how we frame a question also helps us get an understanding of where we come from and what our position is in a particular conflict. It also gives an awareness of who is being left out of that question.” Syeed-Miller involved the audience in thinking about the ethics of engaging religion in peacebuilding by posing several questions about religion and peace: “What happens when individuals don’t identify with religion as their primary identity? What if language, what if culture, what if heritage, what if your neighborhood is your main identity? If we always elevate religion to the main form of identity—even in interreligious settings—what does it do to those communities and their representation?” She further explained that these kinds of questions help us enter into an interreligious space by forcing us to think about how diverse religions and groups of people understand and approach peace. “It’s very important to think that there isn’t always an equal playing field of understanding and agency, when it comes to the word ‘peace,’” she warned. Syeed-Miller also explained how peace may be located in different places. “Some of us locate peace in the head. Some of us locate it in the heart. Some of us locate it in church hierarchy…it’s very interesting how we assume a universality to the word ‘peace.’” According to Syeed-Miller, as we think about peace and religion as social forces it’s crucial that peacemakers understand their own positions of authority. “Peace has the capacity to be very self-righteous, because the assumption is ‘I’m engaging in peacemaking, and there can’t be any problems, because I’m seeking a positive end.’” “It’s not just a question of is this right, but
is this effective? Is the process I’m developing appropriate for the conflict?” she continued. “There are very positive potential outcomes, but there can also be very difficult questions we need to continue to pose ourselves--both in the practice as well as the study of religion and peace, as well as how they intertwine.”
“What happens when individuals don’t identify with religion as their primary identity? What if language, what if culture, what if heritage, what if your neighborhood is your main identity? If we always elevate religion to the main form of identity—even in interreligious settings—what does it do to those communities and their representation?” The Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Peace Studies are supported by the Hardt-Nickachos Peace Studies Endowment within the Center. Programs funded by the endowment are meant to heighten faculty, student, and community awareness of peace studies as an academic field of inquiry and its significance for addressing some of the most challenging problems of our age.
Najeeba Syeed-Miller, professor at Claremont School of Theology and director of the Center for Global Peacebuilding, is a recognized leader in the field of peacemaking. Her published research has focused on the intersections of law with religious minority communities, interfaith peacemaking, and mediation between law enforcement and communities.
The Top Five Misconceptions about Revolutions in the Middle East
During his visit to ASU, student journalist Katie Mykleseth, sat down with renowned international journalist Rami Khouri for an interview about misconceptions Americans have about the recent political shifts in the Middle East. Here are Khouri’s top five misconceptions plus a bonus answer, edited for clarity and length. 1 - Modern versus Ancient The first thing is that most of the tension in the region is actually very recent. It is not ancient. People will often talk to me in the U.S. saying something like, “well I know these conflicts go back centuries.” And I’m like, “wait a minute, wait a minute, these conflicts don’t go back centuries.” These conflicts only go back 10 or 20 or 50 years. They are all mostly modern conflicts. There are some ancient histories, but the real stress in the region, whether it is on Iran, Israel, Iraq, or Egypt, is really contemporary. 2 - Religion and Politics The second thing I would say is that there is too much attention in the U.S. given to religious dimensions as the motivating factor, which means people don’t sufficiently grasp the political nature of most of the issues related to the conflicts or tensions. Whether these are domestic issues, like between different Iraqis or different Lebanese or Syrians who are fighting each other. Or whether they’re issues “I think the U.S., broadly speaking the across the region, like Arabs and Israelis, or Iranians and Arabs, American culture, has an unrealistic and or whether they are global, like unfair expectation that we should be people in the Arab World versus able to make instant, peaceful, smooth the West or the U.S. There are religious differences. But it is transitions to democracy in the current important to understand the uprisings. That isn’t how it happened in political nature of the tensions the U.S. so why should it happen like and conflicts in the area if there is to be hope of solving them. that in Arab countries?” 3 - Value Systems The third thing I would say is that there is a wild misunderstanding of the true nature of Islamic values and cultures. I would say that this is especially because of 9-11 and the radical terrorist actions by a very, very small number of Muslim criminals, and some of the guys in Syria now who 8
are cutting peoples’s heads off. I am not a Muslim, I’m a Christian, but except for very few criminal acts by deranged people like that, I think the value system and personal aspirations of Muslims everywhere, especially in the Arab World, are almost exactly the same as that of the majority of Americans. They want to raise their kids; they want to have opportunities for a better life; they want to live peacefully with their neighbors. If their neighbors are different from them that is not a problem. If you have black and white people, and Asians and Hispanics, or men and women, whatever the differences you have here in this country, people generally get along, and it is the same thing over there. People, you know, they generally coexist in pluralistic societies. They’re not at each other’s throats historically. 4 – U.S. Foreign Policy The fourth thing is that there is insufficient appreciation, in the U.S. generally—we’re speaking in broad terms, and there are always exceptions to be made—there is an insufficient appreciation in the United States for the negative consequences of American military and political aggressive involvement in the Middle East. So, for instance, what the U.S. did in Iraq. They invaded Iraq in 2003 with England and others. That had huge repercussions, most of them negative, for the U.S., for the people of the region, and for Iraq. I think Americans don’t quite grasp how badly most people in the Middle East react to American militarism…and not just militarism, but American aggressive involvement in the region. So, for instance, the U.S. threatening to attack Iran if Iran doesn’t do this or that, that kind of attitude by the U.S. brings in return a very negative perception or response by a majority of people in the Middle East. So, the U.S. needs to be aware of the actual consequences of its actions.
5 - Democratic Change
Bonus - The Diversity of the Arab world
Because of the last three years of uprisings and revolutions that the Middle East is going through, Americans tend to be unrealistic in the time frames they use to expect to see democratic change happening in the Arab World. I keep telling people the great American democracy that was born in 1776 was only for white men that owned land. Black people had no right to vote, women had virtually no rights or public presence whatsoever. It took the United States up to the early 1900s to give the woman the vote, and not until 1965 did blacks get the full rights through the Civil Rights Act. I think the U.S., broadly speaking the American culture, has an unrealistic and unfair expectation that we should be able to make instant, peaceful, smooth transitions to democracy in the current uprisings. That isn’t how it happened in the U.S. so why should it happen like that in Arab countries?
Every country has developed in a different way. There isn’t one Arab Spring or Arab condition. The countries of the Arab world are very different. Some are weak or poor, big or small, and some are wealthy. The nature of the political government system in each is different. Some have brutal dictators, or low intensity mild autocrats, and others have benevolent monarchs— there is a whole range of different kinds of government systems. Therefore, the demands of the people are different in every country. In some places they wanted to overthrow the regime and they did. In other places they didn’t want to overthrow the regime they just wanted to bring about some reforms that would improve things. Therefore, the trajectory of change in every country has been different, and will continue to be different. Rami Khouri continues to write on the current dynamics of the Middle East from the vantage point of Beirut, Lebanon.
Rami Khouri is the Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Dubai School of Government, as well as a columnist at the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper. His lecture on “Sectarianism, Secularism, and Statehood: Challenges and Change that Shape the Middle East,” part of the “Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions” lecture series, is available via podcast at csrc.asu.edu.
Making a Difference: Advancing the Center Through Individual Philanthropy Friends of the Center 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 thinkers, 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 2013-14 academic year. Lifetime Friends Ann Hardt Stan and Tochia Levine Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Doug and Becky Pruitt John Roberts John and Dee Whiteman Platinum (up to $25,000) Perry and Margaret Gooch Jerry Hirsch Tom and Ruth Ann Hornaday Rich and Sally Lehmann Gold (up to $2,500) Anonymous Bijan and Fariba Ansari George Cady, Jr. John and Judith Ellerman David Lincoln Kevin and Yolanda McAuliffe Richard and Elaine Morrison Maroon (up to $1,000) Susan and Bill Ahearn Linda Brock and Jeffrey Heimer Peter Buseck Linell Cady Penny and Jim Davis Donald and Irene Lubin Dick and Dinky Snell Thomas and Vicky Taradash Silver (up to $250) Hank Bregman Vicki and Howard Cabot Jane Canby John Carlson Ed Chulew Charles Coronella Sue Ellen Davis Donald and Jane Fausel Robert and Rosemarie Fitzsimmons
Carolyn Forbes Mary Anna Friederich Al Gephart Jennifer E. Grossman Rebecca Grubaugh Robert Hardy Vernon Higginbotham Fatina Hijab Rev. and Mrs. Earl Holt Doris Horn Parker Howes Sol Jaffe Dennis and Jeanne Johnson Roger Johnson Dale M. Kalika Matt Korbeck and Karen McNally Sandy Lambert Marlene Maddalone Paul Putz William C. Rhodes Aleda Richter-West Carol Rose Laura and Herb Roskind Warren and Martha Salinger Cayetano Santiago Steve and Mary Serlin Donald K. Sharpes Curtis Sorenson James and Olga Strickland Gene and Cooky Tarkoff Marjorie Thornton Roberta Van der Walde Susan Weidner Carole Weiss Gwen Williams Robert and Marion Wilson Jeff and Janelle Wright Robin Wright
Investing in the Center has a positive impact on students, faculty, and the community. To make a donation online, go to asufoundation.org/ religionandconflict. To make a donation by mail, send a check, payable to the ASU Foundation/CSRC to: Center for the Study of Religion and Conflictâ€¨ Arizona State University PO Box 870802â€¨ Tempe, AZ 85287-0802 To make a major gift, contact Gwyn Goebel, Major Gifts Officer, at (480) 965-9882 or Gwyn. Goebel@asu.edu. All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a separate non-profit organization that exists to support ASU. Your gift may be considered a charitable contribution. Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions.
Connecting Countries Through Scholars: Center Hosts Faculty Exchanges
Muhammad Shoaib was a visiting scholar from the University of Gujrat in Pakistan during the Fall 2013 semester. His full semester residency at the Center was sponsored by the American Institute for Pakistan Studies with support from the U.S. State Department. This interview was conducted during his time at ASU.
he blue walls of the corner office in West Hall are offset by the beaming man sitting in the office chair. Muhammad Shoaib’s excitement radiates as he explains the relationship between religion, modern technology and family lifestyle as well as when he talks about his adventures on the East Coast during his time visiting the United States. “I like everything,” Shoaib says, “especially the people…People here have a high level of civic sense. When I come out of my hotel here, even when I cross the road, people stop their vehicles. They let people cross the road and then go. That is very interesting to me.” “I thought that his work, because it “People are happy,” Shoaib talks of changing values, religious continues, “but one thing I observe, people have no time values in Pakistan, and the here, they are very busy, going connection between modernity and and going and going.” His observations and the Islam, was the kind of subject that interest he has in human spoke to the intellectual questions interactions are not qualities of any international traveler of where Pakistan is heading.” but notes made by a visiting sociologist. Shoaib is a lecturer in sociology from the University of Gujrat in Pakistan. He is conducting research alongside ASU faculty as part of a residency program sponsored by the American Institute for Pakistan Studies. Shoaib was nominated for this honor by his university. “The program is designed to enhance the research and teaching skills of visiting scholars,” says assistant director, Carolyn Forbes. “Visiting scholars carry out a research project, sit in on graduate seminars and lectures, participate in workshops and conferences, utilize the library and other academic resources, and broaden their networking and intercultural experiences while on campus.” “One of the keys to the program is pairing them with great mentors,” Forbes says. Shoaib, who holds a master’s in sociology from 12
the International Islamic University, Islamabad, has over eight years of experience in teaching and research. He has published on multiple topics in the World Applied Sciences Journal, including family development and tolerance, concepts of justice, the democratic attitude and child healthcare practices in Pakistan. He says the opportunities presented by the program are beneficial for his research. “Compared to Pakistan,” says Shoaib, “it is much easier here when I search on the internet. Everything is accessible but in Pakistan most of the articles and research are not.” During his time at ASU, Shoaib is working with two faculty mentors—Victor Agadjanian, the E. E. Guillot International Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the T. Denny Sanford School of Family and Social Dynamics and faculty affiliate of the center, and Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies and a historian of South Asia. Saikia says she wanted to invite Shoaib to be a part of the program because of the interesting questions his research poses about the future of Pakistan. She also saw the concrete benefits the program would provide for him. “We had 16 candidates and I decided to offer this opportunity to Shoaib because the university he comes from is an up-and-coming university. It is not in a main urban area in Pakistan or in the cities where academics have reasonable access to outside scholars and allow a lot of internal intellectual discussion,” Saikia says. “I looked for an affinity with our interests here,” Saikia continues. “I thought that his work, because it talks of changing values, religious values in Pakistan, and the connection between modernity and Islam, was the kind of subject that spoke to the intellectual questions of where Pakistan is heading. “I also knew that we had a scholar here, Victor Agadjanian, who would make a good mentor because he studies these issues of religion and people and values from the same sociological
perspective that Shoaib does.” Key questions Shoaib is pursuing in his research concern the impact of modern lifestyles on religious attitudes. “I am working with Professor Agadjanian on family well-being and health in Pakistan and the role of modern technology on religious values,” Shoaib says. According to Agadjanian, their goal is to produce a sound paper that can be presented at conferences and submitted for publication. Agadjanian’s hope for their time working together is that Shoaib will perfect his ability to create publishable work out of his interesting research ideas. “I look forward to Shoaib building a rigorous theoretical and empirical skill set and an ability to convert ideas into publishable scholarly products,” says Agadjanian. Shoaib’s time as a scholar at ASU is his first experience in the United States. Despite this being his first visit here, he says his sociology background has helped him easily adjust to living
in a different country. “I am a sociologist. I have studied Western lifestyle, Western culture and many areas related to European and American life especially. People ask me if I feel culture shock here and I say no because I have studied these things,” says Shoaib. But one of the things that interests Shoaib most is the work environment at ASU. “The working environment is very conducive, especially for teachers or scholars as well as for students,” Shoaib observes. “The most important thing is the use of facilities here. All of the facilities compared to my country are more conducive for the work environment.” After he finishes his time as a visiting scholar, Shoaib says he has set his sights on continuing his education, hopefully at ASU. “My hope is to get a PhD. I will apply here at ASU,” Shoaib says. Story by Katie Mykleseth
On return to Pakistan, Shoaib began a new job at the International Islamic University in Islamabad and is continuing his work with Professor Agadjanian. 13
Muhammad Shoaib discussing his research on the effects of modern lifestyles on religious values with research mentor Victor Agadjanian, a professor of sociology in the T. Denny Sanford School of Human and Social Dynamics.
Does religion turn weak groups violent?
lthough David was famously successful at slaying Goliath, most people wisely avoid picking fights with more-powerful opponents. But new research by faculty working with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict’s Global Group Relations Project has uncovered one factor that increases the likelihood that weak groups will engage in conflict with stronger groups, despite the likelihood of defeat. That factor is religious infusion, or the extent to which religion permeates a group’s public and private life.
Steve Neuberg, Foundation Professor of Psychology, and Carolyn Warner, Professor of Political Science, co-lead the Global Groups Relations Project, which examines the role of religion in conflict and conflict resolution.
Findings from the Global Group Relations Project were published in the journal Psychological Science, the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology, and have also been written about in the Huffington Post. “Under normal circumstances, weak folks don’t try to beat up on stronger folks,” says Steven Neuberg, a psychology professor and the lead researcher on the project. “But there’s something about a group being religiously infused that seems to make it feel somewhat invulnerable to the potential costs imposed by stronger groups and makes it more likely to engage in costly conflict.” Their findings are published in the January issue of Psychological Science, the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. Their work has also been written about in the Huffington Post. The study Neuberg and his team undertook spanned five continents and included nearly 100 sites around the globe. The countries included in the project together account for nearly 80 percent 14
of the world’s population. “Our sites include the most populated countries of the world—China, India, USA, Brazil—as well as a wide range of others,” says Carolyn Warner, a political science professor and a co-principal investigator on the project. “This breadth and diversity is rarely the case in studies of religion and conflict.” Most research on group conflict employs one of two methods—the case study, which closely examines a particular location or situation in which conflict occurs—or a quantitative analysis of data pulled from existing studies.
For the project, researchers recruited a large, international network of social scientists with expertise on the sites selected for study. These “expert informants” responded to an Internet survey, answering a wide range of questions on a host of social, political, religious and psychological variables about the groups being studied. Conflicting Values or Competition for Resources? Neuberg, Warner, and the rest of the team examined the data to learn how religion might shape intergroup conflict around the world. They focused on two factors known to increase conflict: incompatibility of values and competition for limited resources. They found that religious infusion was an important factor in predicting conflict in both situations. In cases where two groups held
incompatible values, the groups tended to exhibit increased prejudice and discrimination against one another only if religion permeated their everyday lives. More surprising, however, is the finding on how religious infusion affects groups competing for limited resources and power. Only the disadvantaged groups that are religiously infused are more likely to engage in violence. “That’s a surprising finding, because the advantages and power held by the other groups should deter the weaker groups,” says Neuberg. “Remember, these weaker groups are likely to get clobbered, at least in the short term.” Disadvantaged groups as defined in the study are those lacking access to sufficient food, water and/or land as well as political power and educational and economic opportunities. Religious infusion is not tied to specific religions or sets of beliefs. Any religion can be highly infused in a particular society. “What we don’t want people to walk away thinking,” says Warner, “is that religious infusion is always bad or always makes group relations worse. Not all religiously infused weak groups engage in conflict. And high-power groups, when they’re religiously infused, aren’t increasing their aggression against low-power groups.” So why would weak, religiously infused groups attack stronger powers? Some data from
Why Do We Fear? Why do we fear what we do not know or understand, and how can we learn to overcome our fears? Steve Neuberg and Neal Lester, part of the center’s faculty exchange project with Kinnaird College in Pakistan, recently discussed fear and prejudice in a video feature for ASU’s Project Humanities. The project aims to get people who ordinarily would not come together to have conversations. See the video at: asunews.asu.edu/20131107-project-humanities-unknown
their project suggest that religious infusion may increase the motivation of weak groups to enhance their standing. Other data raise the possibility that religiously infused groups may have some advantages in mobilizing the resources they do have. Warner and Neuberg will explore these possibilities, and the cause-and-effect relationship of their findings, in follow-up research. “The amount of intergroup conflict in the world is costly and has huge and significant implications for national security and worldwide economic security,” says Neuberg. “To be able to better understand why this conflict occurs and predict it beforehand increases our chances of reducing its likelihood in the future. That should be important to all of us.” Story by Barby Grant
From Faculty Seminar to Global Survey: A Project Takes Shape together to really test out and deepen our ideas, and the support from the center staff has been exceptional.” In addition to the article in Psychological Science, the group also has papers under review that examine more closely the role of economic deprivation and economic inequality in generating collective violence and the possibility that messages of tolerance by religious or government leaders can reduce violence. Warner and Neuberg recently learned that they, along with political scientist David Siroky, were awarded a new National Science Foundation grant to explore the factors that cause some religiously-infused groups to engage in violent conflict against more powerful groups while others remain peaceful. “There are a lot of presumptions about the role of religion in violent conflict,” says Carolyn Warner, the principal investigator for the new study. “We believe that the results of this new study will be able to assist the international community in identifying factors that create or mitigate conflict, and thus craft their policies accordingly.”
The Global Group Relations Project was launched with a seed grant from the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict in 2005. It grew out of a faculty seminar, “Disrupting Violence,” that was organized by the Center in its first year. “Faculty seminars have proven to be enormously productive vehicles for incubating new research directions,” says Linell Cady, director of the Center. “They give faculty working in other disciplines a chance to get to know each other, and the interdisciplinary interaction yields much more robust theoretical frames for analyzing global and cross-cultural phenomena.” The seed funding enabled a smaller working group to carry out some initial pilot studies that ultimately developed into a large global survey funded by the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Social Science Research. “Without the initial funding from the Center, I don’t think this project would have been possible,” says Steve Neuberg, a psychology professor who co-directed the project with political scientist Carolyn Warner. “It allowed a group of us who wouldn’t normally talk to each other to work
Religion and Gender in Global Affairs
New book questions conventional wisdom on religion, secularism, gender
The implication seems clear: If you support women’s rights, you must be secular…[but] according to a new book of essays…the reality is not quite so black and white. Secularism does not always advance women’s rights, while religion does not always suppress them.
hen Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, lost out on the Nobel Peace Prize, a Taliban spokesman said, “We are delighted that she didn’t get it… This award should be given to the real Muslims who are struggling for Islam. Malala is against Islam, she is secular.” The implication seems clear: If you support women’s rights, you must be secular. One does not have to belong to the Taliban to share this point of view. It is conventional wisdom that women’s rights and secularism go hand-inhand, while religion reinforces traditional gender roles. For many, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that granted an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide contraceptive coverage on religious freedom grounds is one more indication. According to a new book of essays edited by two Arizona State University faculty members, the reality is not quite so black and white. Secularism does not always advance women’s rights, while religion does not always suppress them. In the book, Religion, the Secular, and the Politics of Sexual Difference, published by Columbia University Press, scholars discuss why many prevailing assumptions about religion, secularism and gender rights need to be reexamined and, in some cases, revised. “Religion conjures up superstition, authoritarianism and otherworldly escapism, while secularism lays claim to reason, freedom and the betterment of this world,” says center director Linell Cady, who co-edited the book with ASU religious studies professor Tracy Fessenden. “Assumptions such as these are entrenched in modern scholarship and widely impact individuals, governments and civil societies.” In the book’s opening essay, Joan Scott, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, points out some of the fallacies in these 16
assumptions. She argues that secularization is not inherently liberating for women, while the beginnings of feminism are tied to religious motivations. Scott reminds readers that the founders of our modern secular nation-states did not consider women as political equals and excluded them from politics. American women did not win the right to vote until 1920, and French women until 1944. Conversely, today’s feminists often forget that Christian women were the first to venture into the public sphere and gain political clout, during the 18th- and 19th-century temperance and abolitionist movements. “The first wave of feminism drew on deeply held religious principles for its arguments,” Scott writes. “Indeed, it was white Protestant women who staffed the temperance, abolition, peace and purity movements, gaining a space in public life as voices of Christian morality.” Margot Badran, a senior fellow at Georgetown University, writes about Muslim women in late 19th- and early 20th-century Egypt. During this period, Egypt saw the simultaneous rise of a secular state and society and the reconfiguration of religion within the private domain. While the secularist movement did improve women’s chances for education and paid work, it also reinforced gender inequality within the private sphere of the nuclear family. The state allowed conservative religious forces to enact a powerful and tenacious system of patriarchal control. “Under the new codified law, built on a patriarchal construction of the family, upholding male privileges and power, women fared less well,” Badran writes. Michigan State University professor Gene Burns, another contributor to the volume, argues that secular liberalism, paradoxically, can hinder gender equality by allowing citizens the freedom to spend their time and energy in quite illiberal spaces, from family life to the workplace to the religious sphere. Burns’ focus is on the Catholic Church. “The Catholic hierarchy currently stakes a great deal of its authority on opposition to secular liberal morality, especially in matters of sexual morality,” argues Burns. “To the extent that the
[secular] state takes a laissez-faire approach to any part of society...dominant groups and dominant cultural assumptions will have considerable power to shape social reality.” The concept for the book grew out of several projects undertaken by the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, including a Ford Foundation-funded project on the nature and varieties of secularism and a project on gender and
international affairs funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. “The role of gender in conflicts at the intersections of religion, secularism and human rights is a critical, yet seriously under-examined area,” says co-editor Tracy Fessenden. “Our work has explored these conflicts in an effort to move past the simplistic oppositions that actually hinder women’s continued advancement.” Story by Barby Grant
New grant examines influences on women’s appointments to high courts
ender inequality on high courts around the world poses potential problems for women’s rights, democratic equality, and public confidence in the judiciary. Who selects high court judges, and what role does religion play, if any, in how justices are appointed? In recent years, some countries have increased the number of women appointed to high courts. But why have more women been appointed to high courts in some countries and at some points in time than others? These are some of the questions that a team of researchers affiliated with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict have set out to answer. Their project, titled “International Influences on Appointments to High Courts,” has been awarded a multi-year grant from The National Science Foundation. “The United States and organizations that have poured resources into judicial reform and gender equality, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank, lack global data on women’s membership on high courts,” says Miki Caul Kittilson, the project’s principal investigator. Kittilson is an associate professor in ASU’s School of Politics and Global studies and a co-author of the center’s report, “Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Rights and Gender.” “Our project will be creating a new and unique dataset that will be the first to systematically track women’s representation on high courts over time and across countries,” Kittilson says. Joining Kittilson on the research team are Valerie Hoekstra, also from ASU, Maria Escobar-
Lemmon from Texas A & M University and Alice Kang from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The data will allow the researchers to test various explanations about why women have risen in the judiciary in some countries and not in others. Some of the variables they will be studying have to do with the process used to select high court judges, the ideologies of the actors who make up the selection process, the socio-economic and religious characteristics of the country, and the type of governmental structure. “One of the things we are very interested to find out is whether different notions of gender equality influences the appointment of women to high courts,” adds Valerie Hoekstra. “This type of information is critical for policymakers concerned with the factors that enhance inclusion.” In addition to building the dataset, the researchers will also carry out fieldwork at locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America to test and validate their findings. A key goal of the project is to make the dataset publicly available and to present the project’s findings to key policy audiences in Washington, D.C. and New York. “The National Science Foundation has provided us a tremendous opportunity to address a huge gap in our understanding of women’s advancement in today’s world,” Kittilson says. “Although our focus is on the fundamental question about equality of representation, we believe our project will also advance research on questions such as whether women judges decide cases differently, bring new perspectives to deliberations, or even strengthen the rule of law.” Story by Matt Correa
Miki Kittilson and Valerie Hoekstra, affiliates of the center and professors in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies, were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore political, socio-economic, religious and cultural factors affecting women’s judicial leadership.
Literature, Culture, Globalization: New Partnership Advances International Exchange, Women’s Leadership in Pakistan
“We believe this project will encourage the kind of personal and social transformation that can lead to broader understanding among people, nations and cultures. To explore common issues is to engage a world of possibilities as to what it means to be human in a globalized world.”
hen most Americans think of Pakistan, images of violence and terrorism likely come to mind. But Pakistan also has an active civil society, mostly led by its women, who are seen as key to combating extremism in the Islamic South Asian republic. Now Arizona State University will be empowering some of those women through an academic exchange program with a 100-yearold women’s college in Pakistan. The three-year project is funded by a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of State through its Pakistan embassy. The exchange program will involve faculty and students in English and American literature at ASU and Kinnaird College in Lahore, Pakistan. The project’s aims are to globalize research and teaching of American literature and to empower Pakistani women to become leaders and agents of change in academia as well as the larger society. “This partnership is part of our broader effort to foster global engagement,” says Linell Cady, director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, which will oversee the project. “It is a wonderful opportunity to build the cross-cultural knowledge, understanding and relationships so important to life in the 21st century.” At ASU, the exchange represents a unique collaboration between the ASU Department of English and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, both units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The project kicked off this October with a site visit to ASU by Nadia Anjum, head of the post-graduate program in English at Kinnaird. After many conversations over email and through Skype, Anjum finally had the chance to meet the ASU team in person. She returned to Pakistan with her head “loaded with project ideas,” she said. The ASU team will, in turn, visit Pakistan several times over the course of the grant to carry out a series of workshops and initiate a comprehensive needs assessment. Working together with Kinnaird faculty and administrators, the team will jointly create an action plan to address the needs of the college and individual teachers and researchers in its American literature program. The centerpiece of the project is a scholars-inresidence program, which will bring Kinnaird 18
College faculty and graduate students to ASU for up to a full semester. While at ASU, the Kinnaird scholars will build collaborative relationships with ASU scholars, develop research ideas into publishable papers and shape new courses in American literature. “The scholars-in-residence program will provide ASU faculty and students with a valuable opportunity for cross-cultural discussions,” says Deborah Clarke, professor of English, associate dean of faculty, and the project’s director. “Having Kinnaird scholars here will enable ASU students to consider American literature and culture from an international perspective and to see things they’ve read before with new eyes.” ASU faculty and graduate students will also travel to Pakistan to spend several weeks at Kinnaird, teaching specialized courses. While there, they will also participate in workshops and roundtable discussions with Pakistani colleagues at Kinnaird as well as faculty from other academic institutions in Lahore. The discussions will be focused on such common themes as border and migration studies, global feminism and women in academia, pedagogy in a digital age and scholarly publishing. A final component of the project will be to provide new library resources for the Kinnaird College American literature program and a project website. The latter will enable exchanges between U.S. and Pakistan participants to continue beyond the three-year term of the grant. “We believe this project will encourage the kind of personal and social transformation that can lead to broader understanding among people, nations and cultures,” says Clarke. “To explore common issues is to engage a world of possibilities as to what it means to be human in a globalized world.” In 2010, the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict began an outreach initiative to Pakistan that included collaborations with several universities in Islamabad and Lahore on a series of workshops and conferences on religion, ethics and the humanities. History professor and Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies Yasmin Saikia, one of the faculty members who helped lead that initiative, serves on the executive committee of the American Institute for Pakistan Studies. She has conducted history dissertation workshops and reviewed and evaluated university history curriculum for the
Pakistan Higher Education Commission. Saikia will be involved in the exchange program with Kinnaird College as well. She will help lead the faculty exchanges and serve as liaison to the local Pakistani community during the scholars-in-residence program. “Women in Pakistan have impressed me immensely because they are resilient, have incredible endurance and have managed to stay hopeful, even in the most difficult times,” says Saikia. “By empowering academic women in Pakistan through this project, we can support their efforts in creating a positive vision of peace.” Kinnaird College for Women is one of Pakistan’s premier institutions of higher education, offering 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in liberal arts, business and media studies to women from all elements
of Pakistan society. The college was founded in 1913. It is named for a titled family from Scotland that was involved in social and missionary work through the Presbyterian Church, and who donated funds to help construct the college. Rounding out the project team are ASU English professors Neal Lester and Claudia Sadowski-Smith. Lester, who is also director of Project Humanities, has previously been involved with a project to help develop American studies at Sichuan University in China. He will work closely with Saikia and Clarke on developing the modules for the overseas components of the project. Sadowski-Smith will direct the scholarsin-residence component of the project. Story by Barby Grant
Project team members, from left to right: English professor Deborah Clarke, project director; Nadia Anjum, head of the postgraduate program in English Literature at Kinnaird College; Carolyn Forbes, assistant director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict; Claudia Sadowski-Smith, associate professor of English; Neal Lester, professor of English and director of Project Humanities; Yasmin Saikia, history professor and Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies.
Faculty in the News
Jason Bruner Story: “Uganda’s President Will Sign Anti-Gay Bill. How Did the Nation Get to this Point?”
Brad Allenby Story: “Talking ’Bout My Generation: The Real Walking Dead”
Source: Religion & Politics Date: February 18, 2014
“While others have focused upon the American origins of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, it is essential that Uganda’s unique social, religious, and political contexts not be neglected in understanding how the bill developed.”
Date: October 24, 2013 “Even though the rate of technological change is slower today than it will be in coming years, I am rapidly growing obsolete. Sure, I still have things worth knowing and teaching, but the zeitgeist within which my students live, network, learn, and become human is increasingly beyond me—not because I’m not reasonably competent, but because they are, in a real sense, in a world that has already moved beyond me.”
Steve Corman Story: “The Narrative Underlying the Rhetoric in Terrorists’ Messages” Source: The Science Show - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Date: April 5, 2014 “Extremists use narratives where listeners can fill in the details. They know their audience very well. One predominant theme…is that of the ‘War on Islam’ – that America is a crusader aimed to destroy Muslim culture and religion.”
Abdullahi Gallab Story: “Understanding the Armed Conflict in South Sudan” Source: Pacifica Radio of California
Date: January 6, 2014 “There was a failure of the Islamist government to take on nation-building and create a state able to satisfy the aspirations of its citizens. At the same time, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) should’ve widened political participation after independence.” Link: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/98851 20
Story: “How the Catholic Church Tackles Social Issues”
Story: “Just War as Punishment”
Source: KJZZ Date: September 6, 2013 “Faith leaders bring unique perspectives to public debate…Different vocabularies and different perspectives that are not focused narrowly on self-interest…can tap the imaginations of people, whether they are participants in a particular religious community or not. It’s a fine line between being partisan, which creates enormous divisions within a congregation or community, and trying to have a moral voice that speaks to the public issues of the day.”
Source: First Things Date: October 1, 2013 “When we lack the will to confront humanitarian scourges more aggressively, the Syria crisis suggests, punishment may be the only viable and morally defensible course of action still on the table.” Link: http://bit.ly/1ilmsji
Tracy Fessenden Story: “Contraception v. Religious Freedom: Hobby Lobby Heads to the Supreme Court”
Source: Religion & Politics Date: March 19, 2014 “When may the law impose a ‘substantial burden’ on a person’s religious exercise—to compel what a person’s religion forbids, or forbid what a person’s religion compels—as the ‘least restrictive means’ of furthering a ‘compelling government interest’?”
Keith Miller Story: “How Martin Luther King Put Rights Movement ‘Where His Mouth Was’ in ‘Dream’ Speech” Source: ABC News Date: August 27, 2013
Mark Woodward Story: “On Hate Speech, Dehumanization, Demonization and Violence: The Indonesia Islamic Defenders Front”
“In the speech, King incorporated quotations from patriotic and religious documents to put the struggle of racial inequality in the context of the great principles of American history… He’s appealing to the most sacred touchstones that there are in the United States. He’s incorporating these other voices that are more or less unimpeachable.”
Source: Projek Dialog
Date: March 22, 2014 “What can work is to publicly hold the purveyors of hate speech accountable for their words and actions; to call them out for what they are; and to expose the absurdity of the claims they make. Journalists, bloggers, religious and community leaders all have roles to play in this process.”
Undergraduate Research Fellows, 2013–14
The Center’s Undergraduate Research Fellows—selected from a pool of outstanding applicants—take a special seminar with Center director Linell Cady, work directly with faculty members on research projects related to a broad range of topics and approaches, and meet with visiting scholars and practitioners. Fellows are also awarded scholarships made possible through annual gifts to the Friends of the Center.
Major: Global Studies
Major: Political Science
Major: Public Service & Public Policy
Faculty Mentor: Yasmin Saikia, HardtNickachos Chair in Peace Studies and professor of history, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict
Faculty Mentor: Angelita Reyes, professor, African and African American studies, School of Social Transformation
Faculty Mentor: Souad Ali, associate professor of Arabic literature and Middle East/Islamic studies, School of International Letters and Cultures
Faculty Mentor: Carolyn Warner, professor of political science, School of Politics and Global Studies
Project: “Writing Among the Dead: Funerary Practices and AfricanAmerican Tombstone Carving, 1835–1950”
Project: “Kuwaiti Women in Leadership Positions”
Project: “The Politics of Sex in Hierarchies: the Catholic Church and the U.S. Military”
Major: Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: Anne Feldhaus, professor of religious studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Faculty Mentor: Volker Benkert, lecturer, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Faculty Mentor: Chad Haines, assistant professor of religious studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Faculty Mentor: John Carlson, associate professor of religious studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Project: “Being Muslim, Being Global: Everyday Ethics and Urban Transformation in Dubai, Islamabad, and Cairo”
Project: “Religion, War, and Human Identity”
Project: “Pakistani Children Learning Peace and Violence”
Project: “Conflict over Ecologically Sensitive Holy Places in India”
Project: “The PDS: The GDR’s Socialist and Atheist Legacy in Unified Germany, 1989-1994”
Friends of the Center Student Research Awards
Made possible by annual gifts to the Friends of the Center, this program provides grants to graduate and undergraduate students for innovative research projects and international engagement. The winners were honored at an awards ceremony held at the Center in Spring 2014.
Masters Student in Religious Studies
Doctoral Student in Political Science
Doctoral Student in Political Science
Thesis Advisor: Linell Cady, professor, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Dissertation Advisor: David Siroky, assistant professor, School of Politics and Global Studies
Dissertation Advisor: Miki Kittilson, associate professor, School of Politics and Global Studies
English, History and Barrett, the Honors College
The Role of Religious Leaders in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Post-Dictatorship Uruguay
Civil War Duration and its Influences
The Implications of Gender Asymmetries: Socialization, Religion, and Wartime Rape in Bosnia
Lucia Cash is working on a project that examines the role of Uruguayan religious leaders during the country’s period of dictatorship and its transition to democratic rule. Over half of Uruguay’s population is Christian, yet it is still considered to be the most secular country in Latin America. Because of this, few people have studied the period of the Uruguayan dictatorship in relation to the country’s religious institutions. Cash is using her award to travel to Uruguay for two months to collect research materials from public libraries and other sources only available in Uruguay.
A.J. Simmons’s project builds on research about the origins and dynamics of religious and ethnic conflict by investigating differences in their duration and intensity. By understanding the drivers of different types of conflict, he hopes to suggest strategies to more effectively manage conflicts. As a part of an ongoing research project he will develop a database of intergroup conflict that will distinguish between religious, ethnic, and mixed conflicts, and plans to publish a paper with his findings.
Holly Williamson is using her award to spend three weeks in Bosnia. She will conduct interviews with religious organizations, NGOs, local experts, community members, and combatants involved in the Bosnian war in order to develop an understanding of the nature and effects of wartime rape. More specifically, she will explore how religious, ethnic, and national identities have been mobilized in military operations to justify rape. Since three monotheistic religious ideologies and strong ethnic and nationalist movements were represented in this conflict, Bosnia is a rich location for exploring the complex and intersecting themes informing wartime rape.
Project Advisor: Ileana Orlich, professor of Romanian studies and comparative literature, and director of the Romanian program Understanding Religious Conflict: An Investigation of the Tension between the Greek Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Romania Emily Fritcke completed the center’s undergraduate research fellows program during the 2012-13 academic year, and is currently enrolled in the undergraduate certificate program in religion and conflict. She will spend part of her summer in Romania with Ileana Orlich, professor of Romanian studies and comparative literature, and director of the Romanian program at ASU. Fritcke will examine the conflict between the Orthodox Church and Greek Catholics of eastern Romania, visiting historic sites and engaging with experts on her research.
Biochemistry Major Explores New Perspectives in Center’s Student Programs
Mariha Syed is a biochemistry major. She is also an undergraduate fellow with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and is on track to complete a certificate in religion and conflict.
hile most of her classes are on the opposite side of campus and her major is in a different field, Syed says she was attracted to the Fellows Program because of her interest in religion as well as the well-rounded experience the center provides. “I believe every scientist should have at least a basic understanding of religion in the world and the effect it can have,” says Syed. “It is truly such an important part of how the vast majority of humans behave.” Reflecting on her experience in the fellows seminar, Syed says, “[t]here are a lot of things I have learned in this class—I can’t even put them into one coherent thought. There are just so many aspects of religion, and so many viewpoints about how people react and interpret their religions, and how those interpretations, in turn, interact with science and the media.” Syed recalls the time she spent in the “Human Event” class offered by Barrett, The Honors College and how it expanded her interest in religious studies. “My interest in religion developed from something personal to something more,” says Syed. “Dr. Montesano was my Human Event professor and last year we talked about religion and its impact in the world. It just really interested me...And as soon as he told me about the Fellows Program, I applied and got in!” As one of only three science and engineering majors participating in the Fellows Program, Syed says she appreciates the different structure of the seminar class. “Most of my classes are labs and lectures or working with chemicals and research. Here it’s different because I get to read a lot and I love to read. Where in science classes you don’t want to read a textbook for fun, here it’s a different type of experience.” Diversity in the fellows program The size of the fellows seminar fostered a personal and safe environment for students to share different opinions. Syed says this was one aspect of the Fellows Program that was very rare when compared to her other classes at ASU. “The small class discussions in the fellows seminar were an incredible way to meet and understand new kinds of people, especially for non-humanities majors it shows you a new perspective that you have probably never seen
before,” says Syed. Even with most of her time spent in biochem labs to meet her goal of attending medical school, Syed sees a great benefit in interdisciplinary learning outside of her major. She says the training she is receiving, not only in the Fellows Program but also in the center’s undergraduate certificate classes, is preparing her for future ventures in medicinal chemistry. “I do hope to travel abroad in the future—a doctors without borders type of thing,” Syed says. “I feel like knowing religions and how they can conflict with science and with other religious traditions will give me background into the places I will be visiting and help me to relate to my patients in the future.” With her science-focused major, Syed says that the active discussions of religion’s role in different cultures, the debate on different theories and policies, and the excited atmosphere in the Fellows seminar turned this into one of Syed’s favorite courses. “It’s interesting,” says Syed. “We see a bunch of different points of view. There are so many different types of majors and ideas being thrown around in the room. Sometimes you’ll get offended but it’s okay because it’s so diverse and you see the different viewpoints that people have in life.” Research and faculty mentors In addition to the fellows seminar, the design of the fellows program has the students working directly with a faculty member on ongoing research projects involving religion and conflict. Syed says the time she spent working with her mentor, associate professor of religious studies John Carlson, has been very beneficial to her research skills not only within the field of religion and conflict but also in her biochemistry major. “Working with a professor gives you a lot of research background,” says Syed. “My topic with Professor Carlson was religion, war and identity. The readings and the research that I did with him have given me insight into the world happening around us.”
Syed and the other fellows also have an opportunity to meet with visiting scholars, attend special lectures, and compete for additional research or travel funds. Syed says the opportunities offered through the program have given her experience well beyond her age group. “The speech my professor did a couple weeks ago in Chicago—I am getting credited for the work I put it into when it gets published! I’ll be in the acknowledgments section, which is really cool. As a sophomore it seems like a real step up into the literary world.” According to Syed, Carlson’s instruction and research has not only given her valuable academic experience, but it is also preparing her for situations far beyond the walls of the university. “The research component, if you are paired well, can result in something amazing. You have meaningful discussion and can not only be recognized for your work, but also develop a lasting relationship with a professor who can constantly provide you with a conflicting, interesting, or new perspective on world affairs,” says Syed. Continuing engagement through the certificate program Syed’s experience with the Fellows Program inspired her to continue studying these topics by signing up for the Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict. “Both of these programs provide a safe environment to engage in a discussion of religious and philosophical views. It is truly remarkable to see the variation that existed in a single ten person class,” Syed says. “Beyond that, the certificate program allows for such individualization that students never feel bored. You are learning exactly what you want to about religion, and each of those classes are so discussion based that you really grow as a person.” The exposure to different ideals and concepts through the discussions and coursework of the combined programs offered through the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has improved her time at ASU, according to Syed. “These have been truly incredible experiences that have developed my college career into something I never imagined.” Story by Katie Mykleseth
“The small class discussions in the fellows seminar are an incredible way to meet and understand new kinds of people, especially for nonhumanities majors it shows you a new perspective that you have probably never seen before.”
Student Explores Conflict Transformation Through Film, Music
Galen J. Lamphere-Englund won a 2013 Friends of the Center research scholarship. He used the award to travel to Ireland to attend the Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy at the University of Galway and to learn more about how music can be used in peacebuilding projects to strengthen communities and achieve social change. Here, he talks about his experience in his own words.
’m led by giving other people a voice.” These were the first words I heard from Nick Danziger, a human rights photographer, and they resonated deeply with me. With the assistance of a research award from the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, I had just arrived in Ireland to take part in a Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy to improve my activist skills. Seated across from Nick, the main instructor and a powerfully humble filmmaker, were a diverse
mixture of sixteen human rights practitioners, filmmakers, and advocates from eleven countries. Despite being a small group, nearly every age and walk of life were represented, all unified by a shared belief in the photographer’s words. As I got to know my compatriots, I was both inspired and impressed by the range of their motivations: Kate, a German filmmaker, just finished a dark documentary on the rising Golden Dawn in Greece. Next to her sat Yemane, a young producer from Ethiopia, and Ko Zin, a changemaker from Myanmar who works on education advancement. A little further down the table sat Muhammad, a Jordanian who just finished a short film on female marathon runners. Our varied backgrounds, unified by a guiding thread of human rights advocacy, helped to shape remarkable dialogues over the next ten days. I had set out for Ireland hoping to glean enough knowledge “Advocacy and human to eventually use film in my rights work is fraught research into music and conflict with the constant risk transformation, yet because of my colleagues and teachers, I of burn out—of losing learned lessons that were far one’s path in cynical more extensive. tangles. The program in During our marathon, tenhour daily sessions, we discussed Ireland reaffirmed my how to pitch to producers, to belief that community, use media in conflict zones, the joy of being in the disseminate content via the web, and most importantly, to presence of like-minded, make sure that people are able passionate people, is to hear the voices we hope to the best path to rekindle amplify. Guided by Nick’s expertise and reaffirm why I seek as a human storyteller, we social change.” walked through shaping narratives in Kosovo, BosniaHerzegovina, India and beyond. Over many cups of Irish tea, we discussed the pitfalls of re-victimization, of not getting close enough, and the continual issue of truthfulness in film. The director of Amnesty International’s film project helped us examine the inner workings
of human rights film festivals: selection criteria, organizational structuring, and funding sources. Next, using our lessons as templates, we developed project proposals. I watched my idea, a proposal for a short film advocating funding for the arts in Bosnia, evolve through my peers’ suggestions into an implementable, succinct plan. The pitching process, which included tutelage from BBC producers, greatly improved my skill set for developing projects. While some of the skills I walked away with were tangible, the most impactful insights came from discussions with my fellow participants. Advocacy and human rights work is fraught with the constant risk of burn out—of losing one’s path in cynical tangles. The program in Ireland reaffirmed my belief that community, the joy of being in the presence of like-minded, passionate people, is the best path to rekindle and reaffirm why I seek social change. During our breaks and dinners, we mapped out plans to collaborate on future projects and reconnect across the globe. More importantly, we discussed our individual coping tactics with secondary trauma and shared powerful anecdotes from our experiences. This multicultural exchange of activist stories and strategies was remarkable. Swapping the tactics we use to survive and work helped me formulate new ways to remain sensitive and capable as I move forward in my own efforts. Our discussions also spilled into documentary work and the dire need to not cause more harm, to avoid re-traumatization, and above all, to retain human connections through the camera lens. Ironically, each participant could share many times when they had witnessed this connection severed as human rights workers become callous and neglected the fundamental reason for their efforts: to give a voice to others, and through that, to make better our shared existence. As Nick noted, in order to remain true to those ideals we must seek out the stories that we are closest to, which one can live inside and make multi-threaded connections to. This is not to be driven by the desire to make a film, but to tell a human story. My sixteen fellow participants and I parted as friends, our own experiences made richer by the stories shared among us which accompanied the applied lessons from our lecturers. From the technical to the emotional, the Summer
School program imparted to me a new set of tools which I will use as I set off on my path of doctoral research into how music can be used in post-conflict situations. The practical skills of producing and getting funding will allow me to be successful in my efforts. The slightly more intangible lessons will allow me to stay honest to my aims. To remain human, to get closer to each person whose stories I hear, to remember my humility, and to do justice by creating works which can have an impact on our world. These lessons, some new, some simply reinforced, are ones which I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn thanks to the funding of the Center for Study of Religion and Conflict. Story by Galen J. Lamphere-Englund The Friends of the Center Student Awards are made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Center, a group of private individuals committed to advancing the research and education mission of ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. To learn more about how you can support this program, see http://csrc.asu.edu/support-csrc.
“I had set out for Ireland hoping to glean enough knowledge to eventually use film in my research into music and conflict transformation, yet because of my colleagues and teachers, I learned lessons that were far more extensive.”
Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict
his program allows students from any major to gain a broad multidisciplinary understanding of the dynamics of religion, conflict, and peace. Established with support from the Ford Foundation, faculty from over ten fields offer courses on such topics as “Religion, Violence and Conflict Resolution,” “Religion, Ethics and International Affairs,” “National Security and International Terrorism,” and “Gandhi and the Politics of Nonviolence.” The program has graduated 75 students since its launch in 2009, including 12 students who earned certificates in 2013-14: Sarah Anders (Religious Studies and History)
Carmel Dooling (History and Political Science)
Melanie North (Global Studies)
Derek Bakke (Global Studies)
Tracy Encizo (Integrative Studies)
Isaac Ortega (Religious Studies and Political Science)
John Barton (Religious Studies)
Grant Griffin, non-degree grad student
Sally Swinney (Global Studies)
Ashley Doering (Marketing and Religious Studies)
Alana Newman (Global Studies)
Mauro Whiteman (Journalism)
About the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict
eligion 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 religious dynamics of peace and conflict with the aim of advancing knowledge, seeking solutions and informing policy. By serving as a research hub that fosters exchange and collaboration—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.
Center for the Sudy of Religion and Conflict Staff Linell Cady Director John Carlson Associate Director Yasmin Saikia Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies Carolyn Forbes Assistant Director Laurie Perko Administrative Coordinator Maureen Olmsted Project Coordinator Matt Correa Assistant Research Administrator Gwyn Goebel Major Gifts Officer (CLAS) Faculty Advisory Committee Abdullahi Gallab African & African American Studies Joel Gereboff Religious Studies Steven Neuberg Psychology Daniel Rothenberg, Human Rights and Security Studies George Thomas Global Studies Hava Tirosh-Samuelson Jewish Studies (Director) Rebecca Tsosie, Native American History and Law Carolyn Warner Political Science Mark Woodward Religious Studies Student Interns and Graduate Assistants Darius Ansari Diana Coleman Emily Fritcke Crystine Miller Katie Mykleseth
Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict PO Box 870802 | Tempe, AZ 85287-0802 480.965.7187 | 480.965.9611 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org | csrc.asu.edu
2013-14 Annual Report of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict