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Message from the Director
he intermingling of the local and the global is now a defining feature of our time. Take the anti-Islam rally that took place in Phoenix in May. We might think this sad, hate filled spectacle just a local affair. Not so. A Center colleague currently working in Southeast Asia said friends and contacts from around the world forwarded him over 40 social media reports—in 6 languages— referencing his “home town” event. Our lives have become interwoven with others, near and far. The cultural innovations needed to inhabit our shared planet lag behind our technological advances. Our most sophisticated scientific instruments picture the vastness of the universe but our conceptual maps have not kept pace. Here at CSRC we are pursuing multiple initiatives that foster the knowledge, understanding, and imagination needed to live together well. This past year with a grant from the State Department we hosted seven Pakistani faculty for a semester in residence. We launched an initiative on Global Citizenship with support from the Henry Luce Foundation. We hosted a robust series of conferences and lectures on the dynamics of peace, conflict, and global affairs. I invite you to take a closer look at our report to learn about the people, the ideas, and the programs that make up our work. Please consider joining the Friends of the Center, a group that supports our efforts, helping us expand our scope and impact. Together, we can make a difference. Sincerely,
Table of Contents
CSRC Year in Review
Major Events The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism
Neuroscience and the Religious Imagination
Measuring Religion: Sacred Values in Human Conflict
Why Human Rights Depends on the Humanities
Research Religion and Global Citizenship
Pakistani Women at ASU Provide Glimpse of Culture ‘Beyond the Hijab’
Emerging Trends in Muslim Discourse
How do Religious Fervor and Violence Enhance Each Other?
Interrogating the Post-Secular Moment
New Book Discusses Women and Everday Peace in the Islamic World
People’s Peace: A Conference on Culture, Agency and Lived Experience
Friends of the Center: Making a Difference
Education Center Alum Returns from the Peace Corps
Undergraduate Fellows Program Shapes Career Choices
Undergraduate Research Fellows, 2014-15
Friends of the Center Research Awards
Undergraduate Certificate in Religion and Conflict
About the Center
CSRC Year in Review Highlights from the 2014-15 Academic Year
August Luce Foundation grant awarded to Linell Cady and John Carlson: “Religion and Global Citizenship” NSF grant awarded to Carolyn Warner, Steve Neuberg and David Siroky: “Religious Infusion and Asymmetric Group Conflict”
September Carnegie Humanities Investment Fund awarded to Hava TiroshSamuelson and Linell Cady:“Interrogating the Post-secular Moment”
Release of Abdullahi Gallab’s Their Second Republic: Islamism in the Sudan from Disintegration to Oblivion (Ashgate)
Conversations at the Center •M atthew Riedl: “Apocalyptic Violence: The Desire for Universal Destruction and Its Historical Origins”
Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies
Peace Studies: A Film Series September 2014
Join us at the Center, Noon to 2:30 p.m. in West Hall Room 135, for a film series highlighting issues of justice, people’s struggle, religion, and peace. Each screening of these four acclaimed films will be followed by a discussion led by a faculty member.
Wednesday, Sept. 3
Thursday, Sept. 4
Wednesday, Sept. 10
Thursday, Sept. 11
Heart of Jenin
This documentary is the story of a Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers. His father donates his son’s organs to Israeli children as a gesture of peace, and then travels through Israel to meet the families he has helped.
Parzania is based on the true story of a 10-year-old boy who disappeared during the 2002 Gujarat riots in India. The film tells the story of the riots, and traces the journey of a family trying to locate their missing son.
In 1988, Chile voted on military dictator Augusto Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. This Oscar nominated film details how opposition leaders devised an audacious plan to win the election.
‘The Square’ details the ongoing struggle of the Egyptian Revolution through the eyes of six very different protesters. It follows a lifechanging journey from the euphoria of victory to the dangers of the current period.
Faculty expert: Amit Ron Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Faculty expert: Yasmin Saikia Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies and Professor of History, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Faculty expert: Daniel Rothenberg Professor of Practice, School of Politics and Global Studies
Faculty expert: Chad Haines Assistant Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Supported by the Hardt-Nickachos Peace Studies Endowment. This is a free public event, but seating is limited so please RSVP to reserve a seat.
DoD-ONR grant awarded to Mark Woodward and Hasan Davulcu: “Shifting Trends in Muslim Discourse: Sectarianism and the Rise of Shari’ah Consciousness” Asma Niaz and Ayesha Babar, first cohort of Visiting Scholars from Kinnaird College for Women (Pakistan), begin residencies at CSRC
Announcement of 2014–15 Undergraduate Research Fellows Launch of Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar: Religion and Global Citizenship
For more information or to RSVP: csrc.asu.edu or 480.727.6736
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Lecture Series
Launch of Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar: The PostSecular Moment Launch of Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar: Measuring Religion Minerva Research Presentation, Washington, D.C.
Release of Sally Kitch’s Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders (Univ. of Illinois Press) Conversations at the Center • Evelyn Bush: “Measuring Religion: Political and Economic Influences of Religious NGOs”
• Peace Studies Film Festival, with discussions led by Chad Haines, Amit Ron, Daniel Rothenberg, Yasmin Saikia
• Scott Atran: “Measuring Religion: Sacred Values in Human Conflict” Friends of the Center •A ndrew Bacevich: “American Exceptionalism and The Limits of Power” Launch of New Lecture Series: Interactions and Interchanges: Literature, Culture, Globlalization (a partnership with the ASU English Department) • J ayson Gonzales Sae-Saue: “Constructing Paradigms of Future Critique from Foundational Studies of the Past” • S ophie McClennen: “Why Human Rights Depend on the Humanities”
• Scott Atran: “Talking to the Enemy: The Making and Unmaking of Terrorists”
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions Lecture Series
Tehreem Arslan Aurakzai, Zahra Hamdani, Kanza Javed, Mahwish Khan, and Aisha Usman, second cohort of Visiting Scholars from Kinnaird College for Women (Pakistan), begin residencies at CSRC Conversations at the Center • L uis Cabrera: “Faith, Death, and Freedom on the Arizona Frontier”
Interactions and Interchanges: Literature, Culture, Globlalization Lecture Series •G abriele Schwab: “Radioactive Ghosts: Precarious Lives in the Aftermath of Nuclear Contamination”
• David Eagleman: “ Neuroscience and the Religious Imagination” Interactions and Interchanges: Literature, Culture, Globlalization Lecture Series • “Ledfeather,” a reading and discussion with author Stephen Graham Jones Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict
Release of Women and Peace in the Islamic World: Gender, Agency and Influence (IB Tauris) edited by Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines Conversations at the Center
Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies
A multidisciplinary conference exploring peace through culture, agency and lived experience
April 16 & 17 West Hall 135 ASU Tempe campus
Thursday, April 16 9 – 9:30 a.m. Coffee and Registration 9:30 – 9:45 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks Linell Cady, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies 9:45 – 11:45 a.m.. Opening Plenary Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary “How to End War in Your Spare Time” Bruce B. Lawrence, Duke University and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University, Istanbul “Exegeting Peace from Nagpur” 11:45 a.m. Lunch, Secret Garden 1 – 3:15 p.m. Practices of Peace David Cortright, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame “The Power of Nonviolence” Donald L. Fixico, Arizona State University “Spiritual Balance of Peace” Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College “Enacting Violence, Inspiring Peace: Religious Peacebuilding from Local to Global”
3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Intersections of Peace Leslie Dwyer, George Mason University “Peace-Making at the Intersection of Local and Global in Bali, Indonesia” Amanda Izzo, Saint Louis University “‘The Nuns Were Not Just Nuns’: Missionary Martyrdom and the Long Arc of Justice in the Salvadoran Civil War”
NBC Video Commentary on “A.D. The Bible Continues” by CSRC affiliate Jason Bruner Workshop on “Making Religion Visible in Global Health” (with School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies) Friends of the Center Student Research Awards Announced
Friday, April 17 9 – 11:15 a.m. Peace in Place Stuart Schwartz, Yale University “Toleration from Below: Its Opponents and Its Doubters” Jackie Smith, University of Pittsburgh “Human Rights City Initiatives as a Peoples Peace Process” Chad Haines, Arizona State University “Peace in the Alley: Informality and Everyday Peace in Islamic Cities” Atalia Omer, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame “Is Ferguson the Same as Gaza? Diaspora Grassroots Activism and Intersectional Alliances” 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Closing Plenary Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University “Is Peace Possible?”
Joel Gereboff, Arizona State University “Rabbinic Stories of Reconciliation: Successful and Failed”
• Panel Discussion with Chad Haines, Abdullahi Gallab, Ibrahim Hassan and Raza Rumi: “The Global Dynamics of Violent Extremism” • Panel Discussion with Tehreem Arslan Aurakzai, Zahra Hamdani, Kanza Javed, Mahwish Khan, and Aisha Usman: “Beyond the Hijab: Pakistani Women’s Perspectives” (with Project Humanities)
Workshop on “The University at the Post-Secular Moment: Interrogating Assumptions”, with Michael Crow, David Hollinger, Jeffrey Kripal, Wayne Proudfoot
This conference is supported by the Hardt-Nickachos Endowment in Peace Studies. For further information or to register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480.965.7187.
•C onference on “People’s Peace”, with plenary addresses by Hamid Dabashi, Bruce Lawrence, and Susan Thistlethwaite Conversations at the Center •A lice Kang: “Measuring Religion: Bargaining for Women’s Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy” hil Stover, “The Catholic •P Church and the Mexican Revolution” (with School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies)
2014-15 Certificates in Religion and Conflict awarded
The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism
merican power around the world is facing new challenges, and our government is often paralyzed by gridlock. How did we get here, and how do we fix it? And why does calling for a military solution seem to be the first recourse rather than the last? Andrew Bacevich addressed these questions and their historical roots as part of the Center’s Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions lecture series this past year. “Andrew Bacevich has been called one of our indispensable “ And why does calling intellectuals, one of the most thought provoking national for a military solution security writers out there seem to be the first today,” Center director Linell Cady said. recourse rather than “The historical perspective the last?” that he brings to the study of international affairs is enormously important and illuminating.” According to Bacevich, America’s international politics have been shaped since the 1990s by four “Big Ideas”—Fukuyama’s end of history, globalization, the indispensable nation theory, and full-spectrum dominance. Of these four, he asserted, full-spectrum dominance is the least commonly known, but also the most influential in the formation of the Global War on Terrorism. “Full-spectrum dominance posited that with
the end of the Cold War, with the onset of the end of history, the United States of America found itself in possession of unmatched and unprecedented military capabilities that endowed the United States with unprecedented and permanent military supremacy,” Bacevich said. This assumption, combined with the other “Big Ideas” claiming America’s position as a permanent superpower, was the driving force behind the United States’ response to the 9/11 attacks, according to Bacevich. “It was assumed that the supremacy of American military power was going to facilitate and guarantee the process of globalization, and it was going to give way to American claims of global leadership,” Bacevich said. “This was what the four Big Ideas of the 1990s yielded. An allmighty superpower that cannot be afraid to act.” Bacevich said that the promises of fullspectrum dominance failed for three reasons. First, it led to a failure of leadership to anticipate the political complications that would hamstring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Secondly, “in fashioning their response to 9/11, the Bush administration failed to understand the extent to which US claims of supremacy rested on the consent of others in the international order.” Finally, Bacevich continued, this line of thinking led to a war campaign that neglected to involve American citizens, unheard of in United States history. “Full‑spectrum dominance discounted the importance of nurturing an intimate relationship between soldiers and society,” Bacevich said. Bacevich concluded his lecture by calling for America’s leaders to “close that gap” between our professed goals as a superpower and the actual limits of our capabilities and resources. “We should revise our goals and purposes to see this so‑called Global War on Terrorism as both deeply flawed and fundamentally unsustainable and to chart a different course, one that is consistent with the means that we actually have available.” Story by Tye Rabens Andrew Bacevich is a former Army officer and professor of international relations and history at Boston University. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. His books include Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country and The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.
Neuroscience and the Religious Imagination
ow can a better understanding of the human brain help us study the nature of religion and conflict? Drawing insights from science, psychology, philosophy and current events, award-winning neuroscientist and author David Eagleman explored this and other questions at a lecture hosted by the Center this past year. Eagleman is the best-selling author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, as well as numerous academic articles. As part of the Center’s Alternative Visions Lecture Series, Eagleman outlined his views on religious conflict, based on his research into the workings of the human mind. Eagleman began his talk by discussing group selection theory, which broadly contends that a population tending toward cooperation is more fit to survive. He argued that this theory has special applications to the study of religion and conflict. “What religion does is cause people to work together cooperatively,” Eagleman asserted. But he also cautioned that while religion does cause “people to behave more decently to people of their in-group”, it also causes people to “behave more badly to people in their out-group.” Eagleman then analyzed several experiments, including some performed in his own lab, that studied underlying neurological factors behind how the brain exhibits empathy, and how it limits empathy. In particular, Eagleman described a study in which participants’ brainwaves were scanned while watching videos of hands being stabbed by either a syringe or a Q-tip. In general, watching another human experience genuine pain ignited the same brain network involved with processing one’s own physical pain. “What that means is that empathy is about, literally, feeling someone else’s pain,” Eagleman said. However, the experiment then added religious labels—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Scientologist, Hindu, and Atheist—to the hands being “stabbed.” Eagleman found that for each group, the brain exhibited an empathy response only
when the participant’s “in-group” experienced pain. “When we talk about dehumanization, it’s literal,” Eagleman concluded. “The circuits in your brain that deal with people as people, they’re going offline.” This neurological pattern, Eagleman contended, is what causes populations to commit large-scale atrocities on another group; in short, one can be trained to view another without empathy, or as less than human. “People can say whatever they want,” Eagleman said. “People say, ‘Look, I love all my brethren equally,’ but it’s not true, and we can measure that.” Eagleman concluded by discussing his personal views on the intersection of religion and science. He argued that although we know too much to accept any single creation story as the truth, rejecting religious insights outright goes against the exploratory spirit of science. Instead, Eagleman offered his own value system that he calls “possibilianism.” Basically, this means to plot all theories in a “possibility space” from which we can study universal phenomena currently unexplained by science. “I think what life and science really teach us is how much we don’t know,” Eagleman said. “As far as the eye can see, it’s all uncharted waters.” Story by Tye Rabens
Religion and Conflict: Alternative Visions is a lectures series supported by a grant from John Whiteman. The series brings nationally and internationally recognized experts to campus to address the religious dynamics of conflict and peace. 5
David Eagleman, neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action, speaking at the MU on ASU’s Tempe Campus.
“ I think what life and science really teach us is how much we don’t know. As far as the eye can see, it’s all uncharted waters.”
Measuring Religion: Sacred Values in Human Conflict
Scott Atran is research director in anthropology at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, Presidential Scholar at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University. His books include Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists and In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion.
hy do moral or religious beliefs sometimes drive people to risk their lives or commit violent acts? And how do we approach making peace in conflicts where opposing value systems take center stage? These questions lay at the heart of a series of lectures given by renknowned anthropologist Scott Atran as part of the Conversations at the Center and the Friends of the Center lecture series this past year. “His work is remarkably wide-ranging,” said Center Director Linell Cady. “It brings together approaches from evolutionary psychology, “ While there’s no necessary link anthropology, between religious belief and violent cognitive ethnography, and theories of violence and religion.” conflict, during intergroup conflict, Atran discussed his research protagonists may transform that seeks to understand how and why people will fight, otherwise material interest into risk serious loss, and even die, sacred values.” rather than compromise, for the “sacred values” of their group. These sacred values, cemented through ritual and a sense of purpose and fraternity, are powerful enough to build civilizations and “facilitate both large-scale cooperation and enduring group conflict,” Atran said. However, he argued that not enough is known about how these kinds of values shape the human 6
world. “There’s been very, very little study of what these kinds of value systems are, yet they almost always trump economic and political rationality.” In addition, Atran claimed that belief in modern ideological concepts like nationalism, liberal democracy, fascism, and human rights follow the same patterns as religious belief. All these value systems can prove more powerful in determining a person’s actions than practicality, logic, or even survival. Therefore, offering monetary or material compensation for someone to compromise a sacred value is not persuasive, according to Atran, and may even backfire—after all, if someone offered to buy your child, would you be more likely to agree, or get angry and resist? “In economic theory, everything’s fungible,” Atran explained, but those engaged in a conflict based on their group’s sacred values “are generally immune to material tradeoffs.” Such observations have crucial implications for the study of religious conflict, Atran contended, because when a conflict is constructed in terms of competing moral frameworks, they can become much more violent and intractable. “Disputes over otherwise mundane material resources—people, territory, energy sources— become existential struggles as when land becomes Holy Land,” Atran explained. “While there’s no necessary link between religious belief and violent conflict, during intergroup conflict, protagonists may transform otherwise material interest into sacred values.” Finally, Atran said that if peace negotiations in such conflicts are to be successful, leaders on both sides must approach each other with empathy and understanding, and focus on reframing or re-prioritizing sacred beliefs rather than changing them. “We know things like apologies, respect, and simply recognition that [opposing groups] are not nuts, that their values matter to them...are very important,” Atran said. Story by Tye Rabens
Why Human Rights Depend on the Humanities
hy are humanities scholars so often left and policy-making realms, out from the formation and development devaluing what the humanities of international human rights policy? have to offer human rights. How can we meaningfully apply humanities According to McClennen, “one theories to human rights frameworks? of neoliberalism’s key successes Author, columnist, and scholar Sophia is in convincing the public that McClennen tackled these issues as part of the humanists themselves have little, Center’s new speaker series, “Interactions and if anything, to offer in the effort Interchanges: Literature, Culture, Globalization,” to solve major human rights that was launched this year. struggles.” To begin her talk, McClennen examined the McClennen concluded her breakdown in discourse between human rights lecture by outlining several practitioners and humanities scholars. essential questions at the heart “Those of us who specialize in the study of of human rights advocacy—and culture are acutely aware of the ways that cultural how the humanities can help forms can lead equally to genocide and to peace,” answer them. McClennen said. “Yet, we’ve been sidelined Chief among these questions from the core of these struggles, relegated to the is how to inquire about human margins.” rights issues. Traditional lines of McClennen traced this disconnect to three inquiry favored by policymakers intellectual movements: the Enlightenment, tend to leave out the nuanced postmodern thought, and the current rise of cultural and social circumstances neoliberalism. surrounding facts, McClennen argued. First, the Enlightenment led to “the divorce Humanities offers another line of thinking— between philosophy and about the relationships science, signaled by the and background ideas that “ Those of us who split between deductive and necessarily frame human rights empirical methods of inquiry,” specialize in the study issues. McClennen said. This created “This, then, is where the of culture are acutely an intellectual divide between humanities steps in, to make “the search for the true” and sense of human rights in ways aware of the ways “the search for the good and that those who favor empirical that cultural forms beautiful.” approaches miss,” McClennen Next, McClennen argued, stated. can lead equally to postmodern thought generated Though punctuated by genocide and to differences in “how these two the speaker’s humor and wit, fields understand subjectivity,” McClennen’s lecture was an peace. Yet, we’ve or “the tension between the earnest call for “heightened been sidelined from universal and the particular.” collaboration” between “The human rights activists humanities and human rights. the core of these think that humanists have no “It’s my view that the struggles, relegated practical knowledge that would absence of humanists— help them. The humanists understood here as specialists to the margins.” falsely assume that human in culture and in the various rights discourse continues to ways that humans understand, rest on enlightenment ethics, when in fact those represent, and theorize human life—in shaping ethics have undergone a number of conceptual human rights policy must be registered as a transformations,” McClennen asserted. profound loss,” McClennen said. Recently, neoliberalism’s ascension in both economic and public policy has further weakened the role of the humanities in both academic 7
Sophia McClennen, professor of comparative literature and international affairs, directs Penn State’s Center for Global Studies and its Latin American Studies program. She has published seven books, including Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy and Neoliberalism, Education, Terrorism: Contemporary Dialogues.
Religion and Global Citizenship
ecome a global citizen and learn how to change the world.” Universities across the United States are increasingly using such language to describe the orientation and skills students will need to succeed in the 21st century. But it’s not just universities who are talking about global citizenship. Activists use the concept to promote human rights causes, corporations use it to explain their business strategies, and policymakers “ The ways that global citizenship is increasingly talk about global citizenship as a way negotiated and reconciled in the coming of describing the duties of years could have significant implications international institutions. for some of the most pressing problems As the idea of global citizenship spreads, what in international affairs in the twenty-first role do religious traditions century.” and communities play in reinforcing or undermining the development of global citizens? Is global citizenship a secular project that competes with forms of religious universalism? Is global citizenship itself a spiritual project? Or is it a movement that is reconfiguring religious and secular formations? These are some of the questions that the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has set out to answer in a new project, “Religion and Global Citizenship,” that is funded with a multiyear grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. “The universalist orientation of global citizenship raises fundamental questions about its relation to other forms of identity and allegiance,” says Linell Cady, director of the Center and codirector of the project. “It represents efforts to create new obligations and loyalties that challenge more traditional ideas of religious and national belonging.” The Project Different understandings of global citizenship are often evident in debates over foreign policy and how to deal with violent conflicts around the world. “What are the implications of global citizenship regarding the use of military power for humanitarian purposes?” asks John Carlson, an associate professor of religious studies who codirects the project with Cady. “The ways that global citizenship is negotiated and reconciled in the coming years could have 8
significant implications for some of the most pressing problems in international affairs in the twenty-first century,” Carlson says. For some, the current nation-state system supplies an appropriate mechanism by which to navigate international relations. For others, however, the nation-state system requires a stronger international regulatory system to address humanitarian, justice, and civil issues. Creating international treaties on human rights has proven to be much easier than reaching agreement about the duties of nations, institutions, and individuals to safeguard those rights. This raises numerous questions about when and where the claims of global citizenship trump or yield to national interests and local citizenship. The Team Joining Cady and Carlson on the project’s lead team are Roxanne Doty, a political scientist and associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies; Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies and professor of history; and George Thomas, a sociologist and professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies. “This project explores both historical and contemporary dimensions of global citizenship,” says Thomas. “We examine its roots and how it has evolved, as well as the ways claims surrounding global citizenship are used in practice today.” The multiyear project involves visiting scholars, international workshops and an on-going faculty seminar designed to deepen cross-cultural understanding and advance scholarship and teaching about global citizenship. The Role of Religion Often neglected in conversations pertaining to global citizenship is the role of religion. Many consider religion a private matter and preclude religion from public discussion, citing the divisive nature of religion globally and nationally. “For 200 years, citizens of countries in Europe and the Americas have learned to think about religion as something separate from political life— something private and personal.” says Gaymon Bennett, assistant professor of religious studies and a participant in the project’s faculty seminar. “Given that history, it’s perhaps not surprising that major players on the global stage—from international organizations to multinational corporations—don’t think of religion and
Faculty Seminar The faculty seminar brings together expertise from history, sociology, political science, anthropology, religious studies, and international studies to explore the historical and theoretical dimensions of global citizenship, including its roots, evolution, and diffusion. The seminar also engages leading sites and exemplars of global citizenship, the causes and interests they represent, and the institutions and venues in which global citizenship is put into practice, paying special attention to the relationship among global citizenship, religion, and other forms of identity and commitment. To learn more, see religionandglobalcitizenship.csrc.asu.edu.
Gaymon Bennett Assistant Professor of Religious Studies School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Roxanne Doty Associate Professor School of Politics and Global Studies
Stanlie James Professor School of Social Transformation
Yasmin Saikia Professor of History, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Linell Cady Director, Professor of Religious Studies Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Chad Haines Assistant Professor School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Catherine O’Donnell Associate Professor of History School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Terry Shoemaker Research Assistant Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict
John Carlson Associate Director, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Anne Herbert Director for Undergraduate Education Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Thomas Puleo Assistant Professor School of Politics and Global Studies
George Thomas Professor School of Politics and Global Studies
religious communities as being a significant vector in the play of global dynamics,” says Bennett. According to Bennett, “it’s vital that those in power get much clearer about the multiple ways in which global forces reshape people’s religious lives, and the ways in which people’s religious lives provide the essential matrix through which they experience, interpret, and respond to global forces.” Another key component of the research project is the inclusion of scholars and practitioners from around the globe. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
in Malaysia, was one of the projects first visiting scholars. Muzaffar suggested that religion or spirituality is needed in discussions about global citizenship because religion can infuse the discourse with a moral ethic not present elsewhere. After a series of international workshops, the project team will publish an edited volume of essays and a final report to disseminate the findings and insights of the initiative. Story by Terry Shoemaker
Pakistani Women at ASU Provide Glimpse of Culture ‘Beyond the Hijab’
W When Tehreem Aurakzai stepped off the plane at PhoenixSky Harbor airport, she didn’t fully appreciate her new role as a ‘cultural representative’.
ASU English professor and project director Deborah Clarke lecturing on gender in American literature before a packed crowd at Kinnaird College for Women, November 2014.
hen Tehreem Aurakzai stepped off the plane at Phoenix-Sky Harbor airport, she didn’t fully appreciate her new role as “cultural representative.” A scholar on a U.S. State Department exchange, Aurakzai was in Arizona to research American literature and culture. What she hadn’t planned was having to defend the reputation of her home country of Pakistan, which many Americans view as a strife-ridden hotbed of terrorism. Aurakzai knows differently. Pakistan has an active civil society, with numerous strong women leaders, who are seen as key to combating extremism in the Islamic South Asian republic. It is also a place of rich culture, history and diversity. Aurakzai worked to convey Pakistan’s complexity to students and faculty she met at Arizona State University and in the surrounding community. “Terrorism is everywhere because we are living in an age of violence. It doesn’t happen only in Pakistan,” she says. Aurakzai believes that to combat negative views of another culture, “The best way is to visit the country itself, meet people and experience on your own.” Aurakzai is a lecturer in the English department at Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan. She and four other scholars from Kinnaird—Zahra Hamdani, Kanza Javed, Mahwish Khan and Aisha Usman—spent the spring 2015 semester at ASU funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. The three-year project, “Globalizing Research and Teaching of American Literature: A University Partnership between ASU and
Kinnaird College (Lahore),” aims to create an academic, research, and knowledge exchange that will help to empower Pakistani women in academia and in society. Faculty and staff from ASU’s Department of English and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict co-direct the project and participated in the first wave of exchanges to Pakistan in fall 2014 while ASU hosted two scholars from Pakistan. The second Pakistani cohort arrived in January 2015. They participated in classes, attended cultural events, met with mentors, and gave presentations on their own research and scholarship during their semester-long ASU visit. One course that two Pakistani scholars attended was Professor Melissa Pritchard’s English 594: Creative Writing—Fiction class. Not only did the Pakistani women gain insight on trends in the field of contemporary American literature, their very presence in the classroom was a learning experience for their U.S. counterparts. “Having students from overseas in ASU classes brings new perspectives that many students haven’t considered,” says Carolyn Forbes, assistant director of the ASU Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and project manager for the exchange. “These sorts of exchanges shape new research questions that lead to new ways of teaching the material.” The ASU hosts, which in addition to Forbes included English faculty Deborah Clarke, Claudia Sadowski-Smith, and Neal A. Lester, as well as Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies Yasmin Saikia and CSRC coordinator Laurie Perko, provided opportunities for the Pakistani scholars to be immersed in multi-ethnic literatures of the U.S. In particular, the group focused on introducing the unique culture of the American Southwest. “We built in to the grant a variety of cultural experiences that we thought would enhance their understanding of the literature they were reading,” Forbes said. “For example, we visited Santa Fe where they were able to tour one of the pueblos in the area and explore the intermingling of Native, Hispanic, and Anglo culture.” Forbes added that she and her colleagues did their best to minimize culture shock for the participants. One boon: CSRC found a house to rent, so the Pakistani women were all able to stay together.
“The house was within walking distance educational, and women have provided strong of campus, and this sort of living experience leadership in that sector. more closely resembled the way families live “Women in Pakistan do face difficult in Pakistan. The neighbors also did a lot of situations,” Usman said. “But they are also community activities together and this turned empowered and have minds of their own.” out to be a real plus since these sort of social Pakistani women are typically charged with interactions are also more providing structure and early common in Pakistan,” Forbes learning opportunities for their “ I became an English said. children, so it is with this in The five women participated mind that Usman quips, “If we professor because of in a public panel discussion are educating a woman, we are the opportunities it at ASU on March 26 called educating a nation.” “Beyond the Hijab: Pakistani As hoped, the exchange has provides to enter into Women’s Perspectives.” Each affected the Pakistani women’s other’s experiences. scholar shared her introduction own perspectives. Aurakzai to American culture and says that she now has a global This is the spirit at focused on dispelling some of mindset and will apply newly the heart of this the preconceived notions of learned teaching skills when she Pakistani women. goes back to her country. exchange.” During the discussion, “I grew as a person, and panelist Aisha Usman, a member this was a very intellectually of the English Literature faculty at Kinnaird, stimulating experience,” she affirms. “I became an addressed a main area of concern—the role English professor because of the opportunities it of media in shaping perceptions of women in provides to enter into others’ experiences. This is Muslim countries. the spirit at the heart of this exchange.” Usman sees the media as emphasizing the Each of the scholars will return to the U.S. in fall stereotype that women in Pakistan aren’t able 2015 to present academic papers based on research they to fill leadership roles. But, she pointed out, did while at ASU. Several ASU faculty will travel to Kinnaird College is a women’s college where Pakistan in the fall, and the next cohort of Kinnaird most of the faculty are women. She also revealed scholars is due to arrive at ASU in spring 2016. that much of Pakistan’s higher education is coStory by Paulina Iracka and Kristen LaRue-Sandler 11
ASU English professors Neal Lester and Deborah Clarke with Nadia Anjum, head of Kinnaird’s graduate program in English literature, and faculty and graduate students outside of Kinnaird’s staff house in November 2014.
Emerging Trends in Muslim Discourse
“ The research that we have conducted to date indicates that themes, including heresy, definining religious others as existential threats to one’s own community, violence against women and children, and ‘deviant’ sexual practices, are common. In most cases, these allegations are fabrications that define ‘others’ in terms of archetypes of evil.”
hat does the future of Islamic extremism look like? The central themes in extremist Muslim discourse around the world are increasingly shifting from Salafi Jihadism to narratives promoting Shari’ah law and sectarianism directed against Shia, minority, and non-Muslim groups. A prominent example is ISIS, a Salafi group in name, but sectarian in its actions. This trend has compelled governments and researchers worldwide to ask new and difficult questions about violent Islamic extremism: How has the rise of sectarian groups affected religious discourse and politics in the Muslim world? What strategies do they use to communicate their views online and on the ground? And how can learning about these trends benefit those opposed to ISIS and similar groups, within Muslim communities and internationally? These are the essential questions ASU professor Mark Woodward seeks to answer. His latest research project, “Emerging Trends in Muslim Discourse,” utilizes qualitative and computational methods to identify semantic dynamics in the discourse of those promoting sectarian Islamic agendas worldwide. Woodward, associate professor of religious studies and faculty affiliate of the Center, hopes this research will yield new insight into important developments in Muslim discourse, including deeper understanding of the politics of Shari’ah and sectarianism, their sources, and the networks through which they are disseminated. One need look no further than current events in the news today to find examples of why these developments are vital to understand. “The most obvious example is the current conflict in the Middle East, which pits Sunni extremists against Shia. This has spilled over into Southeast Asia and Europe, though so far without the violence,” says Woodward, the project’s principal investigator. The transdisciplinary project will conduct research in five countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey, and the UK—selected for their large Muslim communities and geopolitical and cultural importance. In addition, all five countries share concerns over sectarian and Shari’ah issues. “We expect that the project will yield findings important for those seeking to effectively counter extremist movements,” Woodward says. “My 12
hope is that by better understanding the rhetoric they use, mainstream religious leaders and NGOs will be able to formulate strategies that will impede radicalization.” Woodward and his team began work on “Emerging Trends in Muslim Discourse” in 2014, conducting research in all five target countries. The project combines ethnographic research, textual analysis, and analysis of rhetoric on Twitter and other social media streams. Woodward aims to produce a book on the semantics of religious intolerance and hate speech and its impact across countries and cultures. “The research that we have conducted to date indicates that themes, including heresy, defining religious others as existential threats to one’s own community, violence against women and children, and ‘deviant’ sexual practices, are common,” Woodward explains. “In most cases, these allegations are fabrications that define
Mark Woodward, associate professor of religious studies, and Hasan Davulcu, associate professor of computer science, bring together a unique interdisciplinary approach to the study of the interaction of violent and counter-violent social movements.
‘others’ in terms of archetypes of evil.” Woodward’s extensive academic career includes research into political Islam, religion and modernity, and religion and conflict in Southeast Asia. He has published ground breaking research on Islam in Indonesia, and has led multi-country research projects that have resulted in publications across multiple fields. “Mark Woodward’s research has contributed enormously to understanding the sources and dynamics of conflict in Muslim communities around the world today, with particular attention to counter-extremist movements,” says Carolyn Forbes, assistant director of the Center. “His work exemplifies the kind of transdisciplinary, socially-engaged research that the Center seeks to develop.” He is joined on the “Emerging Trends” project by Hasan Davulcu, an associate professor of computer science in ASU’s School of Computing,
Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and Muhammad Sani Umar, a historian and professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Amadu Bello in Nigeria. Working closely with Davulcu, the team has also helped advance innovative approaches to Big Data. Much of Woodward’s recent career has focused on analyzing violent discourse and religious division within the Islamic world. However, in the future, he hopes to return to more peaceful topics, such as writing a book about the Wali Songo, the revered Javanese saints of Islam in Indonesia. “I hope that the time will come when I can stop doing research about violent extremism,” Woodward says. Story by Tye Rabens
How Do Religious Fervor and Violence Enhance Each Other?
eligious extremism. Violent conflict. Which comes first? The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is one of the most recent and well known examples of a small group engaged in violence that claims a religious identity and frames its actions with religious language. But how exactly do religious fervor and violence create or enhance each other? The Center’s research team of Carolyn Warner, professor of political science in the School of Politics and Global Studies, and Steven Neuberg, Foundation Professor in psychology, were awarded a multi-year grant from the National Science “ The questions the Foundation to explore these project raises have questions. significant national Their project, “Religious Infusion and Asymmetric security implications Conflict,” examines a wide array and their answers have of case studies around the world the potential to offer to determine how and why small religious groups do or do not crucial insights that engage in conflict. may help anticipate the “Which specific emergence of conflict features of religion play a role in situations, create how a small interventions to defuse group of potential conflicts, people
and manage existing conflicts.”
engages in conflict against a much stronger group?” asks Warner. “In one of our previous projects we found a pattern of behavior suggesting that religion is often a primary factor when a less powerful group engages in violent conflict, and in this project we are taking a closer look at why that happens.” The questions the project raises have significant national security implications and their answers have the potential to offer crucial insights that may help anticipate the emergence of conflict situations, create interventions to defuse potential conflicts, and manage existing conflicts. Joining Warner and Neuberg on the research team is David Siroky, assistant professor of political science in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies, and researchers from Georgetown, University of Florida, and the University of Allahabad in India. The research team draws from multiple fields in the social and behavioral sciences in order to investigate how religious ritual, doctrine, and context shape the motivations and capacities of weak but religiously-infused groups to initiate conflict against stronger groups. “Highly motivated groups can successfully target and inflict harm on stronger rivals, but what counts as a sufficiently strong motivation to overcome the significant risks?” asks Neuberg. The team will attempt to address these questions and test their hypotheses through a number of methods. These include in-depth case studies of groups in the Middle East and South Asia, comparative analysis of low-power groups representing diverse religious and ethnic identities around the world, and lab experimentation in the U.S. and India. “Exploring the community rituals, socialization practices, and organizational structure of several religious groups in multiple geographical settings through multiple methods can offer some depth to previous research on these issues,” says Neuberg. Findings from the research will be made available to the academic community, policymakers, students and the public through courses, professional meetings, publications and presentations. Story by Matt Correa
Interrogating the Post-Secular Moment
or a half a century or more it has been widely accepted that as societies become more modern, they necessarily grow less religious. Recently, though, this notion seems less and less representative of the realties around us. From controversies over teachers and students wearing headscarves in European schools to the rise of Christian mega-churches and conflict over the location of mosques in the U.S., religion seems more than ever a matter of public debate and controversy. Other forms of spirituality based in meditation, health, and community are also gaining social visibility, and challenging the assumption that “ From controversies over teachers those who understand scientific and students wearing headscarves in principles necessarily reject European schools, to the rise of Christian spiritual pursuits and questions. Are we in a “post-secular” mega-churches and conflict over the moment? Do theories of location of mosques in the U.S., religion secularism and secularization seems more than ever a matter of public have to be reconsidered in light developments of recent events? debate and controversy.” challenging These ideas are at the secularization heart of ongoing research and theories in the university context, as well as in the collaboration by an interdisciplinary group of broader social and political spheres. scholars convened jointly by the Center for the Ideas generated over the course of the year, Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center for and input from the workshop, have inspired the Jewish Studies. project’s co-directors, Linell Cady, professor The project, “Interrogating the Post-Secular of religious studies, and Hava Samuelson, Moment,” is supported by a seed grant from professor of history and Jewish studies, to explore the Carnegie Humanities Investment Fund. Its opportunities to expand the project into a purpose is to produce innovative humanistic larger, in-depth study of these issues and related research, that crosses the boundaries of the phenomena. humanities, the social sciences, and the natural The research team sees a lack of empirical sciences, and to demonstrate the relevance of research on the cross-traffic, overlap, and humanistic scholarship for contemporary public relationships between science and religion. The life. proposed future project would seek to fill this This March the project’s research culminated gap by examining historical and contemporary with a workshop that convened a group of points of intersection between religion, science, scholars from across the humanities and social and technology across a variety of cultural and sciences, and featured guest scholars Michael national contexts. Crow, president of ASU, David Hollinger Cady and Samuelson were joined on the from the University of California, Berkeley, project by ASU professors from a range of Jeffrey Kripal from Rice University, and Wayne disciplines, including Ben Hurlbut, assistant Proudfoot from Columbia University. professor in the School of Life Sciences; Erik The speakers and the assembled faculty and Fisher, assistant professor in the School of Politics graduate students engaged in a lively conversation and Global Studies; Gaymon Bennett, assistant about the status of religion, secularity, and postprofessor of religion, science, and technology; secularity within the university and beyond. and Gregg Zachary, professor of practice at the Important questions were brought to the Consortium For Science Policy. table addressing how to understand recent Story by Tess Doezema 15
ASU President Michael M. Crow and Dean of Humanities George Justice meeting with members of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar during a workshop on “Interrogating the PostSecular Moment.”
New Book Discusses Women and Everyday Peace in the Islamic World
hat is a realistic idea of peace? Peace is most commonly thought of as something governments deliver to people by negotiating or applying strategic violence to end particular conflicts or wars. What does this idea of peace leave out? How can we think about peace in ways that broaden it beyond something the powerful give to the weak? Where do we look for peacemaking in the practices of ordinary people in everyday life? In their new book of essays, Women and Peace in the Islamic World: Gender, Agency and Influence, ASU professors and co-editors Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines suggest new interpretations of peace by exploring the everyday interactions of Muslim women. The book presents original research from different parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, including Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Sudan. It both challenges assumptions of Islam as an inherently violent religion, and offers some new and timely examples of Muslim women forging new pathways toward peace in the contemporary world. “Women are often defined by their ‘victim’ status in conflict situations,” says Saikia, holder of the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. “When we focus too much on those categorizations, we lose sight of women as active agents who create new narratives for peace in their everyday lives.” The book’s contributors, including scholars from Harvard, Georgetown, Duke and elsewhere, draw upon a rich array of personal experiences, research, and work in the field to understand the diverse roles Muslim women play in the development of peaceful and just communities. 16
“There are some long-standing stereotypes about Muslim women that are worth challenging,” says Haines, assistant professor of religious and global studies. “The essays in this book show the diversity of roles Muslim women play in contemporary Muslim societies, and also how their religion shapes how they become agents of peace.” By documenting a range of Muslim women’s perspectives, the book shows how the path to peace for women is not easily defined. In Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana’s chapter on Muslim women’s involvement in peacebuilding she discusses the importance of women’s engagement and full participation in society as a fundamental component of the peacebuilding process. “Many women in Muslim majority countries such as Egypt, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kenya, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq, among others, are taking up proactive roles in response to conflicts and working toward establishing just and peaceful societies,” she writes. Other contributors offer case studies that document specific examples of the role of women
“ Women are often defined by their ‘victim’ status in conflict situations. When we focus too much on those categorizations, we lose sight of women as active agents who create new narratives for peace in their everyday lives.” in peacebuilding. Arzoo Osanloo’s chapter highlights women’s peace initiatives in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Elora Haim Chowdhury’s chapter examines women’s organizing in Bangladesh. The book also includes a public conversation between two Muslim women peacemakers, Daisy Khan, a social activist, and Cemalnur Sargut, a Sufi sheikha. “This is a remarkable collection,” writes Omid Safi, Director of Islamic Studies at Duke University. “The editors deserve praise for bringing together a divergent set of perspectives that trace the way in which Muslim women on a global level are working to bring about peace not
as a distant goal but as an everyday path here and now.” The first section of the book looks at basic assumptions people have about Islam and women. It underscores how important it is to move beyond associating men with violence and women with peace, because peacebuilding is everyone’s business. The chapters in the second section explore women’s activism in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sudan, and how they are reshaping and creating new social institutions to assert their rights and claims to peace and justice. Contributors to the third section focus on the Islamic frameworks Muslim women use as guidance for developing moral communities in their everyday lives. From using Islamic texts that counter conservative interpretations to applying Islamic concepts of forgiveness, Muslim women are creating peaceful transformations. The final section shows how women draw from local Muslim concepts and terminology to develop various ethics of peace. While social institutions and traditions are sometimes sources of oppression, they are also sites of liberation where women negotiate their place in society. The book grew out of an international conference on “Women, Islam, and Peace” that Saikia organized in 2010, during her first year at ASU. Since then, Saikia has gone on to lead the development of a robust array of programs, including an annual peace studies film festival, the creation of new courses, and a variety of lectures, seminars and conferences.
“ The essays in this book show the diversity of roles Muslim women play in contemporary Muslim societies, and also how their religion shapes how they become agents of peace.”
Story by Matt Correa and Emily Fritcke
People’s Peace: A Multidisciplinary Conference Exploring Peace Through Culture, Agency and Lived Experience
What values of peace exist and how are they transmitted within and across cultures? How do these values function in communities? What threatens their functioning and how do they operate during critical times of violence? Is there a difference between the lived peace of people and managed peace of external systems? If peace is a way of being that is potentially alive in all cultures, then why is peace aspired to as a future ideal rather than a present reality? What lessons can we learn by studying the dynamics of peace across cultures? With support from the Hardt-Nikachos Endowment in Peace Studies, the Center brought together leading scholars for focused attention on the practical values, lived experiences and on-the-ground cultures of peace. Since the conference, these scholars are continuing to work together to produce work that will deepen understanding about people’s peace as a creative resource for peacebuilding today.
“ We have defiantly resisted the idea that violence can dominate our lives, and reduce us into a sense that we do not have any hopes. Rather, we are continuing this inquiry that there is something substantial, and something important, to discuss about peace.” Yasmin Saikia
“ If peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but rooted in ideas, feelings, emotions, and experiences that have a certain kind of independent substance, then it becomes extremely important to explicitly look at peace as its own reality..” Linell Cady
“ The task at hand is actively to imagine and cultivate militant pacifists. Militant pacifists are not passive. They are decidedly active, defiant, assertive. They interrupt. They object. They dismantle the apparatus of power.” Hamid Dabashi
“ Spiritual peace has to be in balance...it starts with balance within oneself.” Donald Fixico
“ We are faced with a growing realization that freedom of religion and toleration may not be a conquest that has been won once and for all, and that both of these concepts still remain in question.” Stuart Schwartz
“ We have many examples of non-violent resistance all over the world. We can truly say that this has become a force more powerful, one in which people have begun to recognize that we can achieve justice without the use of violence.” David Cortright
“ We need to think about the world historical context...about colonialism, imperialism, and the ways that those processes affected the conflicts that we’re trying to address. Peacebuilding can’t start in a local space without global and historic context.” Jackie Smith
“ Forgiveness serves as a key element in the exploration of how to pursue reconciliation and peace, both on a group and an interpersonal level.” Joel Gereboff
“ It’s not just that scripture is sacred. It also has to be pragmatic. It has to be a rational instrument for peacebuilding.” Bruce Lawrence
“ You’ve got to be culturally literate to know how to use cooperative conflict resolution.” Susan Thistlethwaite
“ Understanding the background, understanding the history of conflict is absolutely crucial for understanding what we could possibly do in the domain of peacebuilding.” Leslie Dwyer
“ Despite inevitable setbacks, the ideal of peace can still transform the reality of conflict.” Lisa Sowle Cahill
“ While often we think about celebrating diversity and acceptance within the United States and other parts of the world...it comes with a price of understanding what citizenship is within the modern state and how it is hierarchically ordered. It’s not about egalitarianism, but ultimately about those who get to define what the nation is, and those who are accepted within it.” Chad Haines
“ In order to think about peace processes, peace building in Israel and Palestine, you have to think about how Judaism, Jewish tradition, and Jewish resources can be employed in this process. They don’t necessarily need to translate to hegemonic practices.” Atalia Omer
“ ‘The Long Arc of Justice’ evokes the daunting persistence with which the struggle for peace must be waged. This story is, by no means, one that is over...it’s a reminder that a people’s peace is less a destination and more a process always in the making.” Amanda Izzo 19
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 2014-15 academic year. Lifetime Friends Ann Hardt Stan and Tochia Levine Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Richard and Elaine Morrison Doug and Becky Pruitt John Roberts John Whiteman Platinum (up to $25,000) Bijan and Fariba Ansari Thomas and Deborah Davidson Perry and Margaret Gooch Jerry Hirsch Tom and Ruth Ann Hornaday Gold (up to $2,500) Anonymous Penny Davis John and Judith Ellerman Kevin and Yolanda McAuliffe Maroon (up to $1,000) Susan and Bill Ahearn Linda Brock and Jeffrey Heimer Linell Cady David and Joan Lincoln Donald and Irene Lubin Dick and Dinky Snell Thomas and Vicky Taradash Carole Weiss Silver (up to $250) Anonymous (3) LoAnn & Edwin Bell Peter Buseck Vicki and Howard Cabot Jane Canby Ed Chulew Charles Coronella Matt Correa Nancy Dallett Robert & Denise DiCenso Robert and Rosemarie Fitzsimmons Carolyn Forbes Mike Franklin
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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 Conflict Arizona State University PO Box 870802 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.
Gifts made in honor of Neal Lester Ann Hardt Gifts made in memory of Inez Casiano
Center Alum Returns from Service in Peace Corps
Alli Coritz ‘12, an alumni of the Center’s Undergraduate Research Fellows Program and a former intern at the Center, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, Africa for the past two years. On her return, she sat down with another Fellows alum, Richard Ricketts, to discuss her experience and what she learned from the community she became a part of during her time of service.
“This is me with one of my main families in the village who so kindly adopted me into their lives.” Alli Coritz
How did you get involved with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict? I had a friend who was a research fellow at the Center his sophomore year. My work centered on conflict, human rights issues, and development. I saw the Center’s fellows program, and its certificate in religion and conflict, and it looked like a perfect way to tie my lines of study together. So I applied for the program in my junior year and became a fellow myself. 22
When did you decide to join the Peace Corps and where were you appointed? The question of what to do after graduating is a concern on the minds of many students. For me, the Peace Corps was always the end goal of my university education. I had wanted to join since I was in middle school. I was willing to go anywhere, and with my French-language background I was placed in Toucountouna, Benin for a 26 month term. I taught sixth and seventh grade, three classes each year, with about 60 to 70 students per class. They were mixed level classes, ages ranged from 11 to 17. At the school I also worked with local language teachers to help them develop their English skills. For many of them I provided practice with a native English speaker that they had not had in some time, if ever. Additionally, I was one of about 12 volunteers who was able to form a health group in the community I was working in. We worked with students to learn about health issues such as malaria, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, and XPI, and communicate information back in local languages to women, children, and men. What was your experience like being the “other”? There were certain expectations of me that went along with my skin. For example, I should have a certain amount of money. But I think the most interesting assumptions were in relation to my gender. People would automatically think that because I was of a certain age and unmarried, I must be searching for a husband. I remember distinctly one such situation with a group of women where one of them stated, “Oh, we’ll find you a husband.” I was in a relationship at the time, and so I told her I already had a husband. Her response was, “Oh, you don’t like blacks.” I made a joke of it, saying, “Even in America a woman can’t have two husbands.” They loved it, because it revealed a societal truth which we shared. In Benin a man can have more than one wife, but women cannot have more than one husband. Examples like this elucidate the multiple identities we each inhabit and how, while at times they can separate us, they provide a space where we can come to connect in ways that are unexpected.
If there is one thing you learned that you found most impactful to your life, what would that be? I thought a lot about privilege, especially in light of the Ebola situation. The disease did not hit Benin in the way other West African countries were affected. But Peace Corps volunteers in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea were evacuated because of Ebola. They got to leave, and this broke their hearts from what I have read of their blogs. And it breaks my heart, because it calls to attention just how lucky we are. While our friends and families that we have made in these countries do not get any special treatment, I have a government who will pull me out, who will say, “you do not get to be exposed to this,” as people I care about and love are left behind. I am fortunate and privileged in my skin color. I am privileged in my education. I am privileged in where I was born. If there is one thing you learned that you found most impactful to your academic thought, what would that be? One of the biggest questions I wrestled with as an undergraduate at ASU was the tension between universalism and relativism, especially in relation to the ephemeral idea of “culture.” My time in Peace Corps called greater attention to, and questioned, the relativistic and laissez–faire attitude toward this idea that I had developed as a student. I re-read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe during my time in Peace Corps. In the book there is a part where he talks about a Nigerian idea that you cannot feed a child eggs, because they will become a thief. I found this was also the case in Benin. When I heard this, I was like, “Oh, that’s crazy.” But the strange thing is during my time there, it did not sound as crazy. It sounded normalized. It sounded internalized even. But I still know, with my Western education, eggs are a great source of protein and your children are protein deficient. You should feed them eggs. They are cheap. So there is a tension between a cultural belief that seems harmless, but one that effectively eliminates one of the best sources of cheap protein in the area. At what point is this no longer a harmless cultural idea but one that should
addressed, and if so, by whom? There is this divide between what might seem like innocent innocuous cultural ideas and practices that you might be able to write off in a classroom and one’s experience in person. When you see the effects on children who are not getting enough protein, then you start to wonder, “How much of a relativist am I?” Is there a story you could share as to how this tension played out during your time there? There is this belief that if there is a ceremony, any ceremony, it will not rain on that day. One day I was painting a mural for the kids at the school and I looked up and saw that storm clouds were building up. I started worrying…“Will the paint dry in time? Is it going to run? Will the mural be ruined?” And then I thought to myself, relieved, “Oh, no. There is a ceremony today. It is not going to rain!” and continued painting. A few moments later I stopped painting, and standing there with my eyes wide, thought, “Oh, I just thought that. And that was a completely normal thought.” Would you recommend the Peace Corps? If at any age you are contemplating going into Peace Corps, I say go for it. I had families who truly adopted me, who let me awkwardly sit in with them as I learned their culture. Who let me observe them and who dealt with my weird quirks when I did not understand exactly how I was supposed to behave. I had people who loved me, tolerated me, accepted me, and who I miss totally. That’s not something I would exchange for any other experience in the world. Oftentimes people are concerned about the two-year time commitment. Wherever you are, those two years are still going to happen. My experience would have been completely different had I dropped in for only a few months. There are some things you can critique, some things you might change, but I would wholeheartedly recommend the program to anyone. Interview by Richard Ricketts Alli Coritz is now a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Southern California
“ The question of what to do after graduating is a concern on the minds of many students. For me, the Peace Corps was always the end goal of my university education.”
Undergraduate Fellows Program Shapes Career Choices
Erik Lundin describes himself as a “non-traditional student.” The 29-year-old religious studies senior practiced screenwriting and songwriting in Los Angeles for several years before returning to ASU with a clearer vision of his academic goals.
undin describes his path to the Center’s undergraduate fellows program as a “fortunate coincidence.” He learned of the program at a lecture by scholar Stephen Prothero that was sponsored by the Center, and entered the fellows program with no idea of what would come next. However, Lundin said the experience further clarified his research interests and strengthened his applications to graduate school. “Actually, it affected [me] quite a bit,” Lundin said. “What participating in the fellows program did for me is direct my focus.” For the research component of the program, Lundin worked under Jason Bruner, assistant professor of religious studies, on the project “Museum and Memorial.” The collaborative, interdisciplinary project explores points of comparison between different genocides. The project uses research and open-source survivor testimonies, and engages the public—especially high school students and teachers—with museum exhibitions, symposiums, and digital learning tools.
Kohinoor Gill, Abbey Pellino, Shelby Stringer, and Eric Lundin attend a meeting of the Center’s undergraduate research fellows program.
Bruner said that Lundin made himself valuable to the project immediately, helping to develop the project’s website and create a database of oral and written testimonies from genocide survivors around the world. “Erik was involved in the very groundwork of this project,” according to Bruner. Research and Opportunities Bruner was excited to have Lundin, who had already excelled in two of his undergraduate courses, join the project. “I knew Erik well,” said Bruner. “He’s a topnotch student.” Lundin’s success as an undergraduate fellow led Bruner to invite him to stay on the project for the spring 2015 semester. Bruner said this gave Lundin valuable insight into how academic research is conducted, and how to do collaborative research at the university level. “I mean, he was able to see the skeleton of it, what it takes to maintain a collaborative project,” Bruner said. “We rarely actually train students to
Learning Through Discussion do this, even though most academics have to do it, in one form or another.” The Center’s fellows program also includes a That the fellows program brings together weekly seminar in which undergraduates from people with different academic backgrounds and a wide range of majors meet with faculty and levels of expertise is a vital addition to humanities guest speakers to discuss readings on religion and research, Bruner added. conflict. The Center’s director Linell Cady guided “It got me to think about my work in a way the fellows’ discussion each week. that I hadn’t before, and that was in the context “The undergraduate fellows of developing a ‘humanities program ... was a happy surprise laboratory,’ where you’re and a major privilege for me,” “ That the fellowship encouraging people, or trying Lundin said. “The best part brings together people to give them the tools, to help of it, in a lot of ways, was just with different academic you solve a common problem,” being able to meet every week Bruner said. with a group of people who backgrounds and levels Lundin said the fellows were really invested in these of expertise is a vital program helped him develop contemporary issues of religion addition to humanities the research skills that he and violence.” believes will be necessary to Lundin and the other fellows research.” succeed as a graduate student in met with leading scholars the coming year. brought to campus by the Center, including “Intellectually, there’s a ton of stuff that I Dennis Dalton and Andrew Bacevich. learned from this project,” Lundin said. “But “I am grateful to our Friends of the Center for having to coordinate with people, and bounce making this kind of program possible,” Cady said. ideas off [them], and work through these projects “There is something very special that happens on a cooperative basis, is really important on a when you bring together such a talented and practical level.” passionate group of students who come from many different fields of study and backgrounds to talk about these issues.” Lundin said the fellows program has been instrumental to his academic goals by leading him into a long-term research assistantship, focusing his interest in religious studies, and developing valuable academic connections as he applied to graduate school. “As I was putting together my graduate applications, I had to write these statements of purpose,” Lundin said. “And the things I had learned in the fellows program, the thoughts that had kind of been focused for me, working with these other students, really played a big part into what my purpose really developed into, as far as future study and research. It was really great for directing my focus.” Lundin’s work really paid off. Right before the end of the year, he found out that he had been accepted as a graduate student at the Yale Divinity School. Story by Tye Rabens To learn more about the Memorial and Museum project, see http://asucomparativegenocide.com/
Undergraduate Research Fellows, 2014–15
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: English & Philosophy Faculty Mentor: Abdullahi Gallab, associate professor of African and African American Studies, School of Social Transformation; and associate professor of Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies Project: “Religion and the Split of Sudan into Two Countries”
Major: Global Studies Faculty Mentor: Yasmin Saikia, HardtNickachos Chair in Peace Studies and professor of history, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Project: “Introduction to Peace Studies”
Major: Global Studies Faculty Mentor: Miki Kittilson, associate professor of Political Science, School of Politics and Global Studies Project: “Policy Diffusion: International Influences on Appointments to High Courts”
Major: Religious Studies Faculty Mentor: Jason Bruner, assistant professor of religious studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Project: “Museum and Memorial: Representation of Comparative Genocide and Negotiation of Different Memory Culture in the Holocaust and Tolerance Museum”
Major: Architecture Faculty Mentor: Angelita Reyes, professor of African and African American Studies, School of Social Transformation Project: “Religion and Conflict: From Human Funerary Practices to the Global Implications of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17”
Major: Global Studies & Sustainability Faculty Mentor: Souad Ali, associate professor of Arabic literature and Middle East/Islamic studies, School of International Letters and Cultures Project: “Kuwaiti Women in Leadership Positions”
Major: Religious Studies Faculty Mentor: Chad Haines, assistant 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”
Major: Global Studies Faculty Mentor: Cecilia Menjivar, professor of sociology, School of Social and Family Dynamics Project: “Media Depictions of Immigrants and Immigration”
Major: English Faculty Mentor: Victor Peskin, associate professor of Political Science, School of Politics and Global Studies Project: “In the Shadow of the International Criminal Court: The Gaza Wars, the Israeli Settlement Movement, Palestinian Statehood, and Trials of Jurisdiction”
Major: Justice Studies Faculty Mentor: Lenka Bustikova, assistant professor of Political Science, School of Politics and Global Studies Project: “Political Extremism in Ukraine”
Major: Biological Science Faculty Mentor: Michael Hechter, Foundation Professor of Global Studies, and David Siroky, assistant professor of Political Science, School of Politics and Global Studies Project: “Religious Legacies, Alien Rule and Intergroup Bargaining over Separatism”
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 2015.
Doctoral Student in History
Doctoral Student in Religious Studies
Dissertation Advisor: Donald Fixico, Distinguished Foundation Professor of History, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Dissertation Advisor: Juliane Schober, Director of the Center for Asian Research and professor of Religious Studies, School of Politics and Global Studies
Psychology and Barrett, the Honors College
Global Studies, Anthropology and Barrett, the Honors College
Project Advisor: Daniel Schugurensky, professor of Justice and Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation, and professor in the School of Public Affairs
Project Advisor: Abdullahi Gallab, associate professor of African and African American Studies, School of Social Transformation; and associate professor of Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
“The Journey of Diné Students in the Four Directions: Navajo Educational Experiences inthe 20th Century” Farina King is working on a project that offers an analysis of religious and cultural dynamics in the schooling experiences of Navajos. She will be using this award to complete research and interviews with former Navajo students in the Monument Valley region concerning their experiences traveling far for their education and participating in the community effort to build local schools. This research will contribute to her doctoral dissertation, which she plans to complete by spring 2016 along with a book-length manuscript for publication with an academic press.
“Deepening Democracy, Cultivating Community, and Building Peace: Youth Participatory Budgeting in Romania”
“Constructions of Identity and Conflict among Hindu Minorities in Muslim Java, Indonesia” Justin Nadir will conduct doctoral research in Central Java, Indonesia during the summer of 2015. His project explores how Hindu identities are formed and articulated in relationship to a modernizing and orthodox Islamic turn in Indonesian politics. The field research he plans to conduct will encompass formal religious education as well as the participation of Hindu communities in inter-religious dialogue that is currently fostered in Java. Most research about religion in Java primarily focuses on Islam and the ongoing process of Islamization throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Nadir’s research will focus on the largely ignored Hindu religious minority and will assess solutions to religious conflict.
Ashely Brennan, a 2015 Undergraduate Research Fellow, is using her award to spend four weeks in Romania to conduct research for her undergraduate honors thesis for Barrett, the Honors College. She will evaluate the impact of Youth Participatory Budgeting (YPB) on individual and community development in Cluj-Napoca, the 2015 European Youth Capital. During her time in Romania Brennan will observe European Youth Capital programs and will conduct interviews with YPB participants, volunteers, and leadership including the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. YPB offers a unique platform to increase youth engagement and participatory democracy. In studying YPB in Cluj-Napoca, Ashley plans to examine its effects on peacebuilding, its contribution to creating stronger, healthier communities, and its impact on resolving conflict between groups.
“American Perceptions of the Muslim World: Seeking Grassroots Solutions” Brieanna Griffin, an honors student double majoring in Global Studies and Anthropology, will be one of the center’s Undergraduate Research Fellows during the 2015-16 academic year. She will spend part of her summer in Zanzibar, Tanzania as an intern with America’s Unofficial Ambassadors and begin research for her undergraduate honors thesis for Barrett, the Honors College. In addition to volunteering as an English teacher at a local school, Griffin will conduct interviews with former and current volunteers within her program in order to gauge how their experiences in Zanzibar shaped their perspective of the region, religion, and culture of the Muslim world. She hopes the insight that she will gain from these interactions will help inform her understanding of how relations between the Muslim and non-Muslim world can be strengthened through grass-roots initiatives.
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 “Communication, Conflict, and Peace Building,” “Total War and the Crisis of Modernity,” “National Security and International Terrorism,” “Religion, War, and Peace,” and “Introduction to Peace Studies.” The program has graduated 91 students since its launch in 2009, including 16 students who earned certificates in 2014-15: Gabriel Ato (Religious Studies)
Levi Hagedorn (Political Science)
Brian Pavey (Philosophy and Religious Studies)
Weston Aviles (Criminal Justice and Criminology and Political Science)
Mary Hake (Political Science)
Abbey Pellino (Global Studies)
Stephen Biles (History)
Christina Hull (Anthropology and Religious Studies)
Sara DeCristoforo (Liberal Studies)
Kaitlin Ibarra (Political Science)
Jonathan Ross (Political Science)
Emily Fritcke (English Literature and History)
Jennifer Lloyd (Political Science and Global Studies)
Alyssa Sims (Business)
Mariam Polo-Petros (Global Studies)
Jamie Watters (Religious Studies)
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.
Center for the Sudy of Religion and Conflict
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.
Yasmin Saikia Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies
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.
Staff Linell Cady Director John Carlson Associate Director
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 Tess Doezema Emily Fritcke Crystine Miller Terry Shoemaker
Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict PO Box 870802 | Tempe, AZ 85287-0802 480.965.7187 | 480.965.9611 (fax) email@example.com | csrc.asu.edu