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November 14, 2016. Cosponsored with the Department of Theology and the Berkley Center. The position of Jesus in the Qur’an is among the most contentious areas in Muslim-Christian dialogue. Many Christian scholars think that the verses on Jesus in the Qur'an are not acceptable and show that the Qur'an cannot be the word of God. Many Muslim scholars think that Christian adoration of Jesus is idolatrous. Khorchide and von Stosch, part of a research project on the subject sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association), argue that a close reading of the verses of the Qur'an in their historical setting can help Christians and Muslims appreciate each others’ positions. 

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November 14, 2016. Cosponsored with the Department of Theology and the Berkley Center. The position of Jesus in the Qur’an is among the most contentious areas in Muslim-Christian dialogue. Many Christian scholars think that the verses on Jesus in the Qur'an are not acceptable and show that the Qur'an cannot be the word of God. Many Muslim scholars think that Christian adoration of Jesus is idolatrous. Khorchide and von Stosch, part of a research project on the subject sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association), argue that a close reading of the verses of the Qur'an in their historical setting can help Christians and Muslims appreciate each others’ positions. 

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October 19, 2016—briefing: “Islamophobia as Ideology of Empire” with Arun Kundnani. Cosponsored with The Bridge Initiative and the Berkley Center. Is Islamophobia a form of racism? If so, how does it relate to the broader history of racisms? Drawing on the work of Frantz Fanon and Stuart Hall, Islamophobia is here analyzed as a lay ideology that offers an everyday “common sense” explanatory framework for making sense of mediated crisis events (such as terrorist attacks) in ways that disavow those events’ political meanings (rooted in empire, racism, and resistance) and instead explain them as products of a reified “Muslimness.” Thus Islamophobia involves an ideological displacement of political antagonisms onto the plane of culture, where they can be explained in terms of the fixed nature of the “Other.” This maneuver is also an act of projection in the psychoanalytic sense: the violence upon which US-led capitalism depends cannot be acknowledged in a nominally liberal society so it is transferred onto the personality of the Muslim and seen as emanating from “outside” the social order.

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October 12, 2016—briefing: “Only Women Understand Women!” – Muslim Female Preachers Claiming Religious Authority in Contemporary Malaysia" with Norbani Ismail. During the past two decades, Malaysian Muslim female preachers have gained access to opportunity and spaces in preaching Islam to the public. Their preaching activism, both through the mass media and the public podiums, is seemingly an indication of a shift in knowledge construction and diffusion, and the meaning of religious authority in contemporary Islamic discourse in Malaysia. They have gained trust from the public and become authoritative voice of Islam through acquired knowledge in fundamental texts of Islam. To claim the spaces in preaching, the female preachers have mastered the skills such as Arabic language, memorization of religious texts and public speaking. Just like the men preachers, they have dedicated their works towards creating a sound moral and ethical society based on Islamic framework. They preach to the public on various issues: moral-spiritual endeavors, socio-religious advices and practices, marital and family relations, and on events based on Islamic calendar. Nevertheless, the female preachers have to navigate their activism within the confines of expected social norms and of the highly-bureaucratized religious authority and administration. By adhering to social expectations and religious orthodoxy, the female preachers are able to continue preaching to the public, as well as to build the trust with both the established religious authority and the public.

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September 21, 2016—briefing: "Al-Shabab’s Media: The Evolution and Strategic Role of Al-Shabab's Narrative Production and Insurgent Media Operations, 2007-2016" with Chris Anzalone.  Since it emerged fully independent from the ashes of the Islamic Courts Union coalition in 2007, Al-Shabab's leadership has been busy establishing a bureaucracy of power designed to exercise regional and local nodes of governing authority and control.  As part of its broader strategy, Al-Shabab recognized the need for a sophisticated, multi-directional media operations apparatus capable of reaching multiple target audiences at the domestic, regional, and international/global levels. These media continue to form an integral part of Al-Shabab's overall strategy of governance, survival, and expansion as an ideologically-driven insurgent organization, despite mounting battlefield, territorial, and personnel losses.  Al-Shabab has also utilized its media machine in tandem with its formidable internal security apparatus to crack down on internal dissent including, thus far successfully, on attempts by Islamic State to establish and expand a strong foothold in Somalia and East Africa.  This talk discussed the history and evolution of Al-Shabab's media operations and narrative production capabilities and their integral role in the insurgents' broader strategy of territorial control and rule. 

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September 14, 2016. Co-Sponsored with the Bridge Initiative. Zarqa Nawaz, the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, talked about her journey as an artist of Muslim faith, from short films to documentary to television show to memoir.

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September 9, 2016—briefing:  "Conceptual Fault Lines in Contemporary Liberalism" with Andrew March. 
Liberalism” is often taken by both its proponents and its enemies to encode a single set of commitments: perhaps to individual rights and freedoms, limited government, a mixed economy and secularism. In contentious public debates over policy issues, “liberalism” is often seen by its adherents as calling for a single right answer and by its opponents as the primary cause of enduring social and cultural conflicts. And, yet, with some exceptions, almost all of our present legal and political conflicts in Western countries take place under the broad canopy of what can be called “liberalism.” How can this be true, and if it is, does liberalism lack a coherent conceptual core? Is it an essentially contented concept? Or is it a field of argumentation over the proper weight that should be given to a wide, but finite, number of common values and commitments? This talk addressed these questions as they are illuminated in a few important contemporary public policy disputes.
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On April 17, 2016, the Global Mental Health: Transdisciplinary Perspectives symposium brought together leading scholars from psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, medicine, and public health to discuss and debate intersections of culture, politics, and mental illness around the world.  Through a provocative keynote address by Vikram Patel and four engaging panels, the symposium posed pressing questions at the intersection of culture and mental health to the forefront. 

Closing Remarks by Dr. Arthur Kleinman

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On April 17, 2016, the Global Mental Health: Transdisciplinary Perspectives symposium brought together leading scholars from psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, medicine, and public health to discuss and debate intersections of culture, politics, and mental illness around the world.  Through a provocative keynote address by Vikram Patel and four engaging panels, the symposium posed pressing questions at the intersection of culture and mental health to the forefront. 

Panel Chair: Dr. Pamela Collins

Panelists: Dr. Keshav Desiraju, Dr. Shenkhar Saxena, Dr. Mark Jordans, and Dr. Florence Baingana

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On April 17, 2016, the Global Mental Health: Transdisciplinary Perspectives symposium brought together leading scholars from psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, medicine, and public health to discuss and debate intersections of culture, politics, and mental illness around the world.  Through a provocative keynote address by Vikram Patel and four engaging panels, the symposium posed pressing questions at the intersection of culture and mental health to the forefront. 

Panel Chair: Dr. Vikram Patel

Panelists: Chris Underhill, Dr. Yueqin Huang, Dr. Junko Tanaka-Matsumi, and Dr. Maria Elena Medina-Mora

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