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Religion & Cultural Activism: Disrupting Peace and Pursuing Justice in Palestine/ Israel

December 3, 2020

Religion & Cultural Activism: Disrupting Peace and Pursuing Justice in Palestine/ Israel
Thursday, December 10, 2020 11:00 AM–1:00 PM EST

Presiding: Santiago H. Slabodsky, Florence and Robert Kaufman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Hofstra University

Responding: Atalia Omer, Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies, The University of Notre Dame and Senior Fellow in Conflict and Peace at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life.

Join Diane L. Moore, the founding...

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Cover of Rashid Khalidi's The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

RCPI Event Video: Book Talk: "The Hundred Years' War on Palestine" by Rashid Khalidi

October 30, 2020

The latest book by Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017, is a departure from his previous work as a historian. Writing for a public rather than scholarly audience, he draws on personal and familial experiences from across generations to argue that ongoing settler colonial violence is supplanting Palestinians and erasing their historical belonging to their land.

Khalidi discusses his book with Rosie Bsheer, Assistant Professor...

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A view of Harvard Divinity School campus in the fall

A ‘Public Enlightenment’: Harvard Divinity School Begins New Program in Religion and Public Life

October 26, 2020

The Harvard Divinity School launched a new program in Religion and Public Life this month, its first new degree program in 50 years.

The program is aimed at studying the ways religion and civic life interact, said Jacob K. Olupona, a professor of African Religions jointly appointed at the Divinity School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who will teach courses as part of the RPL program. It includes both degree-granting and certificate-granting components, as well as a series of public speaker events, panels, and webinars.

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett and her family, in the Oval Office of the White House.

Ed Blog: Amy Coney Barrett and the Internal Diversity of American Catholic Women

October 23, 2020

When Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court, her religious identity as a conservative, charismatic Catholic immediately became a subject of intense scrutiny. On one level, the American public and their representatives in Congress were interested in how Barrett’s religious commitments might influence her judicial work. But on another level, the public conversation about Barrett’s identity reveals the internal diversity of how American Catholics think about what it means to be a Catholic woman, mother, and even feminist.

Buddhism mediation space with a statue and two candles

Education Blog: Buddhism(s), Meditation(s), and Colonialism in Burma

October 9, 2020

This lesson illustrates the key principles of internal diversity, historical change, and cultural embeddedness using Erik Braun’s article about Burmese meditation vis-à-vis British colonialism. The story of how British colonialism in Burma shaped the way meditation was taught and practiced in Burma, as well as its subsequent export to the United States, is a clear object-lesson in the tenets of religious literacy.

Artist rendering of U.S. flag

Video: The Campaign for (White) Christian America: Lauren R. Kerby in Conversation with Jeff Sharlet

October 9, 2020

As the 2020 presidential election nears, Lauren R. Kerby and Jeff Sharlet discussed the politics of white evangelicals in the U.S. today. Kerby's book, Saving History: How White Evangelicals Tour the Nation's Capital and Redeem a Christian America, offers a starting point for this important conversation about how race, nationalism, and Christianity become entangled for many white evangelicals through what they learn from their leaders about American history.

Their political commitments are baffling to many observers, but this conversation will explore how white...

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Melissa Wood Bartholomew, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Instructor in Ministry, Harvard Divinity School

Nothing Can Separate Us

October 2, 2020
"In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—and the racism pandemic we have been fighting since my ancestors arrived from the West Coast of Africa, I am reminded that there is so much that we don’t know," says Melissa Wood Bartholomew, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at HDS.
The Book of Disappearance by Ibtisam Azem

RCPI Event Video: Literatures of Annihilation, Exile, & Resistance - Book Talk: "The Book of Disappearance" by Ibtisam Azem

October 2, 2020

Sharing excerpts from her novel The Book of Disappearance, Palestinian author and journalist Ibtisam Azam gives insight into the experiences of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the changing generational connections to the land. Through stories of Jaffa past and present, Azam’s work demonstrates the role storytelling plays in the transmission of identity and culture.

As discussant and RCPI Associate Director and Senior Fellow Hilary Rantisi describes, Azam taps into the engraved memory that is a critical part of how Palestinians’ experiences and identity are passed...

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Days of Awe by Atalia Omer

RCPI Event Video: Book Talk: "Days of Awe" by Atalia Omer

September 17, 2020

How can narratives serve as sites for critical justice work and peacebuilding? What can Jewish tradition offer anti-occupation social justice movements? These are some of the many pertinent questions explored by Atalia Omer in her latest book, “Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity with Palestinians.” In this webinar, Omer discusses the aim of the book in which she traces the diverse social movements which have shaped the development of American Jewish solidarity with Palestinians, in conversation with Rabbi Brant Rosen and Dr. Sara Roy.

At the heart of Omer’s work...

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James Baldwin speaking at a podium

Education Blog: #ScholarStrike: James Baldwin and Educating Against Society

September 14, 2020

On September 8-9, 2020, academics across the country, including faculty and staff at the Religious Literacy Project, are participating in teach-ins for racial justice known as the #ScholarStrike. I assigned these readings from James Baldwin, Patricia Hill Collins, and Tressie McMillan Cottom to my students at Harvard Divinity School to start our semester studying the history of education and religion in the U.S. For others interested in these questions, I offer them as resources for thinking about how critical pedagogy can serve the goals of racial justice. 

A George Floyd prostest in Denver

Education Blog: #ScholarStrike: Anti-Black Racism and Internal Diversity in American Christianity

September 9, 2020

On September 8-9, 2020, academics across the country, including faculty and staff at the Religious Literacy Project, are participating in teach-ins for racial justice known as the #ScholarStrike. As part of our contribution, we offer this lesson plan about American Christians’ responses to Donald Trump and the George Floyd protests as a resource for teachers seeking ways to connect religion and race in their discussions of current events. 

A mural depicting Christopher Columbus' arrival to the United States in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Education Blog: Using Art to Make the Invisible Visible

August 3, 2020
This lesson uses two different images of Christopher Columbus to challenge students to move beyond how they may have been taught to think about violence and peace. It asks them to identify cultural violence and cultural peace in images that may challenge what they think of as violent or peaceful. This lesson presumes students have been introduced to Johan Galtung’s theory of cultural violence and peace.
Noam Shuster upon her release from the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem, where she was quarantined with other recovering COVID-19 patients, April 20, 2020.

Hotel Coronavirus

May 13, 2020

Stand-up comedian, activist, and 2019-20 Visiting Fellow in Conflict and Peace Noam Shouster contracted COVID-19 on her return voyage to Israel. Her recordings and reflections on her experience, in particular in one of Israel's "Coronavirus Hotels" attracted international media attention:... Read more about Hotel Coronavirus

Children holding signs against Islamophobia

How I Overcame Islamophobia

May 4, 2020

It is only by getting to know the “Others” in all their diversity and similarity that you can overcome your prejudices.

Diane L. Moore in her office

RPL Partners with Boston Children's Museum to Explore Religious Literacy

May 1, 2020

Boston Children’s Museum has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to conduct research into religious identity and spirituality in the context of the public experience of the Museum. The grant is funding explorations into ways to improve understanding of religions and foster knowledge and respect for diverse religious beliefs.... Read more about RPL Partners with Boston Children's Museum to Explore Religious Literacy

Stock photo of stedents holding textbooks

Understanding, Not Endorsement

October 29, 2019

American Academy of Religion releases new guidelines on what undergraduates should understand about all religions prior to getting their degrees.

Panel seated at the front of a conference room

The State of Religious Freedom in the U.S.

July 15, 2019

In advance of the U.S. Department of State’s 3-day Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in July 2019, HDS published an interview with Dr. Moore providing context, critique and recommendations for how the US might better serve the fundamental aims of promoting justice and human rights, including rights associated with religious freedom.

Cathedral with teachers sitting in pews listening to a priest explain Catholicism

Religion in School Can Be Complicated. So Teachers Went to Class.

July 5, 2019

“There are rarely opportunities for teachers themselves to be trained in the academic study of religion, to be able to teach those hot-button, volatile issues well,” says RPL director Diane Moore. “The key, and it’s not that profound, is to give teachers … tools to teach religion in a responsible and constitutionally sound way.”... Read more about Religion in School Can Be Complicated. So Teachers Went to Class.

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