2007 Religion & Philosophy Speakers

Catherine Keller
Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University
“The Dare of Democracy: Faith, Fear and Freedom”

Keller teaches in the area of constructive theology at Drew University, The Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion. Her interests move between the theopolitical and the theopoetic, by way of process, ecofeminist and poststructuralist approaches to theology. Her publications include From a Broken Web: Separation, Sexism and Self;
Apocalypse Now & Then: a Feminist Guide to the End of the World; Face of the Deep: a Theology of Becoming, God & Power: Counter apocalyptic Explorations and On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process. She has co-edited numerous anthologies, including Theologies of Eros, and Ecospirit, the first volumes of the Drew Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium and Postcolonial Theologies: Divinity and Empire.

Dr. Keller offered the keynote address at undergraduate conference on The Future of Democracy at Lebanon Valley College. Her talk, on Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m., was titled "The Dare of Democracy: Faith, Fear, and Freedom."

For the full text of Professor Keller’s lecture, click here: www.jcrt.org/archives/08.3/Keller.pdf

A Conversation with Gianni Vattimo on “Nihilism and Democracy”

Gianni Vattimo, one of Europe's most influential philosophers and a framer of the European constitution, visited Lebanon Valley College on Wednesday, April 25, 2007. From his unique perspective as a philosopher and politician, Vattimo engaged in a conversation with Dr. Robert Valgenti of the Religion and Philosophy department on "Democracy and the Future of the European Union" in a free, public conversation. The conversation introduced the audience to some of Vattimo’s most well-known ideas such as that of “weak thought” and “nihilism,” as well as the role of religion in politics, how the media affects truth, and the challenges of globalization.

Vattimo was final speaker in LVC's yearlong colloquium on Democracy and Its Discontents.

From 1999 to 2004, Vattimo served as a deputy in the European Parliament. He has written over 20 books and countless essays. His latest book, to be released this month, titled After the Death of God, was edited by Dr. Jeffrey Robbins, an assistant professor of religion and philosophy and American Studies at LVC. The book, which is co-authored by John Caputo, is being published by Columbia University Press as the first title in its new book series "Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture." It examines the philosophical and cultural significance of the postmodern return of religion.

Vattimo's other recent books, all from Columbia University Press, include: The Future of Religion (2005), Dialogue with Nietzsche(2005), Nihilism and Emancipation (2004), and After Christianity (2002). Vattimo is also a regular contributor to several major Italian newspapers.

Arvind-Pal Mandair
S.C.S.B. Endowed Professor of Sikh Studies, The University of Michigan
“Religion, Secularism, and Democracy in India”

A Sikh Baisakhi celebration at Lebanon Valley College featured a lecture by a renowned Sikh scholar as well as food, music and dance provided fascinating insights into aspects of the Sikh religion as it is lived in the United States. The celebration, which was held on on Wednesday, April 18, 2007, was open to the public.

Sikhs in this country are frequently thought to be Islamic fundamentalists due to their traditional dress, including the turban. To convey a more accurate sense of Sikhs, Dr. Arvind-Pal Mandair of the University of Michigan, a renowned Sikh scholar, was the main speaker. He discussed "Religion, Secularism and Democracy in India."

The celebration also included lively dance performances, a delicious Indian buffet dinner, and a presentation by members of the Blue Mountain Gurdwara in Bethel.

Born in India, Mandair is the author of Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation (Columbia University Press, 2009), and a co-author of several books, including Sikh Religion, Culture and Ethnicity.