Atalia Omer, professor of religion, conflict and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, will deliver the 2023 Wold Lecture on Religion and Conflict.
Her talk, “Religion and the Harmony Business: After 9/11, More is Less,” is Monday, May 15, at 5 p.m. in the Nott Memorial. It is free and open to the public.
Omer focuses her research on religion, violence, peacebuilding, conflict transformation and justice.
She sees the violence of 9/11 and its aftermath as not a function of religious illiteracy or intolerance, but as colonial, orientalist, neocolonial and opportunistic geopolitics.
Her talk will trace why, under the guise of more religion, the mechanisms of the global engagement with religion actually contribute to less religious literacy, to uncritical accounts of religiosity and to the propping up of generic (and unelected) religious authorities, including technocrats who specialize in “religious engagement.”
What Omer calls the “harmony business” (or the business of engaging with “good” religion) focuses more on doing religion/being religious as a matter of communal boundaries rather than on knowing religious traditions as living and contested sites of interpretation and reimagining
“We are delighted to welcome Atalia to Union,” said Peter Bedford, the John and Jane Wold Professor of Religious Studies. “Guests will find her talk informative, engaging and compelling.”