The panel, moderated by Professor Pamela Klassen, Department for the Study of Religion, will explore religious freedom in an international context.
Panel respondents include Professor Ruth Marshall, Department for the Study of Religion and Department of Political Science, and Professor Melissa Williams, Department of Political Science.
Refreshments to follow with performance by a quartet from the Ismaili Youth Choir.
Sponsored by the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, the U of T Religion in the Public Sphere Program, the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, and the U of T (University of Toronto) Multi-Faith Centre.
EVENT: Religious Freedom in an International Context: A Panel Discussion with Andrew Bennett, Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom
DATE: Monday, November 3rd, 2014
TIME: 9:00 a.m. EST – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST
VENUE: St. George Campus of U of T, Multi-Faith Centre, First Floor Auditorium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
About Ambassador Andrew Bennett
Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett is a public servant and academic with an extensive educational background in history, political science, and religious studies. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History (1st Class Honours) from Dalhousie University in 1995, a Master of Arts in History from McGill University in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Edinburgh in 2002.
Dr. Bennett has worked for the Privy Council Office, Export Development Canada and Natural Resources Canada in a wide variety of analytical, research and corporate roles. He has also held roles as a Scholar Expert on the Americas Desk with Oxford Analytica and as a Researcher with the University of Edinburgh’s Institute on Governance where he focused on the process of devolution in Scotland.
About Pamela Klassen
I am Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and have been at U of T since 1997. Overall, my research and teaching is in conversation with currents in religious studies, anthropology of religion, critical theories of secularism, postcolonial, feminist and gender theory, and North American religious history.
Another ongoing area of my research involves issues of religion and public life. My co-edited publication, After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement, brings together a range of scholars concerned with how the ideal of “religious pluralism” has shaped the recognition of what counts as religious in scholarly, state, and popular contexts. I direct Religion in the Public Sphere, an interdisciplinary initiative at U of T, and am a strand leader in the Religion and Diversity Project based at the University of Ottawa.
In Fall 2014 I am teaching a new course called “Museums and Material Religion”, in conjunction with my colleague Ajay Rao in Historical Studies at UTM. Several of the class meetings will be held at the Royal Ontario Museum. In the winter term, I am teaching a graduate course entitled “Genealogies of Christianity” which is open to advanced undergraduates with my permission. I will also be team- teaching a full-year interdisciplinary Big Ideas first-year course, “The Internet: Saving Civilization or Trashing the Planet.”
Ruth Marshall received her DPhil in Politics from Oxford University, and joined both the Department for the Study of Religion and Political Science in 2008, after having spent 8 years living and researching in West Africa. She is the author of Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria (U. Chicago Press, 2009) and numerous scholarly articles on the study of the political implications of Pentecostalism and postcolonial politics in West Africa. Her research and teaching are interdisciplinary, drawing on critical theory, political science, political philosophy, study of religion, anthropology, African and postcolonial studies. In 2013-14 she was a Faculty Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute.
I’m currently interested in the contemporary nexus between religion and politics and the challenge of clearing an analytical space in which the political productivity of religious discourse and practice may be recognized and analyzed non-reductively. I have two ongoing empirical research projects, one funded by a grant from the Social Science Research Council (NY, NY) that investigates prayer as a form of political praxis, and one funded by the SSHRC, studying the political implications of the evangelization of Europe and North America by Pentecostals from the Global South. I am working on a new book, Speaking in Tongues: Religion and the Call of the Political, that examines the renewed ethico-political force of religious language in the public sphere, and the political challenge that global revivalism poses to democratic forms of life. Critically reflecting on the problematic treatment of radical religious ‘otherness’ by contemporary political theory, I explore the possibilities and limits of a post-secular politics of translation for articulating a new relationship between the religious and the political.
Melissa S. Williams
Melissa S. Williams is Professor of Political Science and founding Director of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto. She is also Editor of NOMOS, the Yearbook of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. Williams teaches in the history of Western political thought, contemporary democratic theory, feminist theory, American political thought, and ethics in the public sphere.
Williams’s research is predominantly in contemporary democratic theory; it frequently addresses core concepts in political philosophy through the lens of group-structured inequality, social and political marginalization, and cultural and religious diversity. Her first book, Voice, Trust and Memory: Marginalized Groups and the Failings of Liberal Representation (Princeton University Press, 1998), develops a theoretical defense of descriptive representation for historically marginalized groups. It won the Foundations of Political Theory Section’s award for the best first book in political philosophy. More recent work has addressed the relationship between peace and justice in the liberal theory of toleration; conceptions of citizenship in an era of globalization; and justice for indigenous peoples. Williams currently has two book projects under way: Equality, for the Routledge Series on Concepts in Political Philosophy; and Reconstructing Impartiality, which begins from feminist and difference-based critiques of liberal impartiality and seeks to develop an alternative account of “situated” or “contextual” impartiality within law-governed relationships. She has published thirty articles on these and other topics in Political Theory, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, numerous edited volumes, and other international journals.
Williams was Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Professions at Harvard University (1996-97), Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (2000), and Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University (2000-2001). She was recently elected to the Council of the American Political Science Association.
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