American Lectures in the History of Religions (ALHR):
2010 Annual Meeting in Atlanta: Centennial Scholars Panel
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Bondage and Liberation: Debts to Slavery and Enslavement to Debt
A Centennial Conversation with Gregory Schopen, Opal Moore, Lou Ruprecht, and Ebrahim Moosa
Few ideas carry greater resonance in a variety of religious traditions, literatures and practices than the twinned conceptions of bondage and liberation. And few patterns bear greater poignancy in this post-colonial moment than the seemingly endless cycle of bondage, liberation, and renewed forms of oppression. This is the disturbing anti-progressive undertone of the Modern that came into singular focus during the French Revolution and its aftermath: today’s liberators become the oppressors of tomorrow; the guillotine is placed in the service of human rights; the world Camus imagined, one with “neither victims nor executioners,” fails to materialize. Building on the 2009 AAR/ALHR panel’s interest in “the nexus of religion and colonialism,” this panel explores the themes of bondage and liberation with a particular focus on the connections among religions and economies. The panel will point to new theoretical possibilities opened by renewed attention to economic and class concerns in the study of history of religions in our "new" age of globalization.
Gregory Schopen is a Professor in the Center for Buddhist Studies at UCLA, and the author of Buddhist Monks and Business Matters, among many other publications. A copy of Professor Schopen's presentation to the panel may be found here (requires PDF).
Opal Moore is a poet and short story writer, as well as a professor in the English Department at Spelman College. Among her publications is a book of poetry entitled Lot's Daughters.
Lou Ruprecht is William M. Suttles Chair of Religious Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. The author of six books, his two most recent are: God Gardened East: A Gardener’s Meditation on the Dynamics of Genesis and This Tragic Gospel: How John Corrupted the Heart of Christianity. A copy of Professor Ruprecht's presentation to the panel may be found here (requires PDF).
Ebrahim Moosa is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, where he specializes in classical and modern Islamic thought with a focus on Islamic law, history, ethics and theology. He is the author of Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination and was named Carnegie Scholar in 2005