Religious Diversity and the Secular University is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project from April 2017 to September 2022.
One of the most pressing contemporary problems not just for the academic community but also – and more disturbingly – for the political order of the world is how to understand and respond to the current toxic combination of religion and politics. It is a fundamental concern on the one hand for the issue of diversity. How should the liberal ideal of a tolerant and mixed society comprehend claims to exclusive and totalizing visions of truth, which set themselves against such liberal ideals? We may recognize that there is now, nationally and globally, a new and complex map, which has more than one monotheism, and polytheism, competing alongside secular standpoints. The challenge, in brief, may be expressed like this: how can we take account of theological difference without going to war for belief? Quite simply, diversity in modern society cannot be adequately broached without an engagement with religion. It is, on the other hand, an equally if differently problematic arena of conflict for universities and other institutions of education. Current attempts at legislation in Britain and elsewhere (e.g. Britain’s 2015 “Prevent” strategy) demonstrate little but bafflement, and consequently a profoundly incoherent response to the vexing issues of how teaching and other university practices should engage with the raft of interests unhelpfully sloganised as fundamentalism. The modern secular university – itself the result of a long and contested development – in part because of its very history, has left religion in a systematically awkward and often vexed space on campus, for all participants: teachers, students, administrators.
This project aims to approach these problems from a new direction and with new methods of engagement. It will place the dialogic dynamics of religious interaction at the heart of a series of interlinked workshops, summer schools and seminars, to explore how the university can explore the issue of religious diversity in the most sophisticated, historically grounded and productive manner.
For further information on the project, please contact the project administrator.
‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University’ is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to support a multi-disciplinary examination of the interplay between religion, secularism, and the role of the university, reference #41600622.
Professor Simon Goldhill
Dr Theodor Dunkelgrün
Senior Research Associate and Academic Co-Ordinator
Dr Sami Everett (left December 2020)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Samantha Peel (left June 2022)
14 Dec 2017 - 15 Dec 2017 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
| Biblical Scholarship and Theology in the Nineteenth Century|
15 Feb 2018 - 16 Feb 2018 All day, Boys Smith Room, St John's College, Cambridge, CB2 1TP
8 Mar 2018 - 9 Mar 2018 All day, Lightfoot Room, Old Divinity School, St John's College, CB2 1TP
| Artistic Representations|
24 May 2018 - 25 May 2018 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
| Religious Diversity and the Secular University: Summer School 2018|
2 Jul 2018 - 13 Jul 2018 All day, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, CB3 9DT
20 Sep 2018 - 21 Sep 2018 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
17 Jan 2019 - 18 Jan 2019 All day, King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST
21 Mar 2019 - 22 Mar 2019 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
| Political Science and Political Thought|
30 May 2019 - 31 May 2019 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
| Religious Diversity and the Secular University Summer School 2019|
1 Jul 2019 - 12 Jul 2019 All day, CRASSH, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
| Literature of Loss|
3 Oct 2019 - 4 Oct 2019 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
| Film screening: Ana Min al Yahud – I’m From The Jews|
3 Oct 2019 4:00pm - 5:30pm, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
| Documentary Filming of Cultural Interaction|
28 Nov 2019 - 29 Nov 2019 All day, Junior Parlour, Trinity College, Cambridge CB2 1TQ
| Film and News Media 1|
6 Feb 2020 - 7 Feb 2020 All day, Old Combination Room, Trinity College | Beves Room, King's College
| Music Instead of Politics: The Remaining Answer to the Current Challenges of Coexistence?|
11 Feb 2020 4:45pm - 6:00pm, Main Lecture Theatre, St John's Divinity School, University of Cambridge, St John's Street, Cambridge, CB2 1TP
| CANCELLED Film and News Media 2|
26 Mar 2020 - 27 Mar 2020 All day, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge CB3 9DT
| Religious Diversity and the Secular University Summer School 2020|
6 Jul 2020 - 17 Jul 2020 All day, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
| Book Launch & Conversation: Jewish-Muslim Interactions|
25 Nov 2020 2:00pm - 3:30pm, Online
| Religious Diversity and the Secular University Summer School 2021|
5 Jul 2021 - 14 Jul 2021 All day, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
Reading Group (2017-2018)
Theodor Dunkelgrün, ‘Introduction to the Special Issue: The Jewish Bookshop of the World: Aspects of Print and Manuscript Culture in Early Modern Europe’ Studia Rosenthaliana 46:1 (2021): pp.7-28.
Theodor Dunkelgrün, ‘Tabernacles of Text: A Brief Visual History of the Hebrew Bible’, in Impagination – Layout and Materiality of Writing and Publication. Interdisciplinary Approaches from East and West, ed. Ku-ming (Kevin) Chang, Anthony Grafton & Glenn W Most (Berlin: DeGruyter, 2021): pp.47-92.
Sami Everett & Rebekah Vince (ed.s), Jewish-Muslim Interactions: Performing Cultures between North Africa and France, (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2020).
Theodor Dunkelgrün & Paweł Maciejko (ed.s), Bastards and Believers: Jewish Converts and Conversion from the Bible to the Present, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).
Sami Everett, ‘Une Ambiance Diaspora: Continuity and Change in Parisian Maghrebi Imaginaries’, Comparative Histories in Society and History, 62, 1 (January 2020): pp.135-155.
Theodor Dunkelgrün, ‘The Philology of Judaism: Zacharias Frankel, the Septuagint, and the Jewish study of Ancient Greek in the 19th century’, in Classical Philology and Theology: Entanglement, Disavowal, and the Godlike Scholar, ed. Catherine Conybeare & Simon Goldhill, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020): pp.63-85.
Theodor Dunkelgrün, ‘The Kennicott Collection’, in Jewish Treasures from Oxford Libraries, ed. Rebecca Abrams & César Merchán-Hamann, (Oxford: The Bodleian Library, 2020): pp.115-157.
Jan-Jonathan Bock, John Fahy & Sami Everett, Emergent Religious Pluralisms, (Gewerbestrasse: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).
Sami Everett, ‘Interfaith Dialogue and Faith-Based Social Activism in a State of Emergency: laïcité and the Crisis of Religion in France’, Internation Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 31 (December 2018): pp.437-454.