Archive for November 16th, 2009


Ritual and Certainty

An announcement from UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture:

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia is pleased to announce that world-renowned author and scholar Adam Seligman will deliver a lecture on “RITUAL AND SINCERITY: CERTITUDE AND THE OTHER.” The lecture will take place at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, November 18 at Watson Manor, the home for the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, at 3 University Circle, Charlottesville, Virginia.

In his lecture, Professor Seligman will contrast how we use ritual and sincerity to frame our experiences. Seligman argues that ritual creates imaginative “as if” worlds that foster relationships between people. In contrast, sincerity is focused on self-realization and involves a search for wholeness and totality that rejects the ambiguity inherent in the world. This rejection of ambiguity makes sincerity potentially dangerous, as it threatens the plurality and heterogeneity of the world and our relations within it.

Adam B. Seligman is Professor of Religion at Boston University, the Director of the International Summer School on Religion and Public Life, and Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture. He has lived and taught at universities in the United States, Israel, and Hungary, where he was a Fulbright Fellow. He lived close to twenty years in Israel where he was a member of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the early 1970s.

At present, with the help of major grants from the Ford Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts, he is working on the problem of religion and toleration. Part of this work is devoted to establishing school curricula for teaching tolerance from a religious perspective. His books, which have been translated into a dozen languages include, The Idea of Civil Society (Free Press, 1992), Inner-worldly Individualism (Transaction Press, 1994), The Problem of Trust (Princeton University Press, 1997), Modernity’s Wager: Authority, The Self and Transcendence (Princeton University Press, 2000), with Mark Lichbach, Market and Community (Penn State University Press, 2000), and Modest Claims, Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition (Notre Dame University Press in 2003).

November 2009
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