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Conferences Archive (2012-2013)

“Shari’a and Halakha in America”
April 15-16, 2013

Islamic religious law — shari’a — has come under fierce attack in recent years, as a system that threatens American freedoms.  More quietly, there has been an attempt in San Francisco to ban circumcision, a ritual central to both Jewish and Muslim law, and bans on both Jewish and Muslim modes of slaughtering animals have been enacted in a number of European countries.  Indisputably, prejudice and hatred have played a large role in motivating these developments, but they have also raised some deep questions — often untreated in media accounts — about how liberal democracies can and should accommodate legal systems that are not themselves originally grounded on liberal or democratic principles.  One can pose a similar question from the opposite perspective: to what degree can systems of this sort adapt themselves to a liberal democratic environment?  This conference will explore these questions, as they pertain to both shari’a and Jewish law (halacha), from a variety of angles.  It will address the challenges faced by both Jewish and Muslim legal systems, and invite people from the two traditions to learn from one another’s experience.  Speakers include professors of law and religion, some of whom have served on Jewish or Muslim courts, as well as journalists and activists.  We hope to help spark a richer, better informed public discussion of these issues than they have, thus far, generally received.

Please Note:

MONDAY, April 15, 2013
Location: IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 West Adams, Chicago IL.

TUESDAY, April 16, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, lower level Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan, University of Illinois at Chicago 

This conference is free and open to the public.
(Registration Closed)

Conference Schedule:

MONDAY, April 15, 2013
Location: IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 West Adams, Chicago IL.
For Information on location or parking contact: (312) 906-5000

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. – Opening remarks by Dean Krent, IIT Chicago-Kent Law School

9:15-11:45 a.m. – Religious Law in a secular State(I)

Timothy D. Lytton, Albert and Angela Farone Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School
“Presentation title to be announced”

Michael Helfand, Associate Professor, Pepperdine School of Law; Associate Director, Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies
“Between Law and Religion: Procedural Challenges to Religious Arbitration Awards”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:15-3:45 p.m. – On Being a Religious Minority in a Liberal Democracy

Mustafa Baig, Lecturer in Islamic Studies, University of Manchester
“Operating Islamic Jurisprudence in a non-Muslim State”

David Novak, Professor of the Study of Religion and Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
“How Can Law-Abiding Jews Participate in Liberal Democracy?”

Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core and Member of President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council
“How to be an American Muslim: Religious Community and National Pluralism in an Age of Islamophobia”


3:45-4:00 p.m. – Coffee Break

4:00 -5:30 p.m. – KEYNOTE LECTURE:

Michael Broyde, Professor of Law, Emory University;  Former Director and currently Dayan (judge), Beth Din of America
“Suggestions for Shari’a Courts based on the Precedent of the Beth Din of America.”


TUESDAY, April 16, 2013
Institute for the Humanities, lower level Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan, University of Illinois at Chicago
For Information on location and parking, contact: (312) 996-6352

8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

8:45 -9:00 a.m. – Remarks by Dean Tantillo, Universtiy of Illinois at Chicago

9:00-11:30 a.m. – The Anti-Sharia Movement in America

Samuel Freedman, New York Times columnist;  professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
“Religious Law as a Wedge Issue: The Shari’a Scare in American Politics”

Wajahat Ali, Playwright, Attorney, New media journalist
“Manufacturing Fear: Anti Shari’a Legislation as a Solution in Search of a Problem”

Nadia Marzouki, Research Fellow, Religiowest programme, RCSAS, European University Institute
“The Anti-Shari’a movement in the U.S.: Anti-Islam or Anti-globalization?”

11:30-12:30 p.m. – Lunch

12:30-2:45 p.m. – Religious Law in a Secular State (II)

Lena Salaymeh, Robbins Post-Doctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley School of Law
“Inventing ‘Religious Law’ in the United States”

Asher Lopatin, Rabbi, Anshe Shalom;  incoming President of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
“Creative Interpretation in Halacha and Shari’a: What is the Definition of Public Prayer?”

Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Stanford University
“The American Eruv: Halakha in Public Space”

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. – Coffee Break

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. – KEYNOTE LECTURE:

Mohammed Fadel, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
“Religious Law, Family Law and Arbitration” 

This conference is free and open to the public.
(Registration Closed)

For more information:



Food Justice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

A Conference sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the
Humanities and the UIC Chancellor’s Initiative in the Humanities
April 4-6, 2013

The Thursday, April 4 Keynote lecture by Eric Schlosser is free and open to the public.This conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore issues of food justice in historical context as well as in terms of contemporary policy debates. Conference sessions will address themes of food and war, food aid and humanitarianism, moral and ethical issues in defining hunger and famine, the tensions between local and global food systems, and alternative urban food movements (specifically in Chicago). The conference is intended to foster in-depth discussion. To that end, conference papers will be pre-circulated among participants as well as a limited number of public guests.

Conference Schedule:

April 4, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Location: 750 South Halsted, UIC Student Center East
UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Welcome

KEYNOTE LECTURE:  Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
Lecture Title: “Food Justice and American Injustice”

April 5, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, UIC
9:00-10:15 a.m.
Plenary Session – Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Multi-campus Research Program on Food and the Body, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Grow your own food? Reflections on the Limits and Possibilities of Food Justice”

Julie Guthman

10:15-10:30 a.m. – Coffee

10:30-12:30 –
Session 1 – “Modern Hungers”

Achieving food justice depends, in the first place, on being able to define hunger itself. Scientists, doctors, NGOs and multinational organizations are all engaged in varied and often contradictory projects aimed at defining, reducing and, ultimately eliminating global hunger. Despite such intense scrutiny, however, it has proven difficult to establish a medical, social or economic consensus on what exactly hunger is. This panel will explore some of the different ways hunger can be understood and the variety of solutions that emerge.



Sharman Apt Russell, Department of Humanities, Western New Mexico University
“Into the Mouths of Babes:  The Business of Hunger” 

Geoff Tansy, Writer/Consultant; Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Peace Studies, University Bradford, Trustee and member, Food Ethics Council, United Kingdom
“Hungry for What?  Reflections on Food, Hunger and Justice”

Comment: Alice Weinreb, Department of History, Utah State University

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch

1:30-3:30 p.m.–
Session 2 – “Food Aid and Humanitarianism”

This panel will focus on food justice in the history and practice of international food aid. We will address the growth of an international system of food (and development) aid and the use of food aid in state/national strategic planning as well as ideas about the relationships among food/hunger and humanitarianism.


Nick Cullather, Department of History, Indiana University
“When is a Famine not a Famine?  Gauging Indian Hunger in Imperial and Cold War Contexts”

Davide Rodogno, 
International History, Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva
“Humanitarian Organizations, Food Aid Turf-Wars in Asia Minor and Greece (1919-1925)”

Jamey Essex, 
Department of Political Science, University of Windsor
“From the Global Food Crisis to the Age of Austerity:  The Anxious Geopolitics of Global Food Security”

Comment: Susan Levine, Department of History and Institute for the Humanities, UIC

3:30-3:45 p.m. – Coffee

3:45-5:45 p.m.
Session 3 – “Food and War”

This panel focuses on the theme of food and justice in the context of total war, which destroys normal patterns of food production and distribution. The provisioning of huge armies, the maintenance of civilian diets and claims of defeated soldiers and civilians raise complex issues about justice. The panel will explore how scarce supplies were allocated and how food became a weapon in policies of extermination in the Second World War in Europe and South-East Asia.


Gesine Gerhard, Department of History, University of the Pacific
“Food Justice Under Duress:  Feeding Soldiers, Civilians and Prisoners of War During the German War on the Soviet Union 1941-1945”

Aaron William Moore, Lecturer in East Asian History, University of Manchester
“An Insatiable Parasite: Eating and Drinking in WWII Armies of the Asia–Pacific Theatre, 1937–1945”

Kenneth Mouré, Department of History, University of Alberta
“ Food and Justice:  Equality of Sacrifice in France, 1940-1944”

Comment: Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Department of History, UIC

April 6, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, UIC

9:00-11:00 a.m.
Session 4 – “Local Agriculture, Global Food, and the Politics of Scale”

This panel looks at food justice in the context of local versus global food systems. In particular, the panel will look at current developments in agri-industrial organization and technology and the implications of these developments for laborers and their communities. Discussion will explore social movements that challenge corporate ownership of food and the appropriation of agricultural knowledge paying particular attention to alternatives that seek to promote more just systems of production, distribution, and consumption.


Elizabeth Fitting, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
“Cultures of Corn and anti-GM activism in Mexico and Columbia”

Mark Moberg, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, University of South Alabama
“Certification and Neoliberal Governance:  Moral Economies of Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean”

Daniel Reichman, Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester
“Traceability as a Cultural System”

Comment: Molly Doane, Department of Anthropology, UIC

11:00-11:15 a.m.- Coffee

Session 5 – “Urban Agriculture and Alternative Food Systems

This panel explores the emerging phenomenon of large scale urban agriculture in three key locations: Chicago, Havana and Detroit. Panelists explore how urban agriculture has emerged as social movement and development strategy in three quite distinct contexts, looking at its particular genesis within particular community contexts, its articulation with alternative movements and ideologies, and its relationship to neoliberal ideas and economies.


Daniel Block, Department of Geography, Chicago State University
“Farming the City in a Garden: Planning, Promotion, and Indifference toward Agriculture in Chicago from its Founding to Emmanuel”

Adriana Premat, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
” ‘Reason, Compassion, and Pocketbook’:  Urban Agriculture, and the Search for Balance in Post-Soviet Cuba”

Monica White, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison

Comment: Lisa Lee, Director, UIC School of Art & Art History and Visiting Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum



The Holy War Conference
November 15-16, 2012
University of Illinois at Chicago
Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan Street, lower level Stevenson Hall
This conference is free and open to the public.
Preregistration is not necessary, but  is appreciated so we can calculate attendance.
How do religious traditions link God and war? How have these linkages been misconstrued or exploited? Is religious violence distinct or do appeals to religious justification for violence serve as an excuse or smokescreen?
The UIC Holy War conference will examine iterations of religious violence across temporalities and space. Conference presenters will speak to the internal categorizations of war and violence and their relations to imperial, national, and religious political forms. While individual papers will address specific religious traditions, the panels and conference as a whole is comparative and will bring out
specificities and similarities among conceptions of holy war.
Thursday, November 15th, 2-4 pm
Conference Schedule

Coffee: 1:30 PM

2 PM Welcome
Astrida Tantillo, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Susan Levine, Director, Institute for the Humanities
Rachel Havrelock, UIC English and Religious Studies

2 PM Panel: Scriptural Precedent

William Morrow, Queen’s University
“Effects of Assyrian Ideology on Biblical Traditions of Holy War”
Introducer:  Nanno Marinatos, UIC Classics and Mediterranean Studies
Reuven Firestone, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
“Mitzvah War in Modern Israel and Biblical Holy War of Ancient Israel: Where is the
Introducer:  Samuel Fleischacker, UIC Philosophy and Jewish Studies
James Turner Johnson, Rutgers University
“ ‘Holy War’: A Problematic Concept”

Introducer:  Ralph Keen, UIC History and Catholic Studies

4 PM: Reception

5 pm: Keynote Address
Michael Sells, John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature, University of Chicago
Michael Sells
“Revelation and Militancy in the Traditions of Abraham”
Introducer:  Junaid Quadri, UIC History and Religious Studies
Friday, November 16th, 9 am – 12 pm
Panel: Modern Instantiations
Janaki Bakhle, Columbia University
“Hindu Fundamentalism’s Unholy Author: V.D. Savarkar and the Hindu Right”

Introducer:  Rama Mantena, UIC History

David Watt, Temple University
“Is Fundamentalism a Disease?”
Introducer:  Nasser Mufti, UIC English
Mahinda Deegalle, Bath Spa University
“A Just War in Sri Lanka?”
Introducer:  Ellen McClure:  UIC French and Francophone Studies
Cosponsors: UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Institute for the
The Holy War conference will take place at the UIC Institute for the Humanities on
the afternoon of November 15th and morning of November 16th. The conference is
planned for just before the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion /
Society of Biblical Literatures in Chicago.

The Department of French and Francophone Studies,
The School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics,
the Institute for the Humanities
at the University of Illinois at Chicago

and The Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago


“Inequality and Exclusion: The Theory and Practice of Human Rights”
October 17-19, 2012

2012 marks the 300th anniversary of the Genevan/French writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birth, and the 250th anniversary of his Social Contract, one of the cornerstones of modern political thought.

To celebrate these milestones, the University of Illinois of Chicago ans the Cultural Service at the Consulate general of France in Chicago will host a conference around the theme “Inequality and Exclusion: The Theory and Practice of Human Rights.”

Supported by the

The Book Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Institut Français

This conference is free and open to the public.
Preregistration is not necessary, but is appreciated so we can calculate attendance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Alliance Française de Chicago,

54 West Chicago Avenue

 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Trois Cent Ans/300th anniversary

To commemorate the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva 300 years ago and still celebrated as one of the greatest Genevan/French thinker and writer: Screening of 4 short films illustrating aspects of his oeuvre, followed by a discussion with Megane Laverty, associate professor of Philosophy and Education, the Teacher’s College, Columbia University. A wine and Swiss cheese reception will follow as well as a book sale of Rousseau’s main titles.

Supported by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicago.

Thursday, October 18, 2012
 from 10 a,.m. – 5 p.m.
Institute for the Humanities, lower level Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan

9 AM coffee

9:30    Welcome, Graham Paul, Consul General of France

Astrida Tantillo, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Rousseau, Rights, and Representation

Moderator:  Yann Robert, French Studies, UIC

 Sunil Agnani, English and History, UIC
“Enthusiasm, Enlightenment and Revolution: Edmund Burke’s misrecognition of Jean-Jacques

Susan Maslan
, French, University of California, Berkeley
“Multiplying and Dividing the Human: Politics and Biopolitics in Rousseau”

Elizabeth Wingrove
, Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
“Universalism v. The General Will: Thinking the Politics of Human Rights with Rousseau”

Michel Agier
, Anthropologue, directeur de recherche à l’IRD (Institut de recherche pour le
développement) et directeur d’études à l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)
“A Cosmopolitan Condition : Rousseau, Arendt, and the Supernumeraries”
12 p.m. Lunch Break

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Roundtable: Precarity and Citizenship

Moderator:  Stephen Engelmann, Political Science, UIC

 Amalia Pallares, Political Science and Latino and Latin American Studies, UIC
“The Rights of the Undocumented: Retheorizing Citizenship”

Guillaume Leblanc, 
Professeur de philosophie à l’Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3
“Becoming Invisible. What is a Precarious Life?”

Sébastien Chauvin, 
Maître de conférence en sociologie à l’Université d’Amsterdam
“Five Research Propositions for a Theory of Employment Precariousness”

Alexander Kaufman
, Political Science,University of Georgia
“Choice,Responsibility and Equality”4:30 -5 p.m. Wrap-up Statement 

Moderator:  Norma C. Moruzzi, Political Science, UIC

 Peg Birmingham, Philosophy,DePaul University
“Revolutionary Declarations : State of Right vs. Right of Opposition”

Friday, October 19, 2012 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Institute for the Humanities, lower level Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan

10 a.m. Coffee, materials fair

11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Roundtable: What Can Be Done? The Frontlines of Humanitarian Action

Moderator:  Jeffrey Gore, Global Learning Community, UIC

David Rohi
, Sociologue, Responsable de la commission “éloignement” de La Cimade
“Undocumented foreigners in detention centers : defending their rights in a situation of acute exclusion”

 Michel Agier: “Is an anthropology in/of the humanitarian apparatus possible?
Ethnographical observations, personal experience and political participation as a board
member at Doctors without Borders (France)”

 Laurene M. Heybach, Director, The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

 Tania Unzueta, Youth Immigration Justice League
1 pm.  Lunch break

Saturday 20th, 2012, UIC, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Professional Workshop for French Teachers (in French)

For information or to register, please contact Jean Francois Rochard

Inequality and exclusion in France today: how to introduce and talk about it in French class

Jean-François Rochard, Attaché culturel adjoint

On the occasion of the conference “Inequality and Exclusion: The Theory and Practice of
human rights” at the University of Illinois at Chicago (18-19 October), the Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Chicago is organizing, in partnership with the Alliance Française de Chicago, a professional training workshop for French teachers on the social and political issues of inequality and exclusion in France today:

How to introduce and talk about it in French class?
What teaching materials and methods?

What kinds of intercultural approaches can be used to understand the different types of exclusion as well as the public and private policies currently in place to fight against social inequality?



This international symposium on the slave trade and its aftermath in the modern world is inspired by the UIC Library’s unique collection of works on abolition, the founding of Sierra
Leone, the transatlantic slave trade, and modern Caribbean literature. Symposium panels will serve to contextualize the collections by focusing on current scholarship in the areas of:

Abolition, Freetown and Empire
Black Atlantic in the Age of Revolution
Caribbean and Black Atlantic Thought
The Colonial Legacy and Future of Sierra Leone
Race, Racism, Memory and the Legacy of Slavery    

Location: 750, South Halsted Street, Student Center East
This conference is free and open to the public.
Preregistration is not necessary, but is appreciated so we can calculate attendance

Thursday October 4 at 4 p.m.

Illinois Room A & B

Opening Keynote: Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill
“Faction: Merging History and Fiction in Someone Knows My Name The Book of Negroes


Lawrence Hill is the author of Someone Knows My Name published in Canada and Britain as The Book of Negroes, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in 2008. He is also the author of Any Known Blood (1997 & 1999); Blackberry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada (2001); Some Great Thing (1992).

Reception, Illinois Room C

Friday October 5

Cardinal Room

9 a.m.  Coffee and Rolls

10-12 a.m.
Panel 1: Abolition, Freetown, and Empire

     Christopher Brown, Columbia University
“The Origins of ‘Legitimate Commerce’ ”

Alan Gilbert
, University of Denver
“Further Thoughts on Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence”

Kristin Mann
, Emory University
“Abolition, Empire, and the Migration of Sierra Leonean Re-captives and Brazilian Freed People to Lagos”

Moderator: James Searing, UIC History

12:00-1:30 p.m.  Lunch break

1:30-3:30 p.m.
Panel 2: Black Atlantic in the Age of Revolution

     W. Bryan Rommel-Ruiz, Colorado College
     “The Politics of Festivals: Racial Consciousness, West Indian Emancipation Festivals, and Historical Agency
in the Nineteenth Century Black Atlantic”

Sibylle Fischer
, New York University
“Republicanism and Race in the Revolutionary Atlantic”
Moderator:  Corey Capers, UIC History and African American Studies

4-5 p.m.
Keynote Speaker Toyin Falola
Toyin Falola
“Africa in the Diaspora and the Diaspora in Africa: Towards an Integrated Body of Knowledge”

Toyin Falola is the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, has an honorary doctorate from Monmouth University, and was named the 2011 Distinguished Africanist by the African Studies Association. He has written, edited and co-written dozens of books, including The Yoruba in Diaspora, The Atlantic World and The Archaeology of the African Diaspora, all by Indiana University Press. He is the Vice President of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project. His forthcoming book, The African Diaspora: Slavery, Migration and Globalization will be released in 2013 by the University of Rochester Press.

5:15-6:30 p.m.   UIC Library

Reception hosted by UIC Library

Exhibit viewing in University Library Special Collections:
“Commerce in Human Souls:  The Legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade”

Saturday October 6

Room 605

9 a.m.  Coffee and Rolls

10-12 a.m.
Panel 3: Caribbean and Black Atlantic Thought


   Sean X. Goudie, Pennsylvania State University
“Mixed up in America’s Business: The Past Future of US-Caribbean Literary Relations”

   Matthew J. Smith, University of the West Indies-Mona, Jamaica
“Everywhere Alone: Exile in Nineteenth Century Haitian History”

Moderators: Sunil Agnani, UIC History and English and Natasha Barnes, UIC English
and African American Studies

12:00-1:30 p.m.  Lunch break

1:30-3:00 p.m.
Panel 4:  Colonial Legacy and Future of Sierra Leone

Arthur Abraham, Virginia University
“The Mende in Sierra Leone’s Past and Future”

Joseph Bangura, Kalamazoo College
“The Temne in Sierra Leone’s Past and Future”

Moderator: Dick Simpson, UIC Political Science

3:15-5:00 p.m.
Panel 5:  Race, Racism, Memory and the Legacy of Slavery Christopher Brown

Randall Robinson, Pennsylvania State University Law School
  “The Contemporary Social Consequence of Cultural Memory Loss”

B. Anthony Bogues, Brown University
“Slavery and Emancipation in the Making of the Modern World : What about Freedom?”

Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University
“Shadows of the Slave Past: Public Memory and Heritage of Slavery”

Susan Robeson, Higher Ground Studio
“Maroon, Historical Memory, and the Legacy of Slavery”

Moderator: Barbara RansbyUIC History, African American Studies and Gender
and Women’s Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago Sponsors: 
The Office of the Chancellor
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs
Institute for the Humanities
Great Cities Institute
UIC Social Justice Initiative
Honors College
University Library
Departments of Political Science, History, African American Studies, English
Office of International Affairs
International Studies Program

Non-UIC Sponsors:
British Consulate General-Chicago
Illinois Humanities Council