UIC Institute for the Humanities


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.


Rachel Havrelock, UIC English and Religious Studies


UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Institute for the Humanities

Visit Us:
Institute for the Humanities (MC206)
701 South Morgan, Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
Chicago, IL 60607-7040

Phone (312) 996-6352   Fax (312) 996-2938
Email huminst@uic.edu

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