Religion, Theory, and Interpretation

A UChicago CAS Study Group

Month: September 2019

Book Workshop: Dr. Khaled Furani

The Religion and the Human Sciences Workshop and the Islamic Studies Workshop are pleased to invite you to an upcoming workshop with Dr. Khaled Furani:
“Redeeming Anthropology: A Theological Critique of a Modern Science
Khaled Furani
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Tel Aviv University
Friday, September 27
 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
 Martin Marty Center Library
Swift Hall
(1025 E. 58th St)


Please email Alireza Doostdar ( to RSVP and to receive the chapters we will be discussing. 
Redeeming Anthropology lifts a veil on anthropology as a modern academic discipline, constituted by its secular sovereign reason and membership in the Enlightenment-bequeathed university. Mining anthropology’s biographical corpus, Khaled Furani reveals ways theology has always existed in its recesses, despite perpetual efforts at immuring encroachment by this banished other. Anthropologists have alternatively spurned, disregarded, and followed forms of religiosity, transmuting their theistic engagement in their professional work. Centrally, if unwittingly, theology remains in anthropology’s consummate rite of ethnographic immersion, defying precepts on the autonomy of reason and knowledge production by immersing the seeker in the sought-after. Nevertheless, anthropology ultimately commits idolatry by largely adoring the concept of Culture, and its constructs, and upholding itself as pre-eminently an ethical triumph. Furthermore, by limiting its horizons to finite categories of “human” and “natural,” anthropology entangles itself in “worship” of the State and conclusively of the sovereignty principle that powers modern reason. Recovery from idolatry might arrive should anthropological reason become attuned to its fragility, cease to fear theistic reason, and open pathways toward revitalization through revelation. 
Khaled Furani is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. His research interests lie in secularism, poetics, social theory, history of anthropology, Palestine, and the modern condition. He is the author of Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (2012). 

Call for Papers: Fall 2019

Dear Colleagues, 

The Religion & the Human Sciences Workshop is delighted to invite graduate students and faculty to share their work with us during the coming academic year. Our workshop is interdisciplinary in nature and we welcome papers from across the social sciences and humanities on the subject of religion. If you have a paper that you would like to present to the workshop in the coming Fall quarter, please email with a short description of the paper. Seminar papers, conference papers, dissertation chapters, proposals, or works in progress are all welcome. 

Our workshop meets on alternating Monday afternoons from 4:30-6:00 pm. Our tentative dates are October 7, October 21, and November 18, as well as a number of co-sponsored events throughout the quarter. If you are interested in presenting on a particular one of these dates, please let us know as well. 

Additionally, we are looking for graduate students to serve as respondents for the upcoming workshops. This is a great opportunity for practicing skills in assessing academic writing and facilitating group discussion. We are happy to provide some helpful tips and guidelines for respondents if needed. 


Claire Hautot