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'Discrete moments of religious violence' focus of colloquium April 20

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor

Released 4/12/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — “Discrete moments of religious violence” in American history will be one of the topics ethicists, rhetoricians, legal and religious scholars take up during a half-day colloquium at the University of Illinois.

The April 20 meeting, which is free and open to the public, is titled “The Cross, The Sword and the Flag: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Faith and the Narration of Violence.”

Sponsored by the U. of I. Program for the Study of Religion, the event will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room 314B of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

According to organizer Jonathan Ebel, a professor of religion at Illinois, the event is “aimed at addressing the intersection of religion and violence in America’s past.”

“While examining discrete moments of violence – real and imagined – in American history, we will explore the contributions that different disciplines make to the study of religion and violence in this country,” Ebel said.

Participants include ethicist Jean Bethke-Elshtain, the “just war theorist” from the University of Chicago, who will talk about torture and interrogation, and John Witte Jr. of Emory University law school, who will discuss Protestant foundations of rights and revolutions.

Also presenting are John Carlson, a professor of religious studies at Arizona State University, who will talk about a just war of independence, and Ned O’Gorman, a professor of speech communication at Illinois, who will discuss the rhetorical evolution of John Foster Dulles’ “Massive Retaliation.”

The colloquium is organized and co-sponsored by the Illinois Forum on Religion in America, a unit Ebel and his colleague Richard Layton founded at Illinois. Other U. of I. sponsors are the departments of history and speech communication, the Foreign Languages Building, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and the Unit for Cinema Studies.