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May 6, 2010

Religion and democracy to be explored in May 13 lecture

Ian Buruma, Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights & Journalism at Bard College, will speak on Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13, in 110 Kane.


As the relationship between church and state is debated, what role does religion play in the functioning of democracy and political institutions around the globe? Looking at tensions between religion and politics from the United States, to Europe, to the Islamic world, and East Asia, are religion and democracy even compatible? If so, what role do moderate and radical believers and secular voices play in the development of democratic institutions?


Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike, Taming the Gods argues that religion and democracy can be compatible — but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.


Buruma writes about a broad range of political and cultural subjects for major publications, most frequently for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Corriere della Sera, and NRC Handelsblad. He is the 2008 recipient of Holland’s prestigious Erasmus Prize, as well as the 2008 winner of Stanford University’s Shorenstein Journalism Award. He was voted as one of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals by the Foreign Policy/Prospect magazines in 2008.


The speech is sponsored by the World Affairs Council and the Department of Comparative Religion. Tickets are $10. To register, call 206-441-5910.