April 9 – Bruce Lawrence: “Minor Matters – Asian/African, Muslim/Christian”
How do Muslims and Christians together meet the challenge of majority-minority identity politics in the 21st century? I will assess the status of minority citizenship in places of Africa and Asia that have mixed communities where Muslims are the majority, Christians the minority. Though these communities might be religiously marked as Muslim and Christian, they also have other cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and locational markings that are consequential. More than minority identity, I will argue that the litmus test for good will, comity and collective benefit in each case is citizenship rights as well as access to public space. How are these rights negotiated and maintained, monitored and modified in diverse settings with disparate resources? I will pay special attention to the circumstances and options for Copts in Egypt, Kristens and Katolics in Indonesia, while at the same time linking them to other communities in both Africa and Asia where a similar Muslim-Christian proportionality prevails.
Bruce Lawrence earned his PhD. from Yale University in the History of Religions: Islam and Hinduism. His research ranges from institutional Islam to Indo-Persian Sufism and also encompasses the comparative study of religious movements. He is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at Duke University. His recent books have included On Violence – A Reader (with Aisha Karim); Messages to the World, The Statements of Osama Bin Laden; The Quran, A Biography; and, with his spouse, Dr. Miriam Cooke, Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop.
Cosponsored by UCSC Departments of Anthropology, History, and Literature.