Fakultät für Philosophie, Wissenschaftstheorie und Religionswissenschaft
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Conferences and Invited Presentations

Conferences Organized

Co-organizer with Vincent Lloyd, “Deprovincializing Political Theology: Postcolonial and Comparative Approaches,” LMU Munich, October 2019.

Co-organizer with Yvonne Sherwood, “Sovereignty and Religion: Interrogating the Foundations of Polity,” Siemens Stiftung, Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich, July 2018.

Co-organizer with Lorenz Trein, “Narratives of Disenchantment and Secularization: Origins, Contexts, Transformations,” LMU Munich, October 2017.

Co-organizer with Yvonne Sherwood, “Sovereignty and Religion: Interrogating the Foundations of Polity,” workshop at LMU Munich, September 2017.

Co-organizer with Massimo Leone and Jenny Ponzo, “Mediation and Immediacy: The Semiotic Turn in the Study of Religion,” University of Turin, Italy, June 2016.

Co-organizer with Jenny Ponzo, “Transcendence: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue,” Center for Advanced Studies, LMU Munich, June 2015.

Co-organizer with Winnifred Sullivan, “The Sacred/Secular Divide: The Legal Story II,” Baldy Center, SUNY Buffalo Law School, 2009.

Co-organizer with Winnifred Sullivan, “The Sacred/Secular Divide: The Legal Story I,” Baldy Center, SUNY Buffalo Law School, 2008.
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Conference Presentations

“The Biggest Idol in the History of the World.” Images in Religious Persuasion: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. CERES, University of Bochum, October 2019.

Respondent, panel discussions of Sovereignty and the Sacred. European Association for the Study of Religion, Tartu, Estonia, June 2019. Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft, Hannover, September 2019. American Academy of Religion, San Diego 2019.

“A Farewell to Kings?: Representing the Body Politic after the Death of Monarchy in Western Europe,” Sacred Kingship in World History: Between Immanence and Transcendence, Oxford University, May 2019.

“The Use and Abuse of the Category of the Secular as Applied to Precolonial India” (keynote lecture). Environment, Religion and Culture, Jadavpur University, February 2019.

“Säkularisierung des Hindurechts,” workshop, “Hat religiöses Recht eine Existenzberechtigung?” Katholische Akademie, Munich, September 2018.

“Blood Lines: Biopolitics, Patriarchy, Myth.” Sovereignty and Religion: Interrogating the Foundations of Polity, Siemens Stiftung, Munich, July 2018.

“The Reasonableness of God and the Foundations of Modern Polity: The Influence of Protestant Theology on English Liberalism during and after the Seventeenth Century.” Liberal Theology Today, LMU Munich, July 2018.

“Frozen Forms: Magical Languages and the Power of Divine Names.” Ancient and Artificial Languages in Today’s Culture, University of Turin, June 2018.

“Imagining Sacrifice in Ancient India: A Genealogy of Heesterman’s ‘Broken World.’” Rituals of Power in South Asia, LMU Munich, March 2018.

Panelist, review symposium on Tisa Wenger, Religious Freedom: The Contested History of an American Ideal. American Academy of Religion, Boston, November 2017.

“How the Legacy of Christian Theology Has Influenced Modern Constructions of Religion.” European Association for the Study of Religion, Leuven, September 2016.

“’Entzauberung’ und ‘Routinisierung’: Theologische Quellen von den Hauptbegriffen Max Webers.” Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft, Marburg, September 2017.

“Intertextuality, Iconicity, and Joint Speech: Three Dialogical Modes of Linguistic Performance in South Asian Traditions.” The Dialogical Indian, Lancaster University, July 2017.

“‘By Fire and Sword’: Early English Depictions of Islam and Judaism as Political Religions, and their Connection with Debates regarding Secularism and Freedom of Religion.” Critique of Religion: Framing Jews and Muslims in Public Debate and Political Theory Today, Amsterdam, June 2017.

“Exceptional Grace: The Pardon Power as a Window on the Politico-Theological Problem.” Law as Religion, Religion as Law, Hebrew University Law School, June 2016.

“Blasphemy and Sedition: Compassing the Death of the King in the State of Exception.” Blasphemies: Media, History, Affect, Paris, May 2016.

Panelist, Review Symposium on Adluri and Bagchee, The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. Dharma Association of North America, Atlanta, November 2016.

“Disenchantment as a Politico-Theological Problem: Weber’s Charisma Theory and Protestant Discourses on the Cessation of Miracles.” European Association for the Study of Religion, Helsinki, June 2016.

“The Protestant (An)aesthetic and the Attack on Mediation.” Mediation and Immediacy: The Semiotic Turn in the Study of Religion, Turin, Italy, June 2016.

“Imagining Sacrifice: Secular Politics and the Invention of a Religious Phenomenon.” International Association for the History of Religions, Erfurt, August 2015.

Panelist, “Integrating the Material, Bodily, and Sensual into the Study of Religion.” International Association for the History of Religions, Erfurt, August 2015.

“Social Transcendence: Connecting Anomie and Sovereignty.” Interpreting Transcendence: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Center for Advanced Studies, LMU, Munich, June 2015.

Chair, Presidential Panel on “The Category of Religion in the Technology of Statecraft: Theorizing Religions as Vestigial States.” North American Association for the Study of Religion, San Diego, November 2014.

Panelist, Review Panel on Elizabeth Pritchard’s Religion in Public: Locke’s Political Theology (Stanford University Press, 2013). North American Association for the Study of Religion, San Diego, November 2014.

“Disenchantment and the Liberal Constitution.” Modern Government, Sovereignty, and the Category of Religion: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Critical Religion Theory, Impact of Religion program, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, May 2014.

Panelist, “Is There a Religious Mode of Production?: Economic Aspects of Sacrifice and Related Behaviors.” North American Association for the Study of Religion, Baltimore, November 2013.

Panelist, “Magic Words, Magic Powers, Magic Healings: Insights on ‘Irrational’ and ‘Rational’ Aspects of South Asian Religion.” South Asia Colloquium, New York University, New York, November 2013.

Panelist, Language, Media, and Religion Mini-Conference and Roundtable, Reed College, October 2013.

Respondent, panel on “Religion-Making, Secularism, and Reform in 19th-Century Bombay.” Association for Asian Studies, San Diego, March 2013.

Platform speaker, Rethinking Religion in India IV Conference: Law, Religion, and Secularism. Mangalore, India, November 2012.

Participant, Luce Foundation Workshop on “Politics of Religious Freedom in South and Southeast Asia: Contested Norms and Local Practices.” Chiang Mai, Thailand, December 2011.

Respondent, panel on “Law, Legislation, and Religious Formations in South Asian Nation-States.” American Academy of Religion, San Francisco, November 2011.

Respondent, panel on After Secular Law, edited by Winnifred F. Sullivan, Robert A. Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo. North American Association for the Study of Religion, San Francisco, November 2011.

Roundtable Respondent and Panel Chair, Rethinking Religion in India III Conference: European Representations and Indian Responses. University of Pardubice, Czech Republic, October 2011.

“Redeeming the Land.” Conference on Religious Freedom and Indigenous Land Rights, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, April 2011.

“What Did Religious Freedom Mean in Ancient India?: Beyond the Sacred/Secular Paradigm.” Workshop on “Varieties of Religious Establishments.” St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, November 2010.

Panelist, “Antisemitism and Its Afterlives: Christian Studies of Judaism and the Construction of Modernity.” American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, November 2010.

“Sacred Arbitrariness: The Antinomian Holy and its Exclusion under Natural Law.” International Association for the History of Religions, Toronto, August 2010.

“Christian, but How Modern?: A Critique of Webb Keane’s Christian Moderns.” International Association for the History of Religions, Toronto, August 2010.

“Spiritual Economies: The Myth of the Religious Neutrality of the Secular and the Question of Indian Secularism.” Panel on “Is There a Religious-Secular Divide in the Indian Traditions?” Association for Asian Studies, Philadelphia, March 2010.

“Biblical Studies in the Postcolony: The Implications for Religious Studies.” Panel on “The Bible in the Study of Religion.” Co-sponsored by the North American Association for the Study of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, New Orleans, November 2009.

“Liberalism Has No Charisma: Judaism and the Critique of Modernity According to Max Weber, Philip Rieff, and Carl Schmitt.” Panel on “Disenchantment and Reenchantment in Political Theology: Diagnosing the Crisis of Liberalism.” North American Association for the Study of Religion, Montreal, November 2009.

“The Scandal of Transcendence and the Spiritual Economy of Modernity.” Roundtable on Theoretical-Critical Issues in the Study of Religion. Co-sponsored by the North American Association for the Study of Religion and the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion, Montreal, November 2009.

Co-organizer (with Winnifred Sullivan and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo), presenter, and moderator, conference on “Re-describing the Sacred/Secular Divide: The Legal Story II.” Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, University at Buffalo, NY, April 29-May 3, 2009.

Panelist, “Lost in Translation? Comparing Local and Global Interpretations of Religious Freedom.” Baker Center for Public Policy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February, 2009.

Co-organizer (with Winnifred Sullivan) and conference participant, conference on “Re-describing the Sacred/Secular Divide: The Legal Story.” Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, University at Buffalo, NY, March, 2008.

Panelist, “The Relevance of Hindu Law for Religious Studies.” Hinduism Group, American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November 2007.

Chair, panel on “Critical Cultural Studies of Western Law and Political Theology.” Law, Religion, and Culture Group, American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November 2007.

“Hindu Law as Performance: Ritual and Poetic Elements in Dharmashastra.” Law and Hinduism: A Pre-Conference Workshop of the 36th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 2007.

“Public Laws, Private Religions: The Secularization of Hindu Dharma in Colonial India.” Conference on the Politics of Religion-Making, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, October 2007.

“The Hindu Moses: Christian Representations of Judaism and the Secularization of Hindu Law under Colonialism.” Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Berlin, Germany, July 2007.

“‘The Christian Character of the North-West Provinces’: Roman Transliteration and the Linguistic Reformation of Colonial India.” American Academy of Religion, Washington, DC, November 2006.

“Christian Polemics against Jewish Ritual Law as a Precursor of Religious Freedom in Modern Law.” Law and Society Association, Baltimore, July 2006.

Respondent, Panel on “Testing Secularism.” Law, Religion, and Culture Group, American Academy of Religion, Philadelphia, November 2005.

“A Separate Place, A Separate Peace?: Law and Literature in Historical Perspective.” International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law, McGill University, Montreal, April 2005.

“Idols of the Tongue: Literalism versus Poetry in the Laws of Reformation England and Colonial India.” Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Austin, TX, March 2005.

“The Trouble with Images.” Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Austin, TX, March 2005.

“Rhetorical, Communicological, and Other Semiotic Approaches to Religion and Ritual.” North American Association for the Study of Religion, San Antonio, November 2004.

“The Idolatry of Language: Max Müller’s Literalism and Monotheism.” American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, November 2004.

“Toward a Natural History of Rhetoric: Textual Economies and the Rise of the Literal in the Age of Globalization.” 8th Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, Lyon, France, July 2004.

“Gesturing at Nature: The Rhetoric of Gestures, Ritual and Memory in Cross-Cultural Perspective.” Gestures, Rituals and Memory: A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Patterned Human Movement Across Time. Victoria College, University of Toronto, May 2004.

“Monological Gods, Dialogical Selves: Canon and Monotheism as Strategies for Interreligious Debate in Nineteenth-century India.” American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, November 2003.

“Bentham’s Fictions: Canon and Idolatry in the Genealogy of Law.” American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, November 2003.

“Chanting the Cosmogony: Hindu Tantric Rituals for Making Mantras Effective.” American Oriental Society, Nashville, April 2003.

“Images of Law and its Others: Law, Religion, and Idolatry in British India.” Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, New York, March 2003.

Respondent, Panel on “Multiplying and Dividing: Pluralism and Transformation in Law and Religion.” Law, Religion, and Culture Group, American Academy of Religion, Toronto, November 2002.

“What Makes a Mantra Effective?: Diagrams of Creation.” 30th Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, October 2001.

“Poetic Justice: Magic and Rhetoric in Hindu Ordeals.” International Association for the History of Religions, Durban, South Africa, August 2000.

“Relativity Reconsidered: Whorf and the Structural Analysis of Mantras.” Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion, Calcutta, India, August 2000.

“Rhetorics of Law and Ritual: A Semiotic Comparison of the Law of Talion and Sympathetic Magic.” American Academy of Religion, Orlando, November 1998.

“The Global Ethic Document and International Law.” Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies Conference, DePaul University, Chicago, July 1996.
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Invited Presentations

Respondent, book panel on Sovereignty and the Sacred. Workshop on “Sovereignty: Sacred and Secular.” University of Vienna, February 2020.

“The Use and Abuse of the Category of the Secular as Applied to Precolonial India.” Center for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, January 2019.

“Sovereignty and the Sacred.” Book presentations at Max-Weber-Kolleg, University of Erfurt; University of Navarra; India International Center, Delhi; Presidency University, Kolkata, 2019.

“Secularization as the Disenchantment of Sovereignty.” Lecture series, Configurations of the Secular, Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, June 2017.

“Blasphemy and Sedition: Compassing the Death of the King in the State of Exception.” University of Turin, April 2017.

“Disenchantment: European Origins and South Asian Consequences.” Center for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, January 2017.

“Hindu Mantras and Christian Prayers.” India International Center, New Delhi, January 2017.

“Disenchantment and Sovereignty: A New Genealogy of the Secular.” Workshop on “Secularization, Disenchantment, and Re-enchantment,” History of Religions Department, Stockholm University, May 2016.

“Secularism, Sovereignty, and the Jewish Question: Perspectives from the History of Protestant Theology.” Law and Political Thought Workshop on “Questioning Secularism,” Tel Aviv University School of Law, March 2016.

“Fences and Neighbors: South Asian Studies and Religious Studies.” Center for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, July 2015.

“Modernity and Disenchantment.” Annual LMU Philosophy Department Lecture, Siemens Stiftung, Munich, January 2015.

“Disenchantment and Secular Politics.” Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Religious Studies, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, January 2013.

“The Hindu Moses: The Secularization of Hindu Law under Colonialism.” South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany, April 2008.

“Toward a Genealogy of Ritual Performance: The Protestant Critique of Vain Repetitions in Prayer and its Causes and Consequences.” Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, April 2007.

“Two Competing Linguistic Ideologies: Hindu Mantras and the Protestant Critique of Vain Repetitions in Prayer.” Department of Communication, University of Memphis, March 2007.

“Iconoclasm and Modernity: Western Tradition against Itself.” Phi Alpha Theta Series on Counterculture, Department of History, University of Memphis, February 2007.

“Toward a Genealogy of Human Rights: Christian Polemics against Jewish Ritual Law as a Precursor of Religious Freedom in Modern Law.” Speaker Series on Law, Religion, and Secularism. American Bar Foundation, Chicago, April 2006.

“An Indian Linguistic Reformation: The Disenchantment of South Asian Languages under Colonialism.” Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, November 2005.

“What is Hinduism? And Who Says So?” Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto at Mississauga, November 2005.

“Toward a Theory of Performance: The Rhetoric of Ritual and the Reasons for its Decline.” Faculty Colloquium, Program for the Study of Religion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 2005.

“What Lawyers Can Learn from the Study of Rhetoric.” University of Toronto Law School, April 2005. “Poetry on Trial: Law versus Literature, or Two Chapters in the History of Legal Literalism.” Toronto Legal History Seminar, University of Toronto Law School, February 2005.

“Poetry on Trial: Toward a Genealogy of Legal Literalism.” Rhetoric Department, University of California, Berkeley, January 2005.

“Rhetoric on Trial: The Case for and against Rhetoric in the Law.” Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, February 2004.

“The Meaning of Mantras.” Semiotix Café, Toronto, December 2003.

“Explaining Mantras.” Faculty Colloquium, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, November 2003.

“Bentham’s Fictions: Canon and Idolatry in the Genealogy of Law.” Toronto Legal History Seminar, University of Toronto Law School, October 2003.

Respondent to Martha Minow, Engaging Cultural Differences. Brauer Seminar, University of Chicago Divinity School, May 2003.

“Legal Fictions: Canon, Idolatry, and Rhetoric in the Genealogy of Law.” Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College, November 2002.

“An Emic Pragmatics of Mantra, Part Two: Diagrams of Creation.” History of Religions Workshop, University of Chicago Divinity School, May 2001.

“What Makes a Mantra Effective?” Asiatic Society, Calcutta, India, May 2000.

“Verbal Icons: A Comparative Semiotic Analysis of Mantra.” Center for Advanced Research in the Humanities, Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 1998.

Panelist, Conference on the Future of the History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School, November 1996.