Vicki Spencer | Toleration in Comparative Perspective: After Christchurch

Panel Discussion | April 16 | 5-7 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 Vicki A. Spencer, Assoc. Professor of Political Theory at the University of Otago, New Zealand

 Christopher Ocker, Professor of Church History, GTU; Alexander von Rospatt, Professor for Buddhist and South Asian Studies, and Director of the Group in Buddhist Studies, UC Berkeley; Aaron Grizzell, Executive Director, Nor Cal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation; Munis D. Faruqui, Chair, Institute for South Asia Studies, Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley; Dan Blanton, Associate Professor of English, UC Berkeley

 Purushottama Bilimoria, Distinguished Teaching & Research Fellow, GTU

 Institute for South Asia Studies, Program in Critical Theory, Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, GTU

The idea that toleration is a uniquely modern Western concept based on liberal foundations has been increasingly challenged in recent times. The authors in Toleration in Comparative Perspective test the veracity of this assumption by examining approaches to cultural and religious diversity in various intellectual traditions in Asia and the West.

Toleration in modern Western thought is understood as principled non-interference in the practices and beliefs of others that one disapproves of or, at least, dislikes. While this concept is not always easily translated into other traditions, the seminar will illuminate various intersections between Western and non-Western traditions by exploring points of commonality and difference.

What appears to emerge is a family of resemblances in approaches to religious and cultural diversity which bear a remarkable similarity to the Western concept, while others provide models for positive engagement with diversity in both Asia and the West.

Speaker Bio
Vicki Spencer is Assoc. Professor of Political Theory at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her research encompasses seventeenth and eighteenth-century European thought and contemporary political theory with a focus on culture, identity and the concepts of recognition and toleration. She is the author of Herder’s Political Thought: A Study of Language, Culture, and Community (University of Toronto Press, 2012), and the co-editor of Visions of Peace: Asia and the West with Takashi Shogimen (Ashgate, 2014), Disclosures with Paul Corcoran (Ashgate, 2000), and a special edition of The Australian Journal of Politics and History: Rethinking Nationalism. Her most recent book is a collected edition, Toleration in Comparative Perspective (Lexington, 2017), which disrupts the assumption in Western political discourse that toleration is a uniquely Western idea by examining comparable ideas in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism.

Read more about Prof. Spencer at her faculty webpage HERE

The South Asia Art Initiative, inaugurated in Spring 2018, is the culmination of a comprehensive art program, built over the past several years, that promoted conversation around the visual cultures of South Asia through talks, conferences, and exhibitions. The goal of the Initiative is to move onto the next level with local, national, and international collaborations that combine creative energies with insights drawn from scholarly research. To read more about the Initiative or to help support its various fundraising goals, please click HERE

Event made possible with the support of the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies

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Please note that parking is not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.

The event is FREE and OPEN to the public., 510-642-3608