Laney Colloquium in Religion Events

Spring 2017

February 7, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Guest Lecture: "Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Ottoman Middle East"
Heather J. Sharkey
Location TBA

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman sultan issued reforms that seemed to proclaim the social equality of Christians and Jews relative to Muslims as Ottoman subjects.  These reforms ended a practice that Islamic states had followed since the early Islamic era, of identifying non-Muslim subjects as dhimmis: protected but subordinate people, who had to pay a tax called the jizya in recognition of their status. Approaching this subject through the lenses of material and military history, I will examine how Ottoman reforms affected the way Christians, Jews, and Muslims related to each other in the long nineteenth century.  I will argue that the late Ottoman state’s efforts to dismantle some old hierarchies, while preserving others, ultimately heightened tensions along religious lines and set the stage for the twentieth-century Middle East.

Dr. Sharkey is an Associate Professor in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sharkey's talk discusses an aspect of her book, A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East, which is due to appear from Cambridge University Press in March 2017. For more information on Dr. Sharkey's research and publications, visit


March 14, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
“Christian Ethics and American Politics”: A Lunchtime Conversation with Authors
Tim P. Jackson and Ted A. Smith

Location TBA

Timothy Jackson is Professor of Christian Ethics at Candler School of Theology and a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. His 2015 book, Political Agape: Christian Love and Liberal Democracy presents a vision in which love for God and love for one’s neighbors shapes American law and politics.
Ted Smith is Associate Professor of Preaching and Ethics at Candler School of Theology. His book, The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Practice (2007) and Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (2014) provocatively incorporate streams of theological and political thought.


April 6-7
Visit by Angela Zito       
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, NYU

Dr. Zito’s research ranges from the study of ritual in 18th-century China, to Chinese documentary film, to the ways that contemporary Chinese city-dwellers create “new forms of personal value.” Her attention to “bodies in sensory performances” and how materials and media convey those performances unites her diverse academic work. For this and more information on Dr. Zito, visit

Events to include:
Formal presentation on narrative and virtue
Conceptual panel discussion on religion and media
Possible visits to Religion Department and GDR seminars