RELIGION AND ETHICS OF VIOLENCE
While most people will agree that physical harm against another human being is an abhorrent act in most of its forms (but perhaps not in all of its forms), it remains fundamental that most societies throughout history have detested particular acts of violence while glorifying others, although representations of violence, and the meanings ascribed to those representations, may have changed over time with different media. Hence, an interdisciplinary model is needed that can show the representations of violence as a result of human agency that unfolds throughout history and in different cultures.
Most religions and philosophical schools in world history have included strong admonitions against the exorcise of violence, but violent entrepreneurs – including religious leaders of otherwise peaceful religions – have had little trouble using ethics or religion to legitimize or even encourage certain acts of extreme violence – from jihadism, terrorism, and ethno-nationalisms to the Inquisition, genocides, slavery, and conquests both in the past and today. Collective violence always calls for a certain degree of legitimization and righteous ideology, perhaps most famously seen in the concept of Just War. Even the most atrocious acts of violence have thus been committed with at least a nominal claim of being “for a greater good,” or alternatively, a “lesser evil.”
The purpose of the seminar is to create a dialogue between scholars from different disciplines and areas about cross-cultural and culture-specific ideas of “ethical” and “appropriate violence.” Through the seminar we hope to explore possibilities of future collaborations across disciplines for the study of the relations between ethics and violence.
Keynote speakers will be:
William Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University and author of The Myth of Religious Violence.
Jimmy Yu, Sheng Yen Associate Professor of Chinese Buddhism at Florida State University and author of Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700.
Possible topics to be explored (not exhaustive list):
Religiously motivated/legitimated warfare
Ethics of everyday structural violence
Narratives of 'good' and 'bad' violence
Violence in gaming: ethics of PC violence
Mediation of violence