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CLAS hosts 'Holy Sites & Holy War' symposium

March 02, 2009

The relationship between holy sites, religion, political conflict, and violence has become a point of great interest and even urgency in scholarship and in the popular press alike. Much of the focus has been on the role of holy sites as catalysts to violent conflict.

"Holy Sites & Holy War in the Middle East," a research symposium March 2-3, at ASU, brings together scholars working on disparate aspects of holiness and conflict in the Middle East. The event, hosted by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, seeks to combine such a focus with an attentiveness to the construction of often competing sacralities under situations of conflict, and the complexities involved in delineating the religious and the secular.

Together, we will seek a deeper understanding of the relationship between religion and violent conflict as they intertwine with the construction of national identities and modern religiosities, paving the way ultimately to new insights into the roles played by processes of secularization and sacralization in shaping the modern itself.

The event is sponsored by the Jess Schwartz Memorial Professorship of Jewish Studies and the Institute for Humanities Research, with support from the Irivng and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism, the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.

To view the complete program of the symposium, go to