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‘Sacred Violence, Sacred Peace’: Religion in an Age of Conflict - Lecture

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The Stripe Auditorium, King Alfred Campus

The University of Winchester

Sparkford Road

Winchester

SO22 4NR

United Kingdom

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‘Sacred Violence, Sacred Peace’: Religion in an Age of Conflict.

Inaugural Lecture by Anna King, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Anthropology.

Following 9/11 and the rise of Islamist movements such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, much has been written on the relationship between violence and religious militancy. Every day the news media report human suffering and atrocities in countries as diverse as Syria, Nigeria (Boko Haram), Thailand and Israel/Palestine. Religious zeal can motivate, inflame and legitimise violence, but also heal wounds, comfort victims and build bridges. International organisations, governments and policymakers, who have conventionally seen religion as contributing to violence, are increasingly recognising the role of religious peacebuilders as initiators, activists and catalysts. Spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu influence the global community towards ever greater commitment to human rights, while faith-based organisations offer local knowledge and moral authority, transnational religious networks and holistic approaches to reconciliation. Drawing on first-hand experience in (post-)conflict areas, Anna will evaluate the impact of University of Winchester collaborative projects that bring together religious leaders, politicians, academics, civil society organisations and both victims and perpetrators of violence, as part of ongoing peace processes. Can ‘religious’ concepts of reconciliation and restorative justice support and/or challenge international liberal peacebuilding policies based on economic development, retributive justice and human rights?

Anna has an interdisciplinary background in history, social anthropology, religious studies and education. She has a first degree in history from King’s College, London, and MPhil, BLitt and DPhil from the University of Oxford in Social Anthropology. Before coming to Winchester in 1992 she was Director of the University of Cambridge’s Multicultural/Antiracist Research Project, and lecturer in Religious Studies, Department of Education, Cambridge. She joined the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Winchester in 1992, teaching (principally) Indian Religions, Ethics and Religion, and Philosophy of Religion, before becoming a member of the University’s Centre for Religion, Reconciliation and Peace in 2011. For her doctorate, Anna spent two years living in a sacred pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Ganges with pilgrimage priests, sadhus and ashramites. She has since then undertaken shorter periods of ethnographic fieldwork in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal and Myanmar. Her present research explores the resources and limitations of religious traditions in projects involving restorative justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding. Anna is the contributing editor of several books, the author of numerous articles, anthropological consultant to two ethnographic films and founder-editor of the international journal Religions of South Asia (RoSA).


Given by newly appointed professors, inaugural lectures provide a platform for them to inform academic colleagues, University staff, students and the wider community of their current and future research.


Light refreshments served from 6pm for 6:30pm start.

Inaugural lectures are free and open to all but booking is required.

To reserve your place, please visit: www.winchester.ac.uk/King.

Alternatively, you are welcome to email: public.lectures@winchester.ac.uk, or phone: 01962 827578

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Date and Time

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The Stripe Auditorium, King Alfred Campus

The University of Winchester

Sparkford Road

Winchester

SO22 4NR

United Kingdom

View Map

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