Nahshon Perez, associate professor in Political Science at Bar-Ilan University, discusses his new book, Governing the Sacred: Political Toleration in Five Contested Sacred Sites (Oxford University Press, 2020). The book, co-authored with Yuval Jobani, blends politics and history in an examination of holy places world-wide, including the Western Wall (Jerusalem), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem), and the Temple Mount/Haram esh-Sharif (Jerusalem).
Monday, November 23, 2020
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Pacific Time)
Professor Dov Waxman, director of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, will moderate the discussion and lead audience Q&A.
Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion, Center for Near Eastern Studies, and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.
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About the Book
Holy sites are often at the center of intense contestation between different groups regarding a wide variety of issues, including ownership, access, usage rights, permissible religious conduct, and many others. They are often the source of intractable long-standing conflicts and extreme violence.
Nahshon Perez, co-author of Governing the Sacred: Political Toleration in Five Contested Sacred Sites (Oxford University Press, 2020), profiles five sites in the book, including important religious sites in Jerusalem to Jews, Muslims and Christians: the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Temple Mount/Haram esh-Sharif. The book also profiles Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming and Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi in Uttar-Pradesh, India.
"Contested sacred sites have won very little, if any, attention in the literature on toleration," according to the book. "This blind spot is highly remarkable given that contested sacred sites have historically been, and continue to be, at the heart of urgent religious political and social challenges."
The book attempts to fill the blind spot, telling the fascinating stories of these high-profile contested sites. They develop and critically explore five different models of governing such sites: "non-interference," "separation and division," "preference," "status-quo," and "closure." Each model relies on different sets of considerations; central among them are trade-offs between religious liberty and social order.
About the Speaker
Nahshon Perez is an associate professor in the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University. His fields of research include toleration, pluralism, religion-state relations, and the rectification of past wrongs. After completing his Ph.D. in political science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he was a post-doctoral fellow and visiting assistant professor at the Research Centre on Ethics at Université de Montréal (CREUM), University Catholic of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium (Hoover fellowship), UCLA and Boston University. He joined the Political Studies Department at Bar Ilan in 2012, and in that year also won the prestigious European Union Marie Curie Re Integration research grant (2012-2016). He has published many articles in peer reviewed journals (including the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, CRISPP and others) on various problems of toleration and pluralism, and on issues of intergenerational justice. Dr. Perez is the author of several books, including Governing the Sacred: Political Toleration in Five Contested Sacred Sites (with Yuval Jobani) and Women of the Wall: Navigating Religion in Sacred Sites, also co-authored with Jobani (Oxford, 2017).
Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for the Study of Religion, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures