Invitation for Prof. Adam B. Seligman's lecture
The Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Social Sciences and the Institue of Sociology invite you for Prof. Adam B. Seligman's (Boston University) lecture.
The title of the lecture:
Ritual and Sincerity: Certitude and the Other
Date: 2010. the 24th of june, 3 p.m.
Location: ELTE Lágymányosi Campus, North building (Északi tömb)
1117. Pázmány Péter sétány 1/a,
room 100. B (ground floor)
The lecture is open for everyone.
Ritual and Sincerity : Certitude and the Other
A basic distinction between tradition and modernity pervades both the scholarly community and commonsensical readings of world history. Such understandings typically include the claim that traditional societies are governed by ritual, which they read as the largely unquestioned external norms, customs, and forms of authority that regulate individual lives. In contrast, modern societies are seen as valuing individual autonomy, such that norms, customs, and authority are only accepted through the conscious choice of the rational individual. I will argue today that almost every aspect of this framework is wrong. It is based upon a misunderstanding of ritual, a misunderstanding of earlier societies, and a misunderstanding of our current situation.
In its stead I will outline an understanding of ritual and of sincerity as two ideal-typical modes of human action. I will spend a good deal more time dealing with the dangers of what I term the sincere model of human activity because it is so strongly counterintuitive to the way we usually understand the world, the moral imperatives of action and the framing of our inter-subjective universe. I will however begin with some brief remarks on ritual- not as a discrete realm of human endeavor, usually identified with „religious” ritual (though inclusive of religious ritual) but rather as a particular modality of action that is essential to the constitution of both social and individual selves and without which a shared world would not be possible.
Adam B. Seligman is Professor of Religion at Boston University and Research Associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs there. He has lived and taught at universities in the USA, in Israel and in Hungary where he was Fulbright Fellow. Other appointments include; Adjunct Professor of Law at Cardozo Law School and Visiting Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He lived close to twenty years in Israel where he was a member of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the early 1970’s.
His books include The Idea of Civil Society (The Free Press, 1992), Inner-worldly Individualism (Transaction Press, 1994), The Problem of Trust (Princeton University Press, 1997), Modernity’s Wager: Authority, the Self and Transcendence (Princeton University Press, 2000) with Mark Lichbach Market and Community (Penn State University Press, 2000), Modest Claims, Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition (Notre Dame University Press, 2004) and with Weller, Puet and Simon, Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (Oxford University Press, 2008). His work has been translated into over a dozen languages.
He is Director of the International Summer School on Religion and Public Life which leads seminars every year on contested aspects of religion and the public square in different parts of the world. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.