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Church and State 1993 This project, coordinated by Gareth Stedman Jones, is concerned with the historical and
comparative perspectives on fundamentalist religious groups which have posed political
problems in many different kinds of states.
Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, University of London) and Ulinka Rublack (St John’s College,
Oxford) organised a study-day, which was held on 1 April 2003 in St John’s College,
Cambridge. The meeting, Tasks and Themes in the Study of Late Medieval and Early
Modern Religion was the second in a series of colloquia with the aim of bringing together
senior academics and research students to discuss the themes animating research in the field
of pre-modern popular religion. Papers were given by Judith Pollmann (Somerville College,
Oxford) on The making of Catholic militants in sixteenth-century France and the
Netherlands; Francisco Bethencourt (Gulbenkian Foundation, Paris) on Religion and ethnicity
in southern Europe: the policies of the Catholic Church concerning Jewish, Muslim, Native
American and African communities in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; and Peter
Marshall (Warwick) on The return of Old Mother Leakey: ghosts and stories in early modern
Britain and Ireland. Steve Hindle (Warwick University) introduced and chaired the final
discussion session which sought to identify themes in the papers which might inform future
study of this period. The group agreed that the papers had raised three issues in particular: the
importance of political context when investigating belief and the dangers of generalizing even
within a single political polity; the advantages of examining religion as a body of believers
rather than a set of beliefs; and the insights to be gained by exploring practices of cultural
exchange in multi-ethnic societies.
On 6 August 2002, a meeting was held in King’s College, Cambridge on Violence, History
and the State: Gujarat 2002. Organised by Ananya Kabir (Centre for History and
Economics), the meeting brought together historians and political scientists with an interest in
South Asia. The papers presented were The second Gujarat catastrophe by Upendra Baxi
(Delhi University); State and religion in Gujarat: some readings by Kaushik Bhaumik (St
Anthony’s College, Oxford) and Samira Sheikh (Wolfson College, Oxford); The political
culture of authoritarianism and the public face of Hindu nationalism by Parita Mukta
(Warwick University); and Whither Indian democracy? Some inferences from the Gujarat
riots by Ornit Shani (St John’s College, Cambridge). Presentations were also made by Nalini
Delvoye (École Pratiques des Hautes Études, Paris) on Z.A. Desai: a tribute and by Amartya
Sen (Trinity College, Cambridge) on Implications of Gujarat 2002.
A two-day colloquium was held in Clare College, Cambridge on 22-23 July 2002. The
colloquium, Religion and the State II: Toleration in Europe before the Enlightenment was
organised by Ira Katznelson (Columbia University) and Miri Rubin, and was the second of
three. There were a number of chaired discussions around analytical surveys by members of
the group. Two sessions concentrated on close readings and interpretation of seminal texts:
Alfonso de Cartegena’s Latin tract Defensorium Christianae Unitatis, and Locke’s Letter
Concerning Toleration. There were also discussions on Toleration in early modern Europe;
concepts and approaches for understanding toleration; and an exploration of possible themes
for future meetings. Participants included Lior Barshack (The Interdisciplinary Center,
Herzliya, Israel), Mike Braddick (University of Sheffield), Chris Clark (St Catharine’s
College, Cambridge), Jan Gilbert (Clare Hall, Cambridge), Kate Jansen (The Catholic
University of America, Washington, DC), Ira Katznelson, Sara Lipton (SUNY - Stony
Brook), David Nirenberg (Johns Hopkins University), Miri Rubin, Marc Saperstein (George
Washington University), Shulamith Shahar (Tel Aviv University), Gareth Stedman Jones, Lee
Wandel (University of Wisconsin), David Wasserstein (Tel Aviv University), and David
Wootton (Queen Mary, University of London).
A one-day workshop was organised by Miri Rubin and Ulinka Rublack on New Directions in
the Study of Medieval and Early Modern Religion. Doctoral students from Cambridge and
London were invited to join senior scholars to hear papers by Professor Lee Wandel, Eamon
Duffy (Magdalene College, Cambridge), and by Eric Midlefort (Open University of Virginia),
and participate in a discussion session at the end of the day. The meeting took place on 26
March 2002, in the Wordsworth Room, at St John’s College, Cambridge.
On 23-24 July 2001, a two-day meeting on Religion and State - Jews in Europe before the
Enlightenment organised by Miri Rubin and Ira Katznelson was held in King’s College,
Cambridge. The meeting was the first in this series of colloquia exploring contemporary
problems of the relationship between church and state in historical perspective and brought
together a small number of scholars to probe the issues and possibilities for future
collaboration. Participants included Valentine Daniel (Columbia University), Michael Heyd
(Hebrew University), Ira Katznelson, David Nirenberg, Lee Palmer Wandel, Ronnie Po-chia
Hsia (New York University), Marc Saperstein, Shulamith Shahar, Gareth Stedman Jones and
Richard Tuck (Harvard). The meeting addressed the experiences of Jewish communities in
medieval and early modern Europe. This is a body of historical knowledge which hitherto has
been only rarely considered by ‘general’ historians, and has had an even smaller impact on
the thinking of sociologists and political scientists who otherwise frequently turn to the past
for inspiration and critique of their theories and models concerning issues of ethnic, religious
and racial difference and conflict. Europe's Jews offer a unique focus for the consideration of
those problems which still form the centre of reflection for social scientists and historians the operations of the state as promoter or controller of violence, the possibilities of coexistence between differing religious and ethnic groups, the role of economic activity in
forging a public sphere of toleration, and the necessity of violence in the making of
communal, regional and national identities.
In Michaelmas 1997, Gareth Stedman Jones gave a series of lectures entitled Before God
Died: Enlightenment, Revolution and the Genesis of the Socialist Utopia at Oxford
University. The following lectures were presented: 1789-1989: A new history of the rise and
fall of the socialist utopia; How to End the Revolution?: dechristianisation, the search for a
new ‘spiritual power’ and the genesis of ‘socialism’ in France; Millennium and
Enlightenment: Robert Owen’s ‘Second Coming of the Truth’; Science and Providence: the
cosmology of socialism from Fourier to Engels; and The Invention of Socialist Politics: the
strange marriage of ‘spiritual power’ and the ancient republicanism. The lectures will be
published in an edited volume.
In April 1994, the Centre held a major conference on The Work of Jacques Le Goff and the
Challenges of Medieval History. The colloquium was organised by Miri Rubin (Pembroke
College, Oxford) and was held at King’s College, Cambridge. There were nine sessions on:
Money, exchange and the culture of reason; Religion, heterodoxy and popular culture; Le
Goff, annales and national historical traditions; Learning and the challenge of religious
perfection; Royalty and its mystique; The body: Human and politic; Le Goff and medieval
history in central and eastern Europe; and Le Goff, annales and the future. Participants
included David Abulafia (Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge), Alain Boureau (École des
Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris), Peter Burke (Emmanuel College,
Cambridge), Jacques Le Goff (EHESS), Peter Jones (King’s College, Cambridge), Peter
Mathias (Downing College, Cambridge), Emma Rothschild and Jean-Claude Schmitt
(EHESS). Most papers delivered at the conference were published by Bodell Press in 1997 as
a book of the same title, edited by Miri Rubin.
In July 1993, Miri Rubin and David Feldman (University of Bristol) organised a meeting on
Anti-Semitism Through History, held in King’s College, Cambridge. The aim of the meeting
was to promote debate on the history of anti-Semitism and on different theoretical
perspectives on the phenomenon. In particular, the meeting focused on the problem of
continuities and discontinuities in the history of anti-Semitism. The papers presented were by
Zygmunt Bauman (University of Leeds) on Theories of anti-semitism, Pierre Birnbaum
(Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Paris) on Jews and the building of the nation state, Martin
Goodman (Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies) on Hostility to religion or race?
Pagan and Christian anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire, Bob Moore (University of
Sheffield) on The birth of European anti-semitism, Jonathan Steinberg (Trinity Hall,
Cambridge) on Nazi genocide, popular anti-semitism and the attack on the Soviet Union
1941, and Deborah Hertz (State University of New York) on Left anti-semitism in Berlin,
1814-1819. David Feldman and Miri Rubin produced a report on the meeting.