Dr. Karen Barkey to Deliver 2021 Surjit Singh Lecture

The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to announce that Dr. Karen Barkey, Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, will be presenting the 2021 Surjit Singh Lecture on April 5, 2021 at 12 pm PT.

Dr. Barkey is the director of the Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion, located at Social Science Matrix and the co-director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. She is also one of the curators of the traveling Shared Sacred Sites exhibition. Her most recent work relates to issues of religious diversity and coexistence, with particular research on the question of shared sacred sites.

Her lecture will be entitled "Navigating Topographies of Belonging and Difference: Contemporary Shared Sacred Sites in the Mediterranean."

“In light of the predominant narratives of religious hatreds, conflict, and the decline of religious pluralism throughout the world, the existence of shared sacred sites that bring different religions together act as prescient reminders of the possibilities presented by tolerance,” Dr. Barkey said. “This lecture focuses on shared sacred sites, places that are holy for members of multiple religious groups, and how the participants in these sites mediate, negotiate, and come to accept difference. Drawing upon three summers of ethnographic research, I will examine the stories people tell about belonging to a space, and the stories of sharing that become embedded within the local culture.”

Started in 1991, the annual Surjit Singh Lecture in Comparative Religious Thought and Culture builds upon the GTU’s tradition of ecumenical theological education and dedication to interreligious dialogue and understanding. Each year, the endowed lectureship brings to the GTU a distinguished scholar to address religion and culture from a cross-cultural perspective.

The lecture will take place via Zoom on April 5, 2021, at 12pm PT. RSVP to attend the lecture here.

Learn more about past Singh Lecturers, or view past lectures here.

About Surjit Singh
The late Dr. Surjit Singh was professor emeritus of Christian Philosophy at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was dean of the seminary from 1972 to 1978, and was professor at the GTU from 1962 to 1988. Before arriving in the Bay Area in 1951, Dr. Singh served as a national secretary of the Student Christian Movement of New Zealand, India, Burma and Sri Lanka. He has also served as professor of systematic theology and philosophy of religion at United Theological College, Saharanpur, India. His publications included Prophetic Realism; Preface to Personality; Christology and Personality; Communism, Christianity, Democracy; and A Philosophy of Integral Relation.