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Bogitsh Lecture with Paul Lim, 'Reformation, Race, and Rights: An Underexplored Narrative of Modernity'

Thursday, February 22, 2018,

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  • Location: Vanderbilt Divinity School • 411 21st Avenue South • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: Reading Room

Vanderbilt University Divinity School announces the 2018 Mafoi Carlisle Bogitsh Lecture

to be delivered by

Paul Lim

Paul C.H. Lim

Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
Associate Professor of History, College of Arts & Science
Associate Faculty of Religious Studies, College of Arts & Science
Associate Faculty of Asian Studies, College of Arts & Science

February 22, 2018
4:00 p.m.
Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room 

Reformation, Race, and Rights: An Underexplored Narrative of Modernity

How does one evaluate the significance of the Reformations - of Catholic and Protestant - in this 501st commemorative year?  Whereas much of current scholarship has tended to focus on the theological breakthroughs of Martin Luther, various cultural significations of late medieval Catholicism and its discontent, or increasing socio-political fissures that inexorably proved to be the harbingers for the Reformation, in this talk, Paul Lim shows that the emerging concerns of human rights and racial taxonomies ought to figure more significantly in the way one thinks about the Reformation past, as well as post-Reformation present in which issues of race and rights are often considered without due attention to the way these very same issues were imagined and articulated.  

By looking at a sixteenth-century Spanish Catholic as well as a seventeenth-century English Protestant whose identities provide an intriguing mixture of "hero-as-complicit-participants" in the emerging colonial empires of Spain and England, this lecture shows the complexity of the narratives regarding the birth of modernity: how less-than-inevitable such things indeed were.  

This lecture will be of interest not merely to those who care about historiographies of early modern religious reform in the age of Empire, but also for those who wish to learn from the way such efforts to racialize and marginalize certain groups of human beings were resisted and shalom for all sought.