The second season of the lecture series Crossroads: Ideas for a New Century will begin on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2:00 p.m. at Orcas Center with a presentation by author Reza Aslan entitled God and Globalization.
As an Iranian-born writer and scholar of religions, Aslan is especially well situated to assess the causes and possible consequences of this expansion of religious identity. His first book, “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam,” painted a portrait of the first Muslim community as a radical experiment in religious pluralism and social egalitarianism, and traced Islam’s subsequent development to the present day. It has been translated into half a dozen languages, was short-listed for the Guardian (UK) First Book Award, and was nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. A second book, “How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We’re Losing the War on Terror” will be published by Random House in April 2009.
Aslan is currently a Research Associate at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy, and has become a well-known and highly regarded commentator. In addition to appearing regularly on NPR’s Marketplace and serving as Middle East Analyst for CBS News, he has written for many national and international print publications, and has appeared on Meet the Press, Hardball, The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, Anderson Cooper, and Nightline.
Aslan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology of Religions at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Crossroads series presents thoughtful, provocative speakers who help the Orcas community think about timely issues, both local and global. The fall schedule also includes lectures on Oct. 3, when David Domke will address “Religious Politics in America: Why the 2008 Presidential Election May Change Everything for Everyone,” and on Nov. 7, when Juliet Stumpf will discuss “Crossing New Borders: Making Sense of the U.S. Immigration Debate through Law, History and Politics.” In each case tickets will be available three weeks before the event. (Regrettably, Louise Richardson, who was also scheduled to speak in October, has had to cancel her visit.)
Crossroads is sponsored by the Friends of the Orcas Island Library in cooperation with Orcas Island Public Library, with generous support from the Sir Francis Bacon Foundation, the Daniel and Margaret Carper Foundation, the Orcas Island Community Foundation, Orcas Center, and individual contributors at the door. Tickets may be obtained at Darvill’s Bookstore and the Orcas Library at no cost. Contributions at the doors to ensure the continuation of the series are greatly appreciated.