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Dartmouth Gunning Lecture: "Lived Islam: Colloquial Religion in a Cosmopolitan Tradition"

Does the concept of a "religion" have any real reference point? From WC Smith to Talal Asad, scholars have pointed out that the term arises in the context of the separation of the regime of truth into two separate spheres: the private and subjective (religious) and the public and powerful (science; politics). This lecture asserts that regardless of genealogy, the term remains a useful one, properly understood and applied. The primary error associated with the idea of  "a religion" has been essentialism. The problem therefore is how to recognize the dynamism and variety of religious traditions while still recognizing that they remain a site of identity and solidarity for those who adhere to them.