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Talks and Other Events


April 21-22 Graduate Gateway Conference: Humor and Happiness

Aprll 24 -  Women in Philosophy Lunch, Vicia restaurant, noom.

April 27 - Department Colloquium: Paola Ferruta (Paris-Sorbonne U) 3:30 – 5 pm, Clark 214

Title: Secularism and Secular Judaism in Trieste: Beginnings and Historical Context (18th – 19th Century)

Abstract: The paper explores the historical preconditions and beginnings of secular traditions, in particular secular Judaism, in Trieste at the end of the 18th and in the 19th century. It is a question of identifying when and why secularism developed as a cultural and religious trend and how different forms of secularism took shape in Trieste during the period considered. Secularism was facilitated in Trieste by the lack of influence of the episcopate. Limiting the ecclesiastical power was a political choice: the Habsburgs aimed at favouring religious and confessional pluralism and thus the expansion of the various religious communities in the port of the Austrian Empire. The episcopal seat remained vacant for relatively long periods and this is also an expression of this political program. The paper focuses on multiple conversions, on the return to the religion of the fathers – first abandoned, on the even sporadic explorations of “other” religions by Jews and by believers of different confessions. Is secularism in some way related to the waves of baptisms to Christianity, increased since 1782, and to returns to Judaism after 1868? The thesis of this paper is that the many transitions from one religion to another, a phenomenon that in Trieste not only touched Judaism, but also the numerous religious confessions present in the city, are a symptom of the detachment from the community, from the sense of belonging to it, and a clear sign that religion became a personal choice, a “heretical imperative”. That came about in the 1840s and women had a fundamental role in this changed attitude towards religion, they feminized secularism more than religion. Such dynamic is interrelated to the general detachment from religion that characterized Trieste during the 19th century. This thesis is linked to David N. Meyer’s latest publications: following Talal Asad, he confirms that secularism and religion are inextricably linked. Moreover, since the 18th century, the haskalah – and later criticism about it, at least since the 1820s, have contributed to shaping Jewish secularism in Trieste. It was a gendered phenomenon: men permeated these new intellectual and religious interests in the Jewish world. 

May 3 - Nuclear waste in St. Louis, 12:45 - 2:45 pm, Bellerive Hall Chapel

UMSL’s Women in Philosophy Group presents: Local activists and Just Moms STL founders Dawn Chapman & Karen Nickel



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