Religion on the Battlefield: How Religious Practices Shape Strategic Decisions in Modern Wars
Professor Ron Hassner, UC Berkeley
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 10383
Religion, State & Society Lecture Series, co-sponsored by UCLA Center for the Study of Religion
How do sacred time, sacred space, and sacred authority affect modern combat between professional military forces? Professor Hassner argues that these sacred phenomena act as both constraints and motivators on the planning and execution of military operations by shaping the organizational culture of a military as well as its tactical environment. On the one hand, regard for the sacred and a concern over desecration, be it in relation to the combatants’ own religious proclivities or those of third parties, introduces an element of caution into the execution of operations. At other times, the symbolic force inherent in these holy days, sites, and leaders motivates troops. At yet other instances, combatants exploit the vulnerabilities that arise from their opponents’ reverence for sacred times, shrines, or persons. Professor Hassner illustrates these processes with example from recent wars, including the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
About the Speaker
Ron E. Hassner is Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley. His research revolves around symbolic and emotive aspects of international security with particular attention to religious violence, Middle Eastern politics and territorial disputes. His publications have focused on the role of perceptions in entrenching international disputes, the causes and characteristics of conflicts over sacred places, the characteristics of political-religious leadership and political-religious mobilization and the role of national symbols in conflict.
Pay-per-space parking is available in UCLA Structure 3, near the corner of Hilgard and Wyton (turn right onto Wyton and follow the street until you see signs for Lot 3 Pay-per-space).
Cost: Free and open to the public