Attachment to Place in a World of Nations

October 5, 2023 |  4:00 - 7:00 PM | 2101 Commonwealth Ave (McMullen Museum) | Please Register to Attend

Over the last two centuries, the nation-state has risen to become the dominant territorial unit of governance, law, economy, and culture. So it remains even in today’s globalized order. Yet for much of world history, other modes of structuring political space prevailed, from great dynastic and religious empires to independent cities, tribal confederations, and local communities. Even today, many people across the globe continue to define their identities in relation to other forms of “attachment to place.” How have diverse forms of place-based identity shaped the political world we live in today? And how do they enrich, complicate, or challenge contemporary democratic societies that are built upon the nation-state system?

On October 5th, the Clough Center launches our year-long exploration of “Attachment to Place in a World of Nations” with a four-part colloquium, featuring an exceptional cast of contributors from a diverse array of disciplines. The colloquium begins with an opening keynote address by renowned sociologist of religion Karen Barkey (Bard), who will speak on “The Vicissitudes of ‘Attachment to Place.” It continues with a panel discussion between Charles Maier (Harvard), an international political historian, and Mohammed Hashas, a historian of Islamic thought, who will offer insight into the past and present role of “place” in the politics of Europe and the Middle East. A dialogue with Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Romer (Boston College) follows, on the nature of citizenship and its connection to place. Finally, the colloquium concludes with a keynote address by the eminent political theorist Danielle Allen (Harvard), on democratic citizenship in the contemporary U.S. Clough Center Faculty Affiliates will preside during each session as discussants and moderators. 

This event will be introduced by Jonathan Laurence, Clough Center Director and moderated by Clough Center Faculty Affiliates: Natana Delong-Bas (Theology Department), Paolo Barrozo (BC Law), Chandra Mallampalli, (Clough Center Visting Fellow), and Aziz Rana (BC Law).

Please join us for the major event of the Clough Center’s fall program, and a worthwhile kickoff to our annual theme. 

Schedule and Registration

October 5, 2023 |  4:00-7:00 PM | 2101 Commonwealth Ave (McMullen Museum) | Register Here


Part 1: Religion, Nation, & Empire: Competing Attachments to Place

4:00 - 4:05 PM 

Welcome / Introduction

  • Jonathan Laurence (Clough Center)
4:05 - 4:45 PM

Session 1: Opening Keynote

  • Keynote: Karen Barkey (Bard College): "The Vicissitudes of 'Attachment to Place': Nationalism, Staying and Leaving, and the 'Memory of Loss'”
  • Discussant: Chandra Mallampalli (Boston College, Clough Center)
4:45 - 5:30 PM

Session 2: Panel

  • Featured Speaker: Charles Maier (Harvard University), "Two Forms of Attachment: Territory and Place" 
  • Featured Speaker: Mohammed Hashas (LUISS University), "Islam, Europe, and the West: Narratives around the Mediterranean"
  • Discussant: Natana Delong-Bas (Boston College, Theology)
5:30 - 5:45 PM

Coffee Break

Part 2: Citizenship & Rootedness in Place

5:45 - 6:15 PM 

Session 3: Faculty Dialogue

  • Featured Speaker: Paul Romer (Boston College, Carroll School of Management): “The Prospect of Mass Migration”
  • Discussant:  Paulo Barrozo (Boston College, Law School)
6:15 - 6:45 PM

Session 4: Closing Keynote

  • Keynote: Danielle Allen (Harvard University)
  • Discussant: Aziz Rana (Boston College, Law School)


Karen Barkey

Karen Barkey is the Charles Theodore Kellogg and Bertie K. Hawver Kellogg Chair of Sociology and Religion at Bard College. Her research has been engaged in the comparative and historical study of the state, with special focus on its transformation over time, incorporating elements of state society relations, peasant movement, banditry, and opposition and dissent organized around the state. Much of her work also sits at the crossroads between religion and sociology. She is the author of multiple books, including Empire of Difference, Choreography of Sacred Spaces: State, Religion and Conflict Resolution, Shared Sacred Sites: A Contemporary Pilgrimage, and most recently Negotiating Democracy and Religious Pluralism: India, Pakistan and Turkey. Previously, Prof. Barkey previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity at the Othering and Belonging Institute, and Columbia University, where she was director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life. 

Chandra Mallampalli

Chandra Mallampalli is a historian of modern South Asia with interests in religious pluralism, nationalism, and the secular state. He comes to the Clough Center with an interest in examining challenges facing India’s multi-religious democracy, especially in light of the surging Hindu nationalism and violence against religious minorities.  This fall, he is researching the unfolding conflict in Manipur (northwest India), where conflict over the rights and privileges of tribal communities has assumed religious overtones, resulting in the destruction of churches and other religious structures.  He is the author of four books and many articles, which examine the intersection of religion, law, and society in colonial India. His scholarship and teaching span the fields of modern India, British Empire, World History, and Global Christianity.  His recent book with Oxford University Press (New York), South Asia’s Christians: Between Hindu and Muslim, describes how the lives of Roman Catholics, Syrian Christians , and Protestants have been shaped by centuries of interactions with Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.  

Charles Maier

Charles S. Maier is the Emeritus Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History at Harvard University. He previously served as the director of the Center for European Studies at Harvard and currently co-directs the Weatherhead Initiative in Global History. He has also held a wide variety of visiting appointments and fellowships at universities across the world, including the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, LUISS University of Rome, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and National Endowment for the Humanities. He specializes in European and international history. Among his publications are numerous scholarly articles and the books, most recently Once within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500, as well as Recasting Bourgeois Europe: Stabilization in France, Germany, and Italy in the Decade after World War I, In Search of Stability: Explorations in Historical Political Economy, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity, Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and its Predecessors, and Leviathan 2.0: Inventing Modern Statehood. 

Mohammed Hashas

Mohammed Hashas is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science, LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome, Italy and Senior Research Fellow at FSCIRE Foundation for Religious Studies “Giovanni XXII” in La Pira Research Library in Islamic History and Sciences. He has a Ph.D. in Political Theory from LUISS University of Rome. Previously, Prof. Hashas served as a Research Fellow at Babylon Center for the Study of the Multicultural Society in Tilburg, the Netherlands, at the Center for European Islamic Thought at the University of Copenhagen, and as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, and a Guest Scholar at Leibniz-ZMO Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. 

Natana J. DeLong-Bas

Dr. Natana J. DeLong-Bas is the author of Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know (with John Esposito, 2018), Islam: A Living Faith (2018), and Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad (rev. ed. 2008, translated into Arabic, Russian, and French and named 1 of the top 5 books for understanding Islam by the Wall Street Journal), among other books. She is editor of Islam, Revival & Reform: Redefining Tradition for the Twenty-First Century (2022) and The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Reform (forthcoming 2023), and Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Bibliographies Online – Islamic Studies. Past President of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies (ACSIS), she is an expert on Islam and Christianity, comparative scripture (Bible and Qur’an), women and gender, Islamic law, the environment, extremism, and the Arabian Gulf countries. 

Paul Romer

Paul Romer is the Seidner University Professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. He directs the new Center for the Economics of Ideas.  

He was a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the “economics of ideas” that fundamentally differ from the traditional economics of scarce physical objects.  

Prof. Romer has previously taught at NYU, Stanford, Berkeley, University of Chicago, and Rochester. He sold his education technology company, Apila, to Thomson Learning in 2007, where it eventually became Cengage Learning.  

In addition to his teaching contributions, Prof. Romer has also served as the Chief Economist at the World Bank and founded NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, which works to help cities plan for their futures and improve life for their citizens, as well as a city-scale startup called Charter City.  

His public policy contributions include work with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Singapore Independent Academic Advisory Panel on University Policy.  

Currently he serves as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a non-resident scholar at Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, Ontario.

Paulo Barrozo

Paulo Barrozo works on public law and legal theory. He offers new understandings of rights, punishment, cruelty, structural mercy, legal education, distribution, institutionalization, the nature of the political realm, the nature and evolution of law, and the history of legal thought. Before joining Boston College Law School, he was a lecturer in social thought at Harvard University, where he was the first recipient of the Stanley Hoffman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Barrozo received an S.J.D. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in political science from the Rio de Janeiro University Research Institute.  In his pro bono activities, Barrozo advocates for the rights of children and the neurodiverse. His work is available at ssrn and on his website

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Allen Lab for Renovating Democracy at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center. As Director of Harvard’s Emond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, she led a team to develop COVID metrics. She previously co-chaired the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Prof. Allen’s work focuses largely on public policy and public affairs, in addition to her role as a pandemic expert. She has authored several books surrounding issues of justice and democracy, including Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Cuz: An American Tragedy, and, most recently, Justice by Means of Democracy. Through her work, Prof. Allen critiques faults in our current democracy, paving the way for a brighter and freer future. 

Aziz Rana

Aziz Rana is a Provost’s Distinguished Fellow at Boston College and will be the J. Donald Monan, SJ, Chair in Law and Government beginning in 2024. His research and teaching center on American constitutional law and political development, with a particular focus on how shifting notions of race, citizenship, and empire have shaped legal and political identity since the founding. He is the author of The Two Faces of American Freedom (Harvard University Press) and the forthcoming book, The Constitutional Bind: Why a Broken Document Rules America (University of Chicago Press).  Prior to joining the Boston College faculty he was the Richard and Lois Cole Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College and his J.D. from Yale Law School. He also earned a Ph.D. in political science at Harvard, where his dissertation was awarded the university's Charles Sumner Prize.

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