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Reza Aslan examines the crisis of identity in America

An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity, and the Future of America

Lecture video

We are pleased to begin our year-long inquiry into the theme, Humanities, this fall with a lecture by best-selling author, public intellectual, scholar of religions, producer, and television host, Reza Aslan. Aslan will deliver a lecture titled “An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity, and the Future of America” on Tuesday, October 18th at 7:30 p.m. in 156 Straub Hall.

Through the lens of his own experience—his family fled Iran during the Revolution in 1979 and settled in the U.S. when Reza was seven—and the conflicts he faced as an immigrant growing up, Aslan will examine the crisis of identity that is currently gripping the U.S., and suggest some possible ways in which we should think differently about race, religion, and identity in order to abolish the hatred and discrimination that has led to this crisis. As Aslan points out, America has, from the beginning, been a diverse nation, built on immigration and ethnic diversity.

Reza Aslan is the author of the international bestsellers No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (2005), and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (2013). He is also the author of Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization (paperback edition, 2010), in addition to being the editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities. His next book, The Story of God, will be published by Random House (release date TBA). He is a contributing editor to The Daily Beast, and he also has written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Nation, Slate, and The Christian Science Monitor.

In addition to his dedication to the written word (he is currently a professor of Creative Writing at UC-Riverside), Aslan believes in the power of other forms of media to educate and shape perceptions. He is a television producer and the founder, President, and CEO of Aslan Media Inc. which runs BoomGen Studios, a media company focused on providing alternative coverage of the Middle East and its diaspora communities. In addition, he is executive producer of a new ABC TV drama, Of Kings and Prophets, a dramatic retelling of the biblical story of King David, from shepherd to king and prophet. He is also the host of a new CNN spiritual adventure series titled “Believer” (set to debut in 2017), which follows Aslan as he immerses himself in various forms of worship, ritual, and rites of passage found in religious traditions from around the world. Aslan is a frequent guest on television and radio programs.

Aslan holds a BA in religious studies from Santa Clara University; a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School; a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in the sociology of religions from UC Santa Barbara.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book sale and signing. It will be live-streamed at: Seating is limited to 500; no tickets or reservations. Doors will open at 7 p.m. For more information or for disability accommodations (which must be made by Oct. 11th) please call (541) 346-3934 or


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