#3 Ron Hassner on Sacred Spaces and Holy Conflict
Date: September 2nd, 2018

Academia is a world that can be filled with intense jealousies and envy, wherein one professor is always concerned why the work of another professor is more cited than their own.  We all suffer from that sin, whether we admit it or not.  However, Dr. Ron Hassner (UC-Berkeley) is probably the one scholar in my field of religion and politics whose work I have the highest respect for and think his writing should be getting as much attention as possible.  We featured Prof. Hassner on our show three times (which is not enough) and our fist meeting happened when he was invited up (albeit not by me) to the University of Washington to give a talk on his ongoing research about religion in the military.  I took the opportunity to interview him in-person, which increased the audio quality of the podcast.   Not only was I amazed with Ron’s precise scholarship, but he is one of the most relaxed guests I’ve had on the show and he understands how to make things “visual” for the audience as well as keeping a nice sense of humor even when the topic can be dark.  (Bradley Wright and Jeremy Lott were the two other guests who excelled at this.)  After this interview, I told Ron that he was well within the framework of the “economics of religion” school, to which he denied, but his conceptualization and analysis of “sacred goods” (and his brilliant use of Solomon’s judgement to illustrate this) puts him squarely within our “thick rationality camp.”  He probably will still deny this, but that is one area where he is wrong (he went to Stanford, after all, a hotbed of rational institutionalism!).  It was also from our chance meeting and these interviews that we were able to get one of his graduate students, Jason Klocek, connected with Institute for Religion, Economics, and Society down at Chapman University (the home of Iannaccone, Rubin, Bader, and Molle).  My only complaint with respect to Prof. Hassner is that he hasn’t invited me down to Cal to give a talk (in my effort to present at every Pac-12 university before I retire).*  C’mon, Ron!

Original Podcast Link.


Ron Hassner on Religion in the Military.

Ron Hassner on Religion on the Battlefield.

Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics.

Sean Everton on Religion and Dark Networks.

Matthew Isaacs on Religion and Ethnic Rebellion.

Jason Klocek on Religious Conflict and Repression.


*Tony Gill, never averse to self-promotion, is available for various academic talks and has over a dozen possible topics he could present on.  Fell free to contact him.

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