About the event

In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the launching of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther, this conference brings together a distinguished group of scholars to discuss the meaning of this world-historical event, as well as its legacy. In particular, the participants will discuss what impact—intentional or unintentional—the Reformation has had on our modern notions of human rights.


Introductions by Sarah Covington, Professor of History at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY and John Torpey, Presidential Professor, PhD Programs in Sociology and History at The Graduate Center, CUNY

10.30am Welcome

Joy Connolly, Provost, The Graduate Center, CUNY

10.45-11.30am "Luther and Modern Values" Christine Helmer, Professor of Religion, Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Northwestern University

11.30-12.15pm "Rights, Resistance and Revolution in Early Modern Calvinism" John Witte, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law; McDonald Distinguished Professor; and Director, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

12.15-1.00pm "Is Religious Freedom A Protestant Invention?" Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, Postdoctoral fellow for the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion and managing editor of the Immanent Frame

2.30-3.15pm " From Unintended to Reinvented: The Reformation and Human Rights" Samuel Moyn, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History at Harvard University

3.15-4:00pm "Protestantism and Jewish Emancipation in Early Modern Europe" David Sorkin, Lucy G. Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History, Yale University

4-4.45pm "The Protestant Reformation and Islam" Anna Akasoy, Professor of History, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

5-5.45pm "The Protestant Causes of the American Revolution Revisited" Jonathan Sassi, Professor of History, College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

5.45-6.30pm "American Protestantism goes Global" David Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor Emeritus of History, UC Berkeley

Closing Remarks

Helena Rosenblatt, Professor and Executive Officer, PhD Programs in History and French, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Cosponsored by the the Committee for the Study of Religion, the PhD Program in History, Advanced Research Collaborative, The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and GC Public Programs.