Communities and the Individual: Beyond the Liberal-Communitarian Divide

Speakers and Faculty:

Giuliano Amato, Lisa Anderson, Najib George Awad, Albena Azmanova, Seyla Benhabib, Giancarlo Bosetti, Daniele Brombal, Craig Calhoun, Marina Calloni, José Casanova, Alessandro Ferrara, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Volker Kaul, Sudipta Kaviraj, Jonathan Lawrence, Tiziana Lippiello, Chunrong Liu, Stephen Macedo, Avishai Margalit, Toshio Miyake, Angela Moriggi, David Rasmussen, Adam Seligman, Marcella Simoni, Francesca Tarocco, Nadia Urbinati, Ananya Vajpeyi, Michael Walzer.


Giuliano Amato is a Judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy, since September 2013. He served as Secretary of the Treasury in Italy and was the Italian Prime Minister in 1992-93 and in 2000-01. From 2006 to 2008 he served as the Minister of the Interior. He was the vice-chairman of the Convention for the European Constitution. He has chaired the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani and the Center for American Studies in Rome. A Professor of Law in several Italian universities and abroad, he has written books and articles on the economy and public institutions, European antitrust, personal liberties, comparative government, European integration and humanities. He has served as the Chair of Reset DOC’s scientific committee from 2003 to 2013.


Lisa Anderson is a specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Lisa Anderson served as dean of SIPA from 1996 to 2008, and as the James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations at Columbia University. She previously served as chair of the University’s political science department and director of the Middle East Institute. Before joining Columbia, she was assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University. Past president of the Middle East Studies Association and past chair of the board of the Social Science Research Council, Anderson is a former member of the Council of the American Political Science Association and served on the board of the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs. She is member emerita of the board of Human Rights Watch, where she served as co-chair of Human Rights Watch/Middle East, co-chair of the International Advisory Board of the Von Humboldt Foundation, and member of the International Advisory Council of the World Congress for Middle East Studies. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Anderson is the author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003), The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1820-1980 (1986), editor of Transitions to Democracy (1999) and coeditor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (1991).


Najib George Awad (Prof. Dr. Phil; Dr. Theol. Habil): an Arab-American (originally from Syria) Theologian, Religious Scholar, author and poet. He is the Professor of Christian Theology and Eastern Christian Thought and the Director of the PhD Program in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations in Hartford Seminary, Connecticut USA. He had his first PhD from King’s College University of London, UK (2007) and his second Dr. Theol. Habil. from the Philipp University of Marburg, Germany (2014). His monographs in English are, God without Face? On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit (Mohr Siebeck, 2011); And Freedom Became a Public-Square: Political, Sociological and Religious Overviews on the Arab Christians and the Arabic Spring (LIT Verlag, 2012); Persons in Relation: An Essay on the Trinity and Ontology (Fortress Press, 2014); and Orthodoxy in Arabic Terms: A Study of Theodore Abū Qurrah’s Trinitarian and Christological Doctrines in an Islamic Context (De Gruyter, 2015); and Umayyad Christianity: John of Damascus as a Contextual Example of Identity-Formation in Early Islam (Gorgias Press, 2018). He forthcoming monograph is titled, After-Mission, Beyond Evangelicalism: The Indigenous ‘Injīliyyūn’ in the Arab-Muslim Context of Syria-Lebanon, and he is working right now on a research project on Mu’tazilite kalām in the 3rd/9th century Abbasid era.


Albena Azmanova is Associate Professor in Political and Social Thought at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. She teaches courses in democratic theory and political economy. Her writing is dedicated to bringing the critique of political economy (back) into critical social theory. Her research ranges from democratic transition and consolidation to the dynamics of contemporary capitalism and its effect on ideological orientation and electoral mobilization. Among her recent publications are The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment (Columbia University Press, 2012) and Capitalism on the Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis Or Utopia (2019).


Seyla Benhabib is Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University and Director of its Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics and served as the President of Reset DOC’s Scientific Committee. She has been awarded with the Ernst Bloch Prize in Ludwigshafen, one of Germany’s most distinguished philosophical honors. In 2012 she was awarded the Dr. Leopold-Lucas Prize by the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of theology, intellectual history, historical research and philosophy, as well as the commitment to international understanding and tolerance. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University in May 2014. Among her publications: The Claims of culture: Equality and diversity in the Global Era (2002), Politics in Dark Times: Encounters with Hannah Arendt (2010), Dignity in Adversity: Human Rights in Troubled Times, (2011) Toward New Democratic Imaginaries – Istanbul Seminars on Islam, Culture and Politics (ed. with V. Kaul, 2016) and Exile, Statelessness and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin (2018).


Giancarlo Bosetti is the editor-in-chief and one of the founder of Reset DOC and Reset, a cultural magazine he founded in 1993. He was vice-editor-in-chief of the Italian daily L’Unità. He is the editor-in-chief of the web-magazine of He is currently a columnist for the Italian daily La Repubblica and he has been teaching sociology of communication at University La Sapienza, and University Roma Tre. He published La lezione di questo secolo, a book-interview with Karl Popper; Cattiva maestra televisione, (ed.) writings by Karl Popper and others Among his books: Spin. Trucchi e Tele-imbrogli della Politica, Marsilio, 2007; Il fallimento dei laici furiosi (2009); La verità degli altri. La scoperta del pluralismo in dieci storie, Bollati Boringhieri, 2020.


Daniele Brombal is Associate Professor at the Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His research focuses on China’s policy making processes and public participation in the fields of sustainability, environmental protection, and public health. Between 2007 and 2010, he was Research Consultant and Programme Officer at the Directorate General for Development Cooperation – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy (Embassy of Italy in Beijing). He was 2009 Fellow of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA). Between 2012 and 2015, he was visiting fellow of the EU FP-7 Marie Curie IRSES project ‘Global Partners in Contaminated Land Management’ (GLOCOM) at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and Beijing Normal University (BNU). Between July, 2012 and March, 2014 he was Project Manager at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC). From 2013 to 2015, he was Member of the Board of the international NGO Asia Onlus. His works are published on Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Land Use Policy, Journal of Cleaner Production, Health Research Policy and Systems, International Journal for Equity in Health.


Craig Calhoun is an American sociologist, currently University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University. An advocate of using social science to address issues of public concern, he was the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from September 2012 until September 2016, after which he became the first president of the Berggruen Institute.[4] Prior to leading LSE, Calhoun led the Social Science Research Council, and was University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University and Director of NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. With Richard Sennett he co-founded NYLON, an interdisciplinary working seminar for graduate students in New York and London who bring ethnographic and historical research to bear on politics, culture, and society. Calhoun newest book, Degenerations of Democracy (with Charles Taylor and Dilip Gaonkar) will be published by Harvard University Press in 2020. He is the author of nine earlier books including Neither Gods nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China; Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference; Roots of Radicalism and Does Capitalism Have a Future? (with Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Georgi Derluguian, and Michael Mann) 


Marina Calloni is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Milano-Bicocca. In spring 2020 she was Alexander Bodini Fellow in Transitions from Globalism to Nationalism and Populism at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. Since 2007 she is a component of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights (CIDU), based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. From 2007 to 2010 she was member of the management board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (based in Vienna) as representative for Italy and director of the «International Network for Research in Gender». Among her last books: A. Saarinen & M. Calloni (eds.), Women Immigrants as constructers of a New Europe. Gender Experiences and Perspectives in European Trans-regions (2012), Y.Galligan, S.Clavero, M.Calloni, Gender Politics and Democracy in Post-socialist Europe (2008). Other publications include: Women, Minorities, Populism in A. Vajpeyi, V. Kaul (eds.), Minorities and Populism (2019); Southern Europe: Gender Studies and Institutions in the Euro-Mediterranean Region in B. Kortendiek, B. Riegraf, K. Sabisch (eds.), Handbuch Interdisziplinäre Geschlechterforschung (2019).


José Casanova is a professor in the Departments of Sociology and Theology at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Berkley Center, where his work focuses on globalization, religions, and secularization. He is also President of the advisory board of Reset DOC. He has published works on a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions, and sociological theory. His best-known work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field and has been translated into several languages, including Japanese, Arabic, and Turkish. In 2012, Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize from the Salzburger Hochschulwochen in recognition of his life-long achievement in the field of theology.


Alessandro Ferrara is Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and Co-Director of the Prague Conference on Philosophy and Social Science. Among his recent volumes are Rousseau and Critical Theory (2017) and The Democratic Horizon. Hyperpluralism and the Renewal of Political Liberalism (2014). He’s also the author of “«Most Reasonable for Humanity»: Legitimation Beyond the State”, in Jus Cogens, 2019, and “Unconventional Adaptation and the Authenticity of the Constitution”, in R.Albert, Revolutionary Constitutionalism (2020). Furthermore, he has widely published on such topics as judgment and exemplarity as sources of normativity, critical theory, expanding the Rawlsian paradigm of political liberalism, religion in a post-secular society. He’s currently working on a volume about constituent power and political liberalism and, together with F. Michelman, on a volume about “legitimation by constitution”.


Ramin Jahanbegloo is presently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University, Delhi, India. In April 2006 Dr. Jahanbegloo was arrested in Tehran Airport charged with preparing a velvet revolution in Iran. He was placed in solitary confinement for four months and released on bail. He was an Associated Professor of Political Science and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto from 2008-2012 and an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto from 2012 – 2015. Among his twenty-seven books in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Persian the latest are The Gandhian Moment (2013) Democracy in Iran (2013) Introduction to Nonviolence (2013), Talking Philosophy (2015) and The Decline of Civilization (2017).


Volker Kaul is teaching at the Department of Political Science at LUISS University in Rome and is lecturer at the CEA Rome Center. Moreover, he works as scientific coordinator of the Istanbul/Venice Seminars for Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations. His work focuses on the self and the possibility of emancipation. In this regard, he works on the concepts of identity, agency, autonomy, self-knowledge, recognition, and culture. The monograph Identity and the Difficulty of Emancipation is about to be released by Springer. He published together with Seyla Benhabib a book entitled Toward New Democratic Imaginaries – Istanbul Seminars on Islam, Culture and Politics (2016) and with Ananya Vajpeyi the volume Minorities and Populism – Critical Perspectives from South Asia and Europe (2020) both for Springer. The book What is Pluralism? edited together with Ingrid Salvatore is in course of publication for Routledge. Together with David Rasmussen and Alessandro Ferrara he has been editing the yearly special issues of Philosophy & Social Criticism on the Istanbul/Venice Seminars since 2010. 


Sudipta Kaviraj is Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Prior to joining Columbia University, he taught at the Department of Political Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has also taught Political Science at JNU, and was an Agatha Harrison Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. He is a member of the Subaltern Studies Collective. Kaviraj is a specialist in intellectual history and Indian politics. He works on two fields of intellectual history: Indian social and political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and modern Indian literature and cultural production. His other fields of interest and research include the historical sociology of the Indian state, and some aspects of Western social theory. Kaviraj’s books include The Imaginary Institution of India (2010) Civil Society: History and Possibilities co-edited with Sunil Khilnani (2001), Politics in India (edited) (1999), and The Unhappy Consciousness: Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay and the Formation of Nationalist Discourse in India (1995).


Jonathan Laurence is Executive Director of Reset Dialogues and Professor of Political Science at Boston College. He is the author of Coping with Defeat: Sunni Islam, Roman Catholicism and the Modern State (2020), The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims (2012) and Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France (with Justin Vaïsse, 2006). His essays, articles and commentary on international affairs appear in US and European periodicals and news media, and he served as Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution (2003-2018). Jonathan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2006.


Tiziana Lippiello is Vice-Rector of Ca’ Foscari University and Professor of Classical Chinese, Religions, and Philosophy of China at the Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University. She is also member of the advisory board of Reset DOC. She has been Head of the Department of Asian and North African Studies (2011- 2014) and Head of the Department of East Asian Studies (2009- 2011) at Ca’ Foscari University. From 2008 to 2011 she has been Delegate for the relations with the International Institutions in Venice and from 2006 to 2011 Member of the Board of Directors of Venice International University. Amongst other she published the book Il confucianesimo (2010) and Auspicious Omens and Miracles in Ancient China. Han, Three Kingdoms and Six Dynasties (2001) and “Why was Shen Yue so Fond of Auspicious Signs” in S. Katz, “Divination and the Strange” (forthcoming). Professor Lippiello is also Director of the Series La fenice, Classici cinesi, Marsilio Editore Venezia, Director of the Series Sinica venetiana, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari and in the Academic Board of the Collegio Internazionale Ca’ Foscari. She is also Coordinator of the Project RobinBA (The Role of books in non bibliometric areas), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Macerata University, University of South Brittany, sponsored by ANVUR.


Chunrong Liu is a researcher at the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies and is managing director of the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Since 2010, he has held a position as associate professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University. In 2017, he co-initiated the Nansen East-West Dialogue Academy at Lillehammer, Norway – a summer school for cross-cultural dialogue on global challenges. He received his PhD degree in sociology from City University of Hong Kong in 2005 and has conducted post-doctoral research at Georgetown University. Dr. Liu’s research interests are in the areas of political sociology, comparative politics and regional cooperation. He has published widely on China’s state-society relations and is currently working on the Nordic model and China-Nordic engagement. 


Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He writes and teaches on political theory, ethics, public policy, and law, especially on topics related to liberalism, democracy and citizenship, diversity and civic education, religion and politics, and the family and sexuality. He is author of Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage (Princeton University Press, 2015). There he defends same-sex marriage, marriage as a civil institution in law, and monogamy, from the standpoints of justice and the human good. He is currently writing a book on justice and migration. From 2001-2009, he was Director of the University Center for Human Values. As founding director of Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs (1999-2001), he chaired the Princeton Project on Universal Jurisdiction, helped formulate the Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction, and edited Universal Jurisdiction: International Courts and the Prosecution of Serious Crimes Under International Law (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).  


Avishai Margalit is the George F. Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Margalit’s research topics include social and political philosophy, the philosophy of religion and culture, and the philosophical implications of social and cognitive psychology. In addition to his influence as a philosopher, he works on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader struggle between Islam and the West. His publications include Idolatry (with Moshe Halbertal, 1992), The Decent Society (1996), Views in Review: Politics and Culture in the State of the Jews (1998), The Ethics of Memory (2002), Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (with Ian Buruma, 2004), and On Compromise and Rotten Compromises (2009).


Toshio Miyake is Associate Professor at the Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. His research concentrates on occidentalism, orientalism and self-orientalism in Italy-Japan relations as well as the public sphere in contemporary Asia. His most recent publications include Monsters of Japan: Narratives, Figures and Hegemonies of Identity Displacement (2014) and Rethinking Nature in Contemporary Japan: Science, Economic, Politics (2014).


Angela Moriggi is a social scientist working for trans-disciplinary research projects on rural and urban sustainability since 2013, doing extensive fieldwork for several years in China and in Finland. Currently, she is external Researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), fourth-year PhD candidate at Wageningen University, and Field Expert at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She has solid experience using participatory, action-oriented, and creative methodologies, and as facilitator of co-creation processes. Next to the numerous academic papers she has (co-)authored, Angela is committed to societal outreach and has co-produced a Children Book and a video, both inspired by her Ph.D. project.


David Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and Honorary President of the Center for Ethics and Global Politics of LUISS University. His fields of interest are contemporary continental philosophy, social and political philosophy. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Philosophy & Social Criticism. His books include: Reading Habermas;Universalism vs. Communitarianism in Ethics; Handbook of Critical Theory; Jürgen Habermas: The Foundations of the Habermas Project; Jürgen Habermas: Law and Politics; Jürgen Habermas: Ethics; Jürgen Habermas: Epistemology and Truth; Critical Theory Vol. I-IV. He currently prepares a book on John Rawls. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Istanbul Seminars.


Adam Seligman is Professor of Religion at Boston University and Research Associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs there. He has lived and taught at universities in this country, in Israel and in Hungary where he was  Fulbright Fellow. He lived close to twenty years in Israel where he was a member of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the early 1970’s. His many books include The Idea of Civil Society (1992),  Inner-worldly Individualism (1994), The Problem of Trust (1997), Modernity’s Wager: Authority, the Self and Transcendence (2000) , with Mark Lichbach Market and Community (2000) Modest Claims, Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition (2004), with Weller, Puet and Simon, Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (2008) and most recently, with Weller Rethiking Pluralism: Ritual, Experience and Ambiguity (2012). His work has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is director of  CEDAR – Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion ( which leads seminars every year on contested aspects of religion and the public square in different parts of the world. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.


Marcella Simoni is researcher and lecturer at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice , where she teaches History of the Middle East and History of Contemporary Jewry. She has a twelve-year consistent record of publications, lecturing and active conference participation addressing various aspects of contemporary history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with special reference to peace-building and civil society cooperation. She has brought to light new perspectives of investigation on the factors of ‘the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’, focussing on the complex interaction between education, medicine and (public) health, gender, youth, family, diasporas, collective trauma, civil society and associationism. Her latest work is Israelis and Palestinians seeking, building and representing peace (2013).


Francesca Tarocco obtained her PhD in Chinese History and Buddhist Studies at SOAS, University of London. She was a Leverhulme Fellow and Lecturer in Buddhist Studies at the University of Manchester and an Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures and affiliated faculty of the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai. She is the author of The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism, Routledge 2011 [2008], and of the forthcoming The Re-enchantment of Modernity, Buddhism, Photography and Chinese History.  She has published, among other topics, on media and visual culture, materiality, sacred space, and the genealogy of the term religion in China and East Asia. She recently edited the special issue “Buddhists and the Making of Modern Chinese Societies” for the Journal of Global Buddhism (2017) and serves as China editor for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Tarocco is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies (China) at Cà Foscari University of Venice and a Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures at NYU Shanghai.   


Nadia Urbinati is a political theorist who specialises in modern and contemporary political thought and democratic and anti-democratic traditions. Currently she is a professor of Political Theory at Columbia University where she has founded and chaired the Workshop on Politics, Religion and Human Rights as well as having chaired the Faculty Seminar on Political and Social Thought. Urbinati has received several awards for her work, most notably she was the 2008 recipient of the Commendatore della Repubblica (Commander of the Italian Republic) honour “for her contribution to the study of democracy and the diffusion of Italian liberal and democratic thought abroad”. Apart from being author to several books, she is a contributor to la Repubblica and il Sole 24 Ore. Her most recent publications include Urbinati is the author of Me The People: How Populism Transforms Democracy (2019); The Tyranny of the Moderns (2015); Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People (2014); Liberi e uguali. Contro l’ideologia individualista (2011), and Missione impossibile. La riconquista cattolica della sfera pubblica (2013).


Ananya Vajpeyi is a scholar of history, literature, philology and political theory. She is a fellow and associate professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. In 2019-20 she is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge University. She is the author of the prize-winning book, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (Harvard, 2012), and the co-editor with Ramin Jahanbegloo of Ashis Nandy: A Life in Dissent (Oxford, 2018) as well as with Volker Kaul of Minorities and Populism: Critical Perspectives from South Asia and Europe (Springer, 2020). She has been involved with Reset Doc since 2012, particularly in the Venice-Delhi Dialogues series, as well as the Istanbul Seminars series. She is currently working on a book about the place of Sanskrit in the construction of modern Hindu nationalism, and her long-term project is an intellectual biography of B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), the author of India’s liberal Constitution of 1950. She lives in Delhi, London and Istanbul.


Michael Walzer is a Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and editor of the magazine Dissent. He has written on a wide range of topics, including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor of The New Republic and a member of the editorial board of Philosophy & Public Affairs. He is a member of several philosophical organizations including the American Philosophical Society. Author of Just and Unjust Wars (1977) and Spheres of Justice (1983) his latest publications include In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible (2012) and The Paradox of Liberation (2015).




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