“Sacred Violence” and the State
Austin Sarat and Paul Kahn
Two preeminent legal and political minds examine how religious ideas and the use of “sacred violence” play a significant role in modern secular philosophy, political theory and ultimately, the state itself. “Perhaps the greatest mark of sacred power in modern law is its ability to convince our leaders that they have the right to command us to sacrifice our lives for the state,” says Austin Sarat, professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, and author of “When the State Kills: Capital Punishment in Law, Politics and Culture.” Sarat was joined by Paul Kahn, director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale University, in a discussion entitled “Does the State Rely on Sacred Violence?” sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.
To Listen to the Panel