Bellah lectured extensively. The following lectures
are currently available on the web. Many
of these lectures
not available anywhere else.
The Modern Project in Light of Human Evolution
On March 19, 2013 at the University of Notre Dame, about four months before his death on July 30, 2013, Robert Bellah delivered one of his last lectures if not his last one. The title of the lecture is the title of the book he was engaged in writing at his death. Part of the significance of this profound lecture - and the Q&A that follows -- is the sense he gives us of the questions he was formulating and articulating, along with the answers he pursued, about the meaning of modernity.
Can Religion Survive the Challenge of Evolution?
The Surjit Singh Lecture in Comparative Religious Thought, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, February 28, 2012
At this link you can read the lecture transcript in PDF, listen to an audio recording of the lecture and listen to an audio recording of the Q&A session which followed the talk.
- A Video of the Conversation with Robert Bellah on Religion in Human Evolution
Sunday, November 20, 2011, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California. Panelists: Jonathan Z. Smith, University of Chicago; Luke Timothy Johnson, Emory University; and Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago. Responding: Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley. Presiding: Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara.
- What Changes Very Fast and What Doesn’t Change: Explosive Modernity and Abiding Truth
Professor Bellah gave this Beijing Forum Keynote Address on November 4, 2011. The forum’s theme: “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All – Tradition and Modernity, Transition and Transformation.”
Public Lecture by Robert Bellah: "Religion in Human Evolution"
Shortly after the publication of his greatest work, Religion in Human Evolution, Professor Robert Bellah gave this lecture of the same title on October 18, 2011 at the University of Chicago. The Department of Sociology and the Committee on Social Thought sponsored the lecture. Han Joas, who is a professor in that department and a member of that committee and who is also the Ernst Troeltsch Professor for the Sociology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Humboldt University of Berlin, and has worked with Professor Bellah, gives a wonderful introduction. Professor Bellah's lecture has two epigrams: "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible" — Albert Einstein. And "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless" — Steven Weinberg.
Can We Imagine a Global Civil Religion?
Alonzo L. McDonald Lecture at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University on the occasion of the Silver Anniversary Celebration of Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion Program. Friday, October 26, 2007
We Be Citizens of a World Empire?
Versions of this
talk were delivered at Iliff School of Theology in Denver Colorado, on
January 28, 2003, and at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, on
March 6, 2003.
- Is There a Common American Culture?
This YouTube video is an April 7, 1998 talk at Duke University, which originated as a plenary address to the American Academy of Religion on November 22, 1997 and was published in the fall 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. An expanded version was published in William H. Swatos, Jr. and James K. Wellman, Jr., eds., The Power of Religious Publics (1999) and The Robert Bellah Reader (2006). Like “Civil Religion in America,” this is a classic Bellah essay, which stirs our collective conscience, stimulates conversation and provokes debate. The passion with which Professor Bellah delivers this talk adds to and brings out the meaning of the text as well.
Universalism in Societal Perspective
An address given to the Unitarian Universalist Association, General
Assembly, Rochester, N.Y., June 27, 1998.
and Commitment: "America's Cultural Conversation"
Portland State University March 7, 1995
Habits of the Heart: Implication for
A lecture and question and answer session held at St. Mark's
Catholic Church in 1986.
and Commitment in American Life
A lecture at the
University of California, Santa Barbara, February 20, 1986
Citizenship and the Crisis in Public Education
talk, which is perhaps even more relevant after September 11,
2001 than in 1985
when he first gave it, Bellah interprets the crisis in public education in the context of how the
United States has changed, especially since World War II, from a
democratic to an imperial republic. He stresses the notion of
education for character and citizenship in contrast to the prevailing
notion of education for private advancement. Recognizing religion as
dividing as well as uniting, Bellah also emphasizes the crucial role
of religion in American history. "To leave it out is to empty the
story of that which makes us citizens," he says. Telling the
story of the United States as it is, including its religious
dimension, neither piously nor cynically, will help to pull students
away from an exclusive concern with private advancement and may, he
adds, "save our democratic republic from the clutches of imperial