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CafeLitt 237: Rediscovering Thomas Paine and the Sacred Text of Nature

Thu 5 Jul 2012, 19:00, by Ali Shehzad Zaidi, at Mekic: 4438 rue de la Roche, Montreal (Map)
In english and with collaboration of Mekic:

There is no better time, in this age of global warming and mass extinction of species, to rediscover the liberating thought of Thomas Paine, which recalls that of mystics and poets of many ancient cultures. In his iconoclastic The Age of Reason, published in 1794, Paine transfers the locus of the sacred from religious texts to the material Book of Nature, since "it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man" (Age 29) . With these words, Paine anticipates the emergent romanticism of his times by envisioning religion as an imaginative force that restores us to a living universe...I 

Ali Shehzad Zaidi is the Director of Publications at the Transformative Studies Institute. Zaidi is also the Vice President of the Southeast European Studies Association (2009-2013): www.seesa.info. He currently teaches as an assistant professor of humanities at the State University of New York at Canton. Zaidi holds a masters degree in English literature from the University of Peshawar (Pakistan), a masters degree in Spanish literature from Queens College (City University of New York) and a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester.  Zaidi has published comparative studies on Shakespeare and Calderón in Studies in Philology, Hispanófila, Bulletin of the Comediantes, and The Grove. His essays on the fantastic fiction of Mircea Eliade have appeared in Balkanistica, Neohelicon,Interlitteraria, and International Journal on Humanistic Ideology.  Zaidi has written extensively on higher education in New York, publishing in Against The Current, Z, New Politics, Monthly Review, Covert Action Quarterly, Dollars and Sense, Political Affairs, and New Politics. In 2000, his investigative reporting on medical experimentation at the University of Rochester won an honorable mention from Project Censored.

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About us

CaféLitt is not a place; it is a gathering of minds. We are a group of mostly Persian young students, scholars and professionals who gather every Thursday evening around 19h00 in a café to discuss various subjects and share different ideas, ranging vastly from history to science, from literature to fine arts. We started these gatherings on Jan 18th, 2007. Each week, one of us takes the responsibility of presenting a topic (in Persian, English or French) for about an hour in a subject s/he is intimately familiar with or has an expertise in. Afterwards, the evening turns into a discussion forum and all members of the audience will have an opportunity to ask their question(s) and share their points of view.
CaféLitt is open to all comments, suggestion, collaboration and new ideas. CaféLitt provides an unparalleled opportunity for learning about culture, science and philosophy in a relaxed and friendly environment, and for sharing your knowledge and expertise with like-minded members of your community.
CaféLitt is officially registered as a non-profitable group and is a nonpartisan, nonreligious and nonpolitical entity.