Robert M. Hayden

  • Professor Emeritus

Robert Hayden (J.D., Ph.D.) is an anthropologist of law and politics. His primary research for more than three decades has focused on the Balkans, but has also done fieldwork in India (1970s, 1992, 2013) and among the Seneca Iroquois of New York State (1970s). Following ethnographic research on Yugoslav socialism from 1981-89, he did extensive work on issues of violence, nationalism, constitutionalism and state reconstruction in the formerly Yugoslav space, as well as on transitional justice issues stemming from the Yugoslav wars. From 2007-2013 Professor Hayden headed Antagonistic Tolerance: An International & Interdisciplinary Project on Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites, which developed and analyzed, variously, ethnographic, historical and archaeological data from Bosnia, Bulgaria, India, Mexico, Peru, Portugal and Turkey. His new research stemming from this project include studies of sufi/ dervish orders in post-imperial settings, and the (re)construction of religious sites to mark competing national territorial claims in Bosnia since the end of the war there.


Violence, Tolerance and Dominance at Shared Religious Sites

Undergraduate Seminar. This course analyzes “antagonistic tolerance,” or contested sharing of religious sites. Worldwide, and widely throughout history, sacred sites have been shared, and sometimes contested, by members of different religious communities. Long periods of peaceful interaction and even religious syncretism may be punctuated by periods of violence, and the physical transformation of the shared sites. This course examines this dynamic by looking at case studies drawn from Europe (Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey), Asia (India) and Latin America (the Inka Empire). The approach draws on both cultural anthropology and archeology, and some of the case studies are based on recent ethnography, others on ethnohistorical data, others still on archeological data. The cases have been developed in the course of a large-scale comparative research project by the instructor and an international team of scholars, and the course will work through their initial efforts at drawing conclusions from this ongoing project. The course will thus be an introduction to an ongoing, complex project in anthropology, including both archeology and cultural anthropology. Students will be encouraged to think about how the general model might be applicable in other world regions. Requirements: There will be a midterm examination and a seminar paper, the latter due at the end of the term. Since this is a new area of research, class attendance and participation are very important. No prerequisites: There are no formal pre-requisites, but students should have had some basic courses in anthropology (cultural and/ or archeology), history, or other social sciences

Cultures and Societies of Eastern Europe

This course offers an introduction to the societies of Eastern Europe with an accent on the cultural history of the region during the modern epoch (Russian/USSR excluded). The course begins with an examination of the various intellectual inventions of Eastern Europe, as well as of the widely differing political consequences of such exercises in “philosophical geography” for various parts of the region. Local versions of the “processes of civilization” and their social consequences will be discussed, as well as the reception of modern ideas and ideologies (and various forms of counter-reaction to such influences). The rapidly diversifying strategies of principal social actors, the dynamics of such cultural processes, the new roles of ideologies like nationalism, and the resulting social divides, political cleavages and “culture wars” will be considered. Attention will also be given to issues of everyday-life, popular culture, and the diversification of individual lifestyles. The final grade will be based on mid-term and final exams and on class participation. Students will have the option of writing an essay on a theme or film presented in class, in place of the midterm exam.

Cultures & Society of India

This course focuses on contemporary Indian social and cultural formations, after reviewing some very basic cultural history and geography, and the development of the country and those formations since independence. Since independence in 1947, India has developed from an overwhelmingly agricultural and traditional society that was not able to grow enough food for its 325 million population, to an increasingly urban, developed society of 1.2 billion that exports food along with a wide range of products and services, including cutting-edge high-tech ones. The Indian middle class is growing rapidly. India is also the world’s largest democracy, and has dealt, very substantially though not in full measure (to cite first Prime Minister Nehru) with the complexities of a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and in all other ways extraordinarily diverse societyTopics to be covered include the interactions of religious communities in a secular state; caste, class, gender and other principles of social distinction; regional identities; socio-economic development; and the intertwining of all of these factors in democratic (or at least electoral) politics.

Ethno-National Violence

Undergraduate seminar.  Violence between members of different ethnic and religious communities within what had been nation states is increasingly common: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, to name just a few current cases.  Yet such violence is not new – in the past century alone, it has occurred in many countries throughout the world.  This course examines the logic and frequent tactics of such violence in Europe (Greece/ Turkey 1923, Cyprus 1974, Yugoslavia 1941-45 and 1991-95), South Asia (India/ Pakistan 1947, India since then), and the Middle East (Israel/ Palestine; Syria) among others.  We will pay particular attention to links between religion and conflict, and to gendered patterns of violence.  Most readings are ethnographic, close analyses of cases; but comparative frameworks will also be developed.  I assume no special knowledge by students of any of the case studies before the course begins.  By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of contemporary cases of violence, and also of the common features of such violence in the modern period.



Hayden, Robert M. (2016) “Sufis, Dervishes and Alevi-Bektaşis: Interfaces of Heterodox Islam and Nationalist Politics from the Balkans, Turkey and India,” in Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics in South Asia, Deepra Dandekar & Torsten Tschacher, eds. New York: Routledge.

Hayden, Robert M., Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, Timothy D. Walker, Aykan Erdemir, Devika Rangachari, Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, Enrique López-Hurtado, and Milica Bakić-Hayden (2016) Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites and Spaces. London: Routledge.

Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, Robert M. Hayden and Aykan Erdemir (2014) “The Iconostasis in the Republican Mosque: Transformed Religious Sites as Artifacts of Intersecting Religioscapes,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 46: 489-512.

Hayden, Robert M. and Slobodan Naumović (2013) “Imagined Commonalities: The Invention of a Late Ottoman ‘Tradition’ of Coexistence”. American Anthropologist 115: 319-329.

Hayden, Robert M. and Timothy D. Walker (2013) “Intersecting Religioscapes: A Comparative Approach to Trajectories of Change, Scale, and Competitive Sharing of Religious Spaces.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81(#2): 399-426.

Hayden, Robert M. (2007) “What’s Reconciliation Got to do With It? The International Criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as Antiwar Profiteer.” Journal of Intervention & Statebuilding, 5(#3): 313-330.

Hayden, Robert M, Hande Sozer, Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir and Aykan Erdemir (2011) “The Byzantine Mosque at Trilye: A Processual Analysis of Dominance, Sharing, Transformation and Tolerance”. History & Anthropology 22: 1-18.

Hayden, R.M. (2008) Mass killings and images of genocide in Bosnia, 1941-45 and 1992-95. In The Historiography of Genocide, edited by D. Stone, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 487–516.

Hayden, Robert M. (2008) 'Genocide denial' laws as secular heresy: a critical analysis with reference to Bosnia, Slavic Review, 67(2): 384-407.

Hayden, Robert M. (2007) “Moral Vision and Impaired Insight: the Imagining of Other Peoples’ Communities in Bosnia.” Current Anthropology, 48: 105-131.

Hayden, R. (2007) Moral vision and impaired insight. The imagining of other peoples' communities in Bosnia. Current Anthropology 48(2):105-131.

Hayden, Robert M. (2005) “Democracy without a Demos? The Bosnian Constitutional Experiment and the Intentional Construction of Nonfunctioning States.” East European Politics & Societies 19(#2): 226-259.

Hayden, R. (2000) Rape and rape avoidance in ethno-national conflicts: sexual violence in liminalized states. American Anthropologist 102(1):27-41.

Hayden, Robert M. (2000) "Mass Rape and Rape Avoidance in Ethno-national Conflicts: Sexual Violence in Liminalized States."  American Anthropologist, 102: 27-41.

Hayden, R.M. (1999) Disputes and Arguments Amongst Nomads: A Caste Council in India. Oxford University.

Hayden, R.M. (1997) Turn-taking, overlap and the task at hand: ordering speaking turns in legal settings. American Ethnologist 14(2).

Hayden, R. (1995) The uses of national stereotypes in the wars in Yugoslavia. In Vampires Unstaked: National Images, Stereotypes and Myths in East Central Europe, edited by A. Gerrits and N. Adler, North-Holland, pp. 207–222.