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An Evening with Reza Aslan

January 17, 2018, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The USC Office of Religious Life and Outside the Box [Office] invite you and a guest to attend

An Evening with Reza Aslan

in conversation with Dean Varun Soni
about his new book, God: A Human History

7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Book signing to follow.



About Reza Aslan

James Joyce Award winner Reza Aslan is an internationally renowned religions scholar and writer whose books include the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. Aslan teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Post, and he makes frequent appearances on TV and radio shows as a religions and political analyst. He served as an Executive Producer for ABC’s Of Kings and Prophets, a Consulting Producer for HBO’s The Leftovers, as well as host and executive producer for both Rough Draft with Reza Aslan (premiered on OvationTV) and CNN’s original series, Believer. His newest book, God: A Human History, was released in November, 2017.

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About God: A Human History

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine, and sounds a call to embrace a deeper, more expansive understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large. In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as one long and remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless if we are believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.”


But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality, unencumbered by the urge to impose human characteristics upon the divine.

Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will transform the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Learn more online at:

About Dr. Varun Soni, USC Dean of Religious Life

Dean Soni received his B.A. degree in Religion from Tufts University, where he also earned an Asian Studies minor and completed the Program in Peace and Justice Studies. He subsequently received his M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School and his M.A. degree through the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where he also completed the Critical Race Studies Program and served as an editor for the Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law. He earned his Ph.D. through the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town, where his doctoral research focused on religion and popular culture. As an undergraduate student, Dean Soni spent a semester living in a Buddhist monastery in Bodh Gaya, India through Antioch University’s Buddhist Studies Program. As a graduate student, he spent months doing field research in South Asia through UCSB’s Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies.

Dean Soni is currently a University Fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center on Public Diplomacy and an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Religion. He is the author of Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Figueroa Press, 2014) and his writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Crosscurrents, Jewish Journal, and Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He produced the critically acclaimed graphic novel Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap, which is currently being adapted as a feature length film. He also produced and hosted his own radio show on KPFK-Pacifica that showcased music from South Asia and its diaspora. In 2009, he was one of the organizers of the historic Concert for Pakistan, a benefit concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall featuring Salman Ahmad, Sting, Outlandish, Jeff Skoll, Deepak Chopra, and Melissa Etheridge.

Dean Soni is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Academy of Religion, and the Association for College and University Religious Affairs. He is on the advisory board for the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, Journal for Interreligious Dialogue, Hindu American Seva Charities, Hindu American Foundation, Future45, and the Parliament of the World’s Religion. Prior to joining USC, Dean Soni spent four years teaching in the Law and Society Program at UCSB. Born in India and raised in Southern California, he has family on five continents and they collectively represent every major religious tradition in the world.

About the USC Office of Religious Life

The University of Southern California’s Office of Religious Life sponsors a variety of opportunities for exploring the spiritual dimensions of your life and learning. We can help you find a religious home base or form a new group, handle an ethical dilemma or research a paper topic. The Office sponsors campus programs with a moral, religious or spiritual focus. It co-sponsors events with other university units and partnerships of student religious groups. And we are there for the entire USC community in times of celebration and loss, to offer benedictions at university convocations and to help organize memorial services as needed.

Visit the USC Office of Religous Life website:

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here

To SUBSCRIBE to our MAILING LIST for upcoming free screenings and events, e-mail the word "Subscribe" to:

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Check-In & Reservations

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes for the USC Royal Street Structure may be purchased for $12.00 at the USC Royal Street Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street, across from the Shrine Auditorium.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago