April 13, 2015

Bron Taylor

"Spirituality After Darwin: ‘Dark Green’ Nature Religion and the Future of Religion and Nature"

Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Department of Religious Studies

April 13th, 2015. 7:00 PM, Kansas Room, Kansas Union
1301 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS

New Religions come and go but some persist and become major global forces. In this presentation Professor Taylor presents evidence that, especially since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, a new, global, earth religion has been rapidly spreading around the world. Whether it involves conventional religious beliefs in non-material divine beings, or is entirely naturalistic and involves no such beliefs, it considers nature to be sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of reverent care. Those having affinity with such spirituality generally have strong feelings of belonging to nature, express kinship with non-human organisms, and understand the world to be deeply interconnected. In a recent book Taylor labeled such phenomena ‘dark green religion’, noting that its central ethical priority is to defend the earth’s biocultural diversity. Taylor provides a wide variety of examples of new forms of religious (and religion-resembling) cultural innovation among those promoting such nature spirituality, from individuals (including artists, scientists, filmmakers, photographers, surfers, and environmental activists), to institutions (including museums, schools, and the United Nations). By tracking these, Taylor provides an opportunity to consider what such spirituality may portend for the religious and planetary future.

Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion, Nature, and Environmental Ethics at the University of Florida, and a Carson Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich Germany. His research involves both ethnographic and historical methods, and much of it focuses on grassroots environmental movements, their emotional, spiritual, and moral spiritual dimensions, and their environmental, cultural, and political impacts. He has been involved in a variety of international initiatives promoting the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), the award winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005), Civil Society in the Age of Monitory Democracy (2013) and Ecological Resistance Movements: the Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism (1995), and Avatar and Nature Spirituality (2013). He is also the founder of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and editor of its affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. For more information see

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September 29, 2014

Saba Mahmood

"Religious Conflict and Modern Governance in the Middle East"

Monday, September 29th, 2014. 7:30 PM, Jayhawk Room, Kansas Union
1301 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS

Dr. Saba Mahmood is an acclaimed specialist in contemporary Islam in the Middle East and Europe, with interest in issues of religion and secularism, law and politics, ethics, gender and sexuality. Her work focuses on the interchange between religious and secular politics in postcolonial societies with special attention to issues of embodiment, cultural hermeneutics, law, and gender/sexuality. Her scholarship is best known for its interrogation of liberal assumptions about the proper boundary between ethics and politics, freedom and unfreedom, the religious and the secular, and agency and submission. Professor Mahmood is currently working on a book about the right to religious liberty and non-Muslims minorities in the Middle East. She is also co-author of a related three-year project (2010-2013) entitled “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices” funded by the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religions and International Affairs. The aim of the project is to chart the checkered and contested career of the right to religious freedom in the United States, the Middle East, South Asia, and countries of the European Union. Her works include: Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech, co-authored with Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Judith Butler, University of California Press, 2009; Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Princeton University Press, 2005 (second edition, with new preface, 2011).

April 28, 2014

Stewart Hoover

  "Religion in the Media Age"

   Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Department of Religious Studies

   April 28th, 2014. 7:30 PM, Kansas Union, Kansas Room

   1301 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS

Dr. Stewart M. Hoover is a Professor of Media Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he directs the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture. His field of scholarship is in media audience research, media history, and the social and political impact of media.

Dr. Hoover is an internationally-recognized expert on media religion, and the University of Colorado's Center is one of only four in the world devoted to this important and emerging field of study.

This lecture, "Religion in the Media Age", will consider the changing landscape of religion in relation to trends in contemporary media. All religions have been mediated, but in the twenty-first century these once-separate domains are rapidly merging, with new practices and technologies transforming the mediation of religion. Dr. Hoover will explore this situation in historical, theoretical, and empirical terms, reviewing and growing interdisciplinary literatures focused on media and religion, with an eye to future directions of the fields of media studies and religious studies.

March 12, 2014

Timothy Miller

Religion in Kansas: Exploring Some Byways
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
10–11:30 a.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West
1425 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS

Religious historian Timothy Miller has been recognized as a distinguished scholar by the Communal Studies Association. The primary focus of his research pertains to the history and practices of intentional communities as well as new and alternative religious movements in the United States. Dr. Miller is also the ongoing coordinator for the Religion in Kansas Oral History Project.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The Libraries Lecture Series highlights the breadth of interdisciplinary research and creative work found on an expansive range of topics across campus.

February 28, 2014

Philip Lutgendorf

Philip Lutgendorf
"The Clue in the Lake: Tulsidas and the Sufis of Avadh"
108 Smith Hall

When the poet-saint Tulsīdās composed his celebrated retelling of the Rāmāyaṇa, entitled Rāmcaritmānas, in 1574 AD, he created a powerful vehicle for the transmission of Rām-devotion in northern and central India. Although scholars have identified the principal Sanskrit sources on which Tulsī drew, they have largely ignored the four long allegorical poems known as prem-kahānī (“love stories”), composed between the late fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries in the same poetic dialect and verse format, by Muslim authors affiliated with Sufi lineages. Drawing on recent research on the cultural context of these enigmatic Indo-Islamic poems, this talk proposes their significant influence on the genesis of the famous Hindu epic.

Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and has taught in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature since 1985. He regularly offers Hindi language classes as well as courses on written and oral narrative traditions of South Asia, including Indian film. His book on the performance of the Rāmcaritmānas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana, The Life of a Text (University of California Press, 1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-03 for his research on the Hindu “monkey-god” Hanuman, which has appeared as Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (Oxford University Press, 2007). He maintains a website devoted to popular Hindi cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” ( In 2010 he received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for research on the cultural history of “chai” in India and also began work on a planned three-volume, dual-language edition and translation of the Rāmcaritmānas for the Murty Classical Library of India/Harvard University Press. He serves as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (


October 21, 2013

Vesna Wallace

Dr. Vesna Wallace, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been invited to be a guest lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies. Dr. Wallace is a specialist in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and noted scholar of the Kālācakra Tantra and its cultures, who in recent years has been working closely with Buddhists and Buddhist materials from Mongolia. Dr. Wallace's lecture will explore the importance of the two fierce Buddhist deities, Jamsran and Vajrapani, to Mongolian religious life. Her presentation will discuss their naturalization, iconography, and the rituals by means of which these deities have functioned in the individual and social lives of the Mongols.

"Naturalized Buddhist Deities and Their Religio-Political Roles in Mongolia"
208 Smith Hall

April 22, 2013

Paul Gifford

Annual Religious Studies Reception and Lecture:

Reception: 5:30-7:00 PM, Mallott Room, Kansas Union. Department of Religious Studies Annual Awards Reception. The reception and hor d’ouevres will be provided without charge to those who have made financial contributions to support our program during this school year. Others may join us at $10.00 per person. Please RSVP no later than April 12 to Amanda Enneking,, if you plan to attend. Professor Paul Gifford will be our featured guest.

Lecture: 7:30–9:00 PM, Kansas Room, Kansas Union. Paul Gifford, Professor Emeritus of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The Southern Shift of Christianity: The Nature & Appeal of Africa's New Pentecostal Churches. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Paul Gifford, the featured speaker for our annual FODORS Lecture, is one of the foremost scholars of global Pentecostal Christianity and charismatic Christian movements in Africa. His numerous publications include Ghana's New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalising African Economy (London: Hurst & Company, 2004), Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya (London: Hurst & Company, 2009), and Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism. Routledge, 1996 (coauthored with S. Brouwer, 1996).

February 27-28, 2013

Mary Evelyn Tucker

The Religious Studies department is proud to co-sponsor a screening of the Emmy® award-winning documentary Journey of the Universe: An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth and Human Transformation, as well as a series of associated events. Filmmaker and religious studies/environmental studies scholar Mary Evelyn Tucker will offer several presentations and opportunities for discussion. Learn more about the film.  Learn more about Mary Evelyn Tucker.

Wednesday, February 27
5:30-6:30pm Hors D'oeuvres and informal conversation at Liberty Hall
6:30pm Screening of Journey of the Universe at Liberty Hall
7:30pm Panel Discussion: Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Don Worster

Thursday, February 28
9-10:45am Global Environment class presentation
Lunch with Students
3:00pm colloquium at the KU Commons
7-8:30pm Formal Lecture at the Spencer Art Museum

Co-sponsored by KU Religious Studies, Environmental Studies, Indigenous Studies and KU EcoJustice. Ecumenical Campus Ministries, The Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund, Visiting Scholars in Religion and Kawsmos are community-based sponsors.

Contact: Rachel Myslivy,


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