May 1, 2017
"Church, State, and the University: Some Nineteenth Century Quarrels about Religion and the Academy"
2017 Annual Friends of the Department of Religious Studies Speaker
Dr. Tomoko Masuzawa
Monday, May 1st, 2017, 7pm, Jayhawk Room, Kansas Union
Contemporary thinking equates the West, modernity, and secularity. European modernity – with its ideas of scientific rationality, free individual inquiry, democracy, and rule of law – is thought of as the backbone of secularity, with the university epitomizing the ideal of secular academy. The university is also a quintessential European institution; it began as a response to a sudden infusion of classical and scientific knowledge that had long been nurtured and developed in the Byzantine as well as Islamic worlds farther to the east. It supplied men of learned profession, especially lawyers and administrators indispensable to both church and state, but also physicians, clergy, and sundry scholars. The new domain of learning (the university) emerged and developed in a complex relation to the domain of divine/spiritual authority (the church) and to the domain of temporal/territorial authority (kingdom and empire). How was this three-way relation transformed in the course of early-modern to modern period? The case of English universities will be briefly considered.
To learn more about Dr. Masuzawa and her work, please visit: https://lsa.umich.edu/history/people/faculty/masuzawa.html
October 31, 2016
"The Poetics of Error: Giacomo Leopardi's Theory of Religion"
Talk sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies
October 31st, 2016, 3-4pm, Moore Reading Room, Smith Hall
Giacomo Leopardi was the greatest of the Italian romantic-era poets and was a prolific thinker and man of letters. His views on religion, and on Christianity in particular, are at once often scathingly critical and strikingly productive philosophically and aesthetically. The talk will present Leopardi's theory of religion and suggest ways of understanding it as a function of his practice of poetry.
October 27, 2016
"Preaching for the Nation: Media & Religion in Modern Egypt"
Book talk sponsored by the Center for Global & International Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Kansas African Studies Center, Middle East Studies Program
October 27, 2016, 4-5pm, Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union
Muhammad Mitwalli Sha'rawi was one of Egypt's most beloved and successful Islamic preachers. Through his weekly television appearances he popularized long held theological and ethical beliefs and became a scholar-celebrity who impacted social and political life in Egypt. This talk will be presented by Jaquelene Brinton, PhD, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Academic Director of KU Middle East Studies Program in the Center for Global & International Studies.
Followed by a book signing of Dr. Brinton's recently published book, Preaching Islamic Renewal: Religious Authority and Media in Contemporary Egypt. Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.
April 25, 2016
"What is Catholic about the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis?"
2016 Annual Friends of the Department of Religious Studies Speaker
Dr. Robert Orsi
April 25th, 2016. 7pm, Adams Alumni Center
As the full extent of the sexual abuse of children and adolescents by priests and the coverup of these crimes by diocesan officials became apparent, in the United States and around the world, church officials sought to build a wall between the reality of what happened and Catholicism itself. These were crimes, pathological acts, no different from the abuse of children by other adults, such as sports coaches, or so it was asserted. From this perspective, the crisis has nothing to say about Catholic history or contemporary practice. This lecture takes another approach, looking at the abuse of children and its consequences—in particular its religious consequences—in relation to the Catholic worlds within which the abuse occurred and asking what these evil acts say about these worlds. It specifically considers how many survivors of clerical sex abuse understand what happened to them its effects on their lives, and its impact on their faith and practice.
To learn more about Dr. Orsi and his work, visit orsi.northwestern.edu.
April 13, 2015
"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 www.brontaylor.com.
Want to know more about what's going on in the department of Religious Studies? Sign up for our mailing list!
September 29, 2014
"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
"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
Religion in Kansas: Exploring Some Byways
A LIBRARIES LECTURE SERIES event
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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
"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” (www.uiowa.edu/~incinema). 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 (www.indiastudies.org/).
October 21, 2013
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
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, email@example.com, 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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org