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For a list of our Spring 2022 courses, see here.


Spring 2022 Courses

(Updated October 26, 2021)
Here are the courses we are offering for the Spring 2022 semester!

Note that class times and locations may be subject to changes. Please check our Spring Schedule 2022 and ConnectCarolina for the most up-to-date information.

Posted in News & Events on October 26, 2021  

On behalf of our new UNC Religious Studies Club, you (that means everyone!) are cordially invited to our inaugural Fall Film Screening on Thursday, October 28th at 6pm at Howell Hall, Room 115. Feel free to share this event with friends, family, co-workers, faculty, staff, and students!

An intimate documentary about faith, renewal, and healing, TWO GODS follows a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in New Jersey, as he takes two young men under his wing to teach them how to live better lives. Inside a corner casket shop in East Orange, laboring amid the sawdust and the long pine boxes, casket makers work with mentors in the Islamic burial tradition. Hanif, a Black Muslim casket maker who finds spiritual grounding in his work, brings two boys from the local community under his tutelage; 12-year-old Furquan and 17-year-old Naz, neither of whom have fathers at home. Hanif teaches Furquan and Naz the practices of Islamic burial rituals as they assist him with his work. Having formerly served time in prison, Hanif continues to grapple with past mistakes and new challenges, while his faith and community helps him guide his young charges on their own paths toward healing and embracing life.

Shot in a striking black-and-white, TWO GODS explores the juxtaposition of grief and the rituals of death with the vibrancy and potential of adolescence. The documentary turns an empathetic lens on Muslim American stories, ultimately crafting a moving portrait of both the intimate moments and the complexities of the everyday Muslim American experience.

Posted in News & Events on October 22, 2021  
Webinar on Dune and Islam: How To Understand the Movie

Frank Herbert’s Dune is inspired by themes from the history of Islam that are both direct and subtle. Carl Ernst and Michael Muhammad Knight will discuss the new film and the book it is based on and explore how Islam is part of its foundation on November 13, 2021 on Zoom and YouTube Live.

Register here. The webinar is free. $10 suggested donation: https://go.unc.edu/PeckFundDonation

Carl Ernst is a leading scholar of Islamic Studies and Sufism and William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Michael Muhammad Knight is Assistant Professor of Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Florida and the author of several books, most recently Muhammad’s Body: Baraka Networks and the Prophetic Assemblage.

The live webinar is a fundraiser to benefit the Peck Fund for Teaching Excellence, which is devoted to supporting and recognizing teaching among graduate students in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Posted in Alumni News, Events, News & Events on October 19, 2021  
Bart Ehrman Webinar

UPDATE: Click here to watch a recording of the webinar!

Below is the link to sign up for the exciting opportunity to hear from Professor Bart Ehrman about his new project on the book of Revelation and expectations of Armageddon on Saturday September 18th, at 2 pm! This webinar serves to raise funds for graduate students in the department.

Click Here to Register!

Professor Ehrman’s webinar is about historical misrepresentations of the Book of Revelation, especially by evangelical Christian communities in the United States over the last one hundred years. His talk will focus on evangelical accounts of the impending end of the world, Armageddon, and the wrath of a vengeful God. He will ask, how do New Testament themes of tolerance and forgiveness fare in these accounts?
Here is a link to the Youtube Preview:
Professor Ehrman publishes extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity. He was written or edited thirty-three books, six of them New York Times best sellers, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews.
Professor Ehrman’s webinar will raise funds for graduate students in the UNC – Chapel Hill Department of Religious Studies. 100% of all donations will benefit the William Peck Fund for Graduate Student Excellence, which is devoted to supporting and recognizing teaching among graduate students.
Posted in Events, Faculty News, News & Events on September 12, 2021  
Fall 2021 Course: Christian Cultures (RELI 225)

We have just added a new Fall course: “Christian Cultures,” taught by Prof. Lauren Leve. See the description below (and click for PDF poster):

Posted in News & Events on August 14, 2021  
Fall 2021 Course: African American Religions (RELI 141)

Among the courses we are featuring this Fall is RELI 141, “African American Religions,” taught by Prof. Youssef Carter. No prerequisites necessary—see the description below (and click for PDF poster):

Posted in News & Events on August 3, 2021  
Departmental Statement Regarding the Tenure Case of Nikole Hannah-Jones

Statement to the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As faculty in the Department of Religious Studies, we are committed to Carolina’s mission:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, serves North Carolina, the United States, and the world through teaching, research, and public service. We embrace an unwavering commitment to excellence as one of the world’s great research universities.

As trustees, you have been charged with fulfilling this mission and upholding this standard of excellence.

The failure to consider the tenure of Nikole Hannah-Jones harms the university’s reputation and its ability to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty to serve the people of this state. As a consequence, UNC Chapel Hill will not be able to maintain its excellence as one of the world’s great research universities. We call on you to fulfill your obligation as trustees and immediately vote upon the recommendation of this university to offer Hannah-Jones a tenured position as the Knight Chair in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

We are also concerned that your failure to act will negatively affect our students. The university’s mission statement explicitly values the diversity of our student body and our state:

Our mission is to serve as a center for research, scholarship, and creativity and to teach a diverse community of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to become the next generation of leaders.

We embrace this challenge daily. Our students benefit when everyone is empowered to reach their potential and contribute to the common good. The perceived politicization of education undermines inclusion and limits our ability to fulfill this commitment to the people of North Carolina.

We endorse the Chair of the Faculty’s June 19th letter, which explains that faculty governance of the tenure process is essential to maintaining academic integrity. Academic freedom has been defined as having two principles: freedom from political or religious control, and shared governance of institutions. The faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill needs to know that the Board of Trustees agrees with these principles. Anything less than that will irreparably damage the confidence of the faculty in the ability of the Board of Trustees to safeguard the future of this university.

It is imperative that the Board of Trustees immediately confirm the Provost’s recommendation to offer Hannah-Jones a tenured position.

The Chair of our department, Prof. Barbara Ambros, has also written an individual letter to the Board of Trustees, which can be viewed here.


Posted in News & Events on June 23, 2021  
Awards Ceremony and Graduation 2021

In the past few weeks, we held two events commemorating the end of the 2020-2021 academic year–a year that was obviously beset with unprecedented challenges but that also demonstrated the resilience and capability of our wonderful students.

On April 28th, we held our annual awards ceremony in which we celebrated the achievements of our undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Worthy of special note were Eden Teichman, who was acknowledged (again) for winning the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award, as well as both Eden Teichman and Robert Rhinehart, who were co-recipients of the Boyd Prize for outstanding achievement by a senior undergrduate major. Among our graduate students, Emily Branton received both the Peck Teaching Award (as recognized by the faculty) and the Peer Recognition Teaching Award. We also noted the many book publications of our faculty over the past two years.

Awards 2021

2021 Year-End Awards Ceremony

May 14th was the date of our graduation ceremony. In addition to hearing a message from our department chair, Dr. Barbara Ambros, for our graduating seniors, we also acknowledged the names of our graduates, including those whose academic achievement earned them membership in the Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society. The event concluded with an extended time for faculty and students to interact over conversation in smaller groups.

Grad 2021

Message to Graduating Seniors from our Chair, Dr. Barbara Ambros

Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 22, 2021  

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