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Dr. Youssef Carter Joins the Department as Assistant Professor

The Department of Religious Studies is delighted to welcome Dr. Youssef Carter to the faculty as Assistant Professor and Kenan Rifai Fellow in Islamic Studies. Dr. Carter holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California-Berkeley and is an expert in Sufism and Islam in West Africa and the United States. His book in progress, “The Vast Oceans: Remembering God and Self on the Mustafawi Sufi Path,” examines the discourses and practices of a transatlantic Sufi spiritual network through detailed ethnographic work. Dr. Carter was previously awarded a College Postdoctoral Fellowship from Harvard University, where he also received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. This coming Fall semester, Dr. Carter will be teaching the course RELI 580, “African-American Islam.”

Please join us in welcoming Youssef to the department!

Posted in Faculty News on July 1, 2020  

Message to 2020 Graduating Seniors

Below is a message to this year’s graduating seniors in the Department of Religious Studies from our Chair, Prof. Barbara Ambros. Warmest congratulations to all our graduates!

Posted in Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 9, 2020  
RELI Undergraduate Awards for 2020

Our department is pleased to announce the following undergraduate awards for 2020:

Alexandra Barnes has been chosen as the recipient of the Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize in Religious Studies, which is a $500 award given annually for academic achievement by a senior religious studies major or double major. Alexandra is a double major in Religious Studies and History (with a concentration in US history) who intends to complete a gap-year internship after graduation with the chaplains at the hospice house in her hometown. She is also considering pursuing further education in religious studies at a divinity school.

Quinn Eury and Olivia Giroux are co-recipients of the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award. This essay competition recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholarship in the study of religion, as evidenced by a paper written in a Religious Studies or Jewish Studies class, or by a part of a senior honors thesis. It also comes with a monetary prize.

Quinn Eury (essay title: “Transgressive Gendered Behavior and the Stability of Ma’at”) is a senior Archaeology and Anthropology double major whose main interests include zooarchaeology, conflict archaeology, and houseplants. Olivia Giroux (essay title: “A Broken System: Redefining Mental Healthcare for Muslim Women in America”) is a junior and a double major in Biology and Religious Studies; her areas of interest range from ancient religions to the intersection of science and religion in the modern world.

While we are disappointed that we will not be able to hold our usual awards ceremony this year, we are keeping open the possibility of recognizing these students at a future event. We extend them our warmest congratulations!

Posted in Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 15, 2020  
Bart Ehrman on NPR’s Fresh Air

Professor Bart Ehrman was on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross last week, where he discussed his brand new book titled Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, 2020). In this book, Prof. Ehrman takes on the questions: where did the ideas of heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure? He recounts the long history of the afterlife and helps us reflect on where our ideas of it come from.

Listen to the interview in the player below, or on the NPR website.


Posted in Faculty Publications on April 6, 2020  
Fall 2020 Courses

(Updated July 21, 2020)
Here are the courses we are offering for the Fall 2020 semester! (Click on each slide for a PDF version of the poster.)

Note that many of the posters have not yet been updated with the revised class meeting times for Fall 2020, so be sure to check our fall course schedule as well as ConnectCarolina for the most up-to-date scheduling and meeting room information.

Posted in News & Events on March 26, 2020  
Summer 2020 Courses

Here are the courses we are offering for the Summer 2020 semester! (Click on each slide for a PDF version of the poster.)

For the entire summer course schedule with meeting times and room assignments, see here. Also check ConnectCarolina for the most up-to-date scheduling information.

Posted in News & Events on March 16, 2020  
Dr. Charles H. Long (1926-2020)

Last month, we mourned the passing of a former faculty member in our department, Dr. Charles H. Long, who taught at Carolina from 1974 to 1987 as the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor in Religious Studies. In addition to UNC, Dr. Long also taught at the University of Chicago, Syracuse University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies. He served as the president of the American Academy of Religion in 1973.

An obituary, posted on the American Academy of Religion website, can be viewed here.

We post here a link to a lecture that Dr. Long gave in 2013 on “America and the Academic Study of Religion: Hermeneutics and Method,” which provides a glimpse of his work and approach (the lecture begins at 5:35 of the video):

Posted in News & Events on March 3, 2020  
McLester Colloquium with Pamela Klassen

This Wednesday, February 26, we were pleased to hear from Dr. Pamela Klassen at this month’s McLester Colloquium on “Metals and Memory: Gold and the Metaphysics of Colonial Territory.”

Pamela Klassen is a Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion, cross-appointed to Anthropology, at the University of Toronto, where she is also Vice-Dean, Undergraduate & International in the Faculty of Arts & Science. She teaches in the areas of the anthropology and history of Christianity and colonialism in North America, religion in the public sphere, and religion, law, media, and gender.

We were grateful for the opportunity to hear from Professor Klassen on this fascinating topic.

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on February 27, 2020  
Kathryn Lofton (PhD 2005) named Dean of the Humanities at Yale University

Dr. Kathryn Lofton (PhD 2005), a leading scholar of religion in contemporary culture and a graduate of our PhD program in American religions, has recently been appointed Dean of the Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University for an additional four years through June 2024, after serving as Acting Dean for the 2019-20 academic year. She has taught at Yale since 2009 and currently holds the position of Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, History, and Divinity.

Dr. Lofton served as the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony keynote speaker here at Carolina in 2018. A video of her address can be viewed here.

We congratulate Katie on this tremendous honor, and look forward to the important work she will do in this new role in advancing the study of the humanities at Yale and beyond.

Posted in Alumni News on February 19, 2020  
2020 Majors and Minors Dinner

On Tuesday, February 11, we held our annual Religious Studies Majors and Minors dinner with undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty in attendance. Our speaker this year was John Miller, a graduate of UNC’s Religious Studies department and the UNC School of Law. He is currently a first-year PhD student in Religious Studies, on the Islamic studies track. It was a great time–thanks to all who came!

Some of our wonderful students and their new Religious Studies shirts!

Our speaker for the evening, John Miller

Posted in News & Events on February 14, 2020  

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