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Recent Faculty Podcasts (Ziad, Magness)

Prof. Waleed Ziad discussed the extraordinary life of the Afghan female Sufi saint Bibi Sahiba Kalan (d. 1803) in a recent episode of the What’s Her Name Podcast. Bibi Sahiba was recognized as a leading scholar-saint of the Afghan Empire, and her travels took her as far as Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. The What’s Her Name Podcast, on great women in history, is produced by Olivia Meikle and Katie Nelson, and two talented star musicians of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zeb Bangash and Shamali Afghan, especially composed the original soundtrack for this episode. This is also the subject of Dr. Ziad’s next book, The Arch-Saint of the Afghan Empire, Her Teacher, and Her Son, based on fieldwork in 20 towns across Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The podcast, as well as photos relating to the episode, can be found here.

Prof. Jodi Magness was also featured in another episode of The Ancients podcast on the topic of “Jewish Burial at the Time of Jesus,” following upon her highly popular podcasts on the site of Masada. In this episode, Prof. Magness discusses ancient Jewish burial customs, the Talpiot Tomb controversy, and other topics that shed light on the depictions found in the Gospel accounts.

This latest episode can be found here.

Posted in Faculty News on April 21, 2021  

Jodi Magness on “The Ancients” Podcast

Prof. Jodi Magness was recently featured on The Ancients, a podcast for ancient history fans. In the two-part podcast interview, Prof. Magness discusses the fascinating site of Masada, which was the topic of her recent book, Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth (Princeton University Press, 2019), and where she also worked as co-director of the 1995 excavations of the Roman siege works.

For Part 1 of the interview (“Besieging Masada”), click here.

For Part 2 of the interview (“Myths of Masada”), click here.

For more about The Ancients podcast in general, click here.

Posted in Faculty News on February 22, 2021  

Prof. Marienberg’s New Book, Sting and Religion

Professor Evyatar Marienberg has just published his new book, Sting and Religion: The Catholic-Shaped Imagination of a Rock Icon (Cascade Press / Wipf and Stock, 2021). From the publisher’s website description of the book:

On the back cover of one of his most groundbreaking solo albums, . . . Nothing like the Sun of 1987, Sting (Gordon Matthew Sumner, b. 1951 in Wallsend, UK) somberly stands close to a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The album was released a few months after his own mother, Audrey, died. The picture was taken on the island of Montserrat, where he was recording the album, apparently on the day of her death. “I said goodbye to my mother, as I had a recording date in Montserrat, and she died a week later.” When asked by the author if his mother was particularly connected to Mary, and if this was why he chose this image, he replied “No, but I did.” This evocative photograph and Sting’s quick answer encapsulate the two pillars of this book: a microhistory of a specific British Catholic parish in the 1950s-60s, and the impact that growing up there had on Sting’s artistic output. And beyond that, this book opens a window onto the influence of Catholic education and imagination on millions of less famous people who had similar upbringings.

A discount voucher for purchasing the book, as well as much more information on the work, can be found on the book’s website:

For previous posts on Prof. Marienberg’s work on this topic, see here and here.

Posted in Faculty Publications on January 27, 2021  
David Lambert on “The Idea of Scripture” (Podcast)

Prof. David Lambert was recently featured on The Biggest Questions, a podcast produced by the University of Chicago Divinity School. In the podcast interview, Prof. Lambert discusses his current research on the idea of Scripture, including the concept of “assemblages” as a way of approaching religious texts in antiquity.

To listen to the podcast episode, click here.

For more about The Biggest Questions podcast in general, click here.

Posted in Faculty News on January 2, 2021  

“Fall into your Major” Interview with Professor Bayne and Professor Cooper

Professor Brandon Bayne and Professor Andrea Cooper were interviewed by Erin Villeneuve, an Academic Advisor in The College of Arts and Sciences at UNC, as part of a virtual “Fall into your Major” event.

Posted in News & Events on September 28, 2020  
A Distinguished Scholar Webinar featuring Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Professor of Religious Studies, is the author or editor of more than 30 books, including the forthcoming Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife. In this webinar, organized by Carolina Public Humanities, he will examine views of the afterlife from the Ancient Near East, Greek, and Roman cultures, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the early centuries of the church, showing where the ideas of paradise and hell came from and how they became a dominant religious view in the West.

This webinar is a virtual event. Tuition is $40, which includes “admission” to the webinar in real time (with live Q&A). Registrants will receive instructions for accessing the event online by the morning of November 5.

The webinar will take place from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on both Nov. 5 and 6. For further details and to register, click here!

Posted in Faculty News on September 22, 2020  
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  
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