Kathryn Lofton Keynote Address

Kathryn Lofton Keynote Address

On Saturday, May 12, Dr. Kathryn Lofton, (PhD UNC 2005), Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, delivered the keynote address at UNC’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. Dr. Lofton is a historian of religion who has written extensively about capitalism, celebrity, sexuality, and the concept of the secular. In her work, she has examined the ways the history of religion is constituted by the history of popular culture and the emergence of corporations in modernity. You can watch Dr. Lofton’s Keynote Address below:


Posted in Alumni News, News & Events on May 21, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

2018 Department Awards Ceremony

2018 Department Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday, April 18, the department held its annual awards ceremony at which we celebrated the accomplishments of our students and faculty over the past year. The ceremony was held in the Graduate Student Center and was followed by a wonderful time of conversation over refreshments. The many recognitions we noted that day include:

Undergraduate Student Awards:

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards:

Ingrid Kottke, “Witchcraft as Crime in the Treatises of King James VI and I and Matthew Hopkins”

Sydra Siddiqui, “Narratives of Healing and Personhood in Indian and Tanzanian Society”

Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize: Sydra Siddiqui

Graduate Student Awards:

Peck Prize for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence: Miguel Vargas

Religious Studies Department Summer Research Awards:

Isaiah Ellis,“American Architecture and American Religion: A Case Study in the Spiritual Valences of the Urban West”

Joanna Smith, “Secrecy, Limits, and the Configuration of Bodies at the Modern Slaughterhouse”

GSOC Peer Recognition Teaching Award: Ehsan Sheikholharam  


Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 26, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards

Announcing the winners of the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award:

Named in honor of David J. Halperin (Rabbinic Judaism) and John Howard Schütz (New Testament), former faculty members of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Religious Studies who were influential on a generation of students through their interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching, this essay competition recognizes undergraduate scholarship in the study of religion.

The winners are Ingrid Kottke, for a Capstone paper in RELI 697: “Witchcraft as Crime in the Treatises of King James VI and I and Matthew Hopkins;” and Sydra Siddiqui, for a selection from the Honors thesis, “Construction of The Body and Personhood: A Comparative Analysis of Religious and Indigenous Healing Practices in India and Tanzania,” Chapter 2: “Narratives of Healing and Personhood in Indian and Tanzanian Society.”

Congratulations to the winners!

Posted in News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 23, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

RELI Instagram Contest Winners

RELI Instagram Contest Winners

Announcing the winners of our RELI Instagram contest:
Most Likes: Jessie Mosley
Faculty Appreciation Award: Emily Parker
Congratulations to the winners, and thank you all for submitting your photos! You can follow us on Instagram at @reliunc.


Posted in News & Events on April 18, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

In Memory of Jonathan Hess

In Memory of Jonathan Hess

Our beloved colleague Jonathan Hess, Professor and Chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, passed away suddenly Monday afternoon, April 9. Hess had been department chair since 2016 and the Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Distinguished Professor of Jewish History and Culture since 2012. He had served as director for the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies for 10 years and was Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies.

More information on Professor Hess can be found here and here. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, UNC School of Law Professor Beth Posner, to his three daughters, and to his extended family, colleagues, and students.


Posted in News & Events on April 11, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Lauren Leve Wins James Fisher Prize

Lauren Leve Wins James Fisher Prize

The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) has announced that Lauren Leve, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Graduate Studies, has won the first James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region for her book The Buddhist Art of Living in Nepal: Ethical Practice and Religious Reform (Routledge, 2016). 

In honor of the scholarly contributions of Dr. James Fisher to scholarship in the region, the Fisher Prize honors books which contribute an innovative and lucid written account of Himalayan studies research. Professor Leve shares the prize with Sarah Shneiderman, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Professor Leve’s book chronicles how Theravada Buddhism has grown to have a significant presence in Nepal, especially among Newar communities of Kathmandu. The ANHS announcement includes the following statement: “Besides being a pleasure to read, the book’s significance lies in its ethnographic treatment of families adopting religious tenets which help them adjust to the contemporary changes of late modernity and neoliberal globalization.”

Congratulations, Lauren!


Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Pubs & Profiles on April 4, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.