Dr. Youssef Carter Joins the Department as Assistant Professor

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. Bookmark the permalink.

Prof. Marienberg on Sting and Religion

Prof. Marienberg on Sting and Religion
 

Professor Evyatar Marienberg published a guest blog post on the University of Toronto Press website called “When a rock star whose picture you had on your wall as a teenager becomes your topic of academic study as an adult.” He describes his project on the religious themes in Sting’s music and life. Prof. Marienberg also highlights a recent article in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, “O My God: Religion in Sting’s Early Lyrics.”

From the blog post:

“We are all influenced, in different ways, by popular culture. Our popular culture is influenced, in different ways, by religion. What occurs when those among us who are not only influenced by, but actually contribute much to, the popular culture around us, have religion influence them as well? This result is of particular interest for me, and for many of those writing for this journal.

“Having contemporary Catholicism as one of my main fields of interest, I quickly realized that Sting represents the type of Catholics I am most interested in: those who were born about a decade before the Second Council of the Vatican (a meeting of the world’s Catholic bishops from 1962 to 1965), which brought huge changes to Catholicism.”

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on January 31, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.

Masada by Jodi Magness: 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist

Masada by Jodi Magness: 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist
 

Professor Jodi Magness’s recent book, Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 National Jewish Book Award in History (the Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award). The Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards were estab­lished by the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil in 1950 in order to rec­og­nize out­stand­ing works of Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture.

From a review of the book by Gila Wertheimer:

“In her new book, Masa­da: From Jew­ish Revolt to Mod­ern Myth, Mag­ness re-exam­ines the sto­ry of Masa­da, set­ting it in its his­tor­i­cal con­text dur­ing the peri­od of the Sec­ond Tem­ple. As part of this she includes the fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries of 19th cen­tu­ry explor­ers who trav­elled to the area, many search­ing for bib­li­cal sites, but on their return pro­vid­ed valu­able infor­ma­tion about the inhos­pitable region. She address­es ques­tions some schol­ars have today about the accu­ra­cy of the sto­ry of mass sui­cide, tak­en from the mul­ti-vol­ume The Jew­ish War by the Jew­ish his­to­ri­an Flav­ius Jose­phus… Mag­ness has man­aged the dif­fi­cult feat of writ­ing for both the schol­ar and the inter­est­ed non-spe­cial­ist read­er. There is plen­ty of archae­o­log­i­cal detail and descrip­tion, which comes with the his­to­ry of the area as well as top­ics such as how the Jews got to Masa­da, how they sur­vived, and how the desert fortress became part of the foun­da­tion­al sto­ry of the mod­ern state of Israel.”

Congratulations, Jodi!

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on January 21, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.

McLester Colloquium with Dr. Carl Ernst

McLester Colloquium with Dr. Carl Ernst
 
For the department’s McLester Seminar last week, we were pleased to hear from our very own Carl Ernst, Kenan Distinguished Professor in Religious Studies, who presented on the topic of “Anglo-Persian Texts and The Colonial Understanding of Religion.” In characteristic fashion, Dr. Ernst examined a pair of often-neglected texts from the early British-Indian colonial encounter in order to uncover the concepts and taxonomies of religion they reflect. We were grateful for the opportunity to hear from Dr. Ernst on this fascinating subject, and the talk was followed by a wonderful time of conversation over refreshments.
Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News on November 4, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Andrea Cooper is Recipient of First Book Subvention Prize

Andrea Cooper is Recipient of First Book Subvention Prize
 

Professor Andrea Cooper has received a First Book Subvention Prize from the Association for Jewish Studies. According to the committee, her manuscript “will have a tremendous impact on the field of Jewish studies.” Her book, Beyond Brotherhood: Gendering Modern Jewish Thought, is under contract with Indiana University Press in the series New Jewish Philosophy and Thought.

Congratulations, Andrea!

 

Posted in Faculty News on July 10, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Brendan Thornton to Speak at WPU Interdisciplinary Conference

Brendan Thornton to Speak at WPU Interdisciplinary Conference
 

Professor Brendan Thornton will be the keynote speaker for a conference at William Peace University in October on “Exploring the Macabre, Malevolent, and Mysterious…” Conference organizers invite proposals for paper presentations, demonstrations, and interactive workshops that explore the macabre, malevolent, and mysterious. The deadline for submission is August 1st.

For more information on the conference and how to submit proposals, visit www.peace.edu/peaceic.

Posted in Faculty News on July 5, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Dr. Waleed Ziad Joins the Department as Assistant Professor

Dr. Waleed Ziad Joins the Department as Assistant Professor
 

The Department of Religious Studies would like to extend its warmest welcome to Dr. Waleed Ziad, who joins the faculty as Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies. Dr. Ziad holds a Ph.D. in History (with Distinction) from Yale University, and his research focuses on the religious landscape of the modern Persianate world. His doctoral dissertation at Yale won the Theron Rockwell Field Prize, a university-wide award given for an exceptional “poetic, literary, or religious work” of scholarship. Prior to coming to Carolina, Dr. Ziad served as Assistant Professor in Comparative Liberal Studies at Habib University, the first full-fledged liberal arts university in Pakistan, from 2017-2019. In addition to numerous publications in academic venues, Dr. Ziad’s writing has also appeared in journalistic outlets such as The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Hill.

Posted in Faculty News on July 1, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Faculty Promotions: Brandon Bayne and Brendan Thornton

Faculty Promotions: Brandon Bayne and Brendan Thornton
 

We are pleased to announce that, as of July 1, 2019, two members of our faculty have been promoted to new ranks in the department:

Brandon Bayne has been promoted to Associate Professor. Dr. Bayne specializes in the study religion in the Americas and Medieval and Early Modern Christianity, particularly European and indigenous encounters in the contact zones of the Americas. He teaches a range of courses in the area of religion in the Americas, including recent courses on “Catholicism in America” (RELI 142), “The Reformations” (RELI 454), “Readings in American Religion to 1865” (RELI 744), and “Religion and Cultural Contact in America” (RELI 842).

ThorntonBrendan Thornton is now Associate Professor in the department. Dr. Thornton specializes in the intersections of religion, culture, and identity in the Caribbean, concentrating on the ethnographic study of Pentecostal Christianity and the intersecting themes of gender, cultural change, and religious authority in the Caribbean and Latin America. He teaches a variety of course in the areas of Christianity and the supernatural, including “Supernatural Encounters: Zombies, Vampires, Demons and the Occult in the Americas” (RELI 246), “Anthropology of Christianity” (RELI 352), “Spirit Possession” (RELI 427), and “Christianity and Cultural Change” (RELI 721).

Congratulations to Brandon and Brendan!

Posted in Faculty News on July 1, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

National Gallery Public Symposium with Barbara Ambros

National Gallery Public Symposium with Barbara Ambros
 

On June 7th, professor and department chair Barbara Ambros will give a talk at the public symposium, “The Role and Representation of Animals in Japanese Art and Culture,” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the National Gallery’s exhibit titled “The Life of Animals in Japanese Art.” The exhibition catalog also contains one of her articles. From the National Gallery website:

“The Life of Animals in Japanese Art takes an expansive look at the representation of animals in a variety of art forms, including painted screens, hanging scrolls, woodblock prints, netsuke, ceramic plates, kimono, and samurai helmets. The selection portrays all types of creatures—from foxes and frogs, snakes and sparrows to mythical animals such as dragons, phoenixes, and kappa river sprites. To explore the many roles animals have played in Japanese culture, objects are divided into thematic sections: Ancient Japan;The Japanese Zodiac; Religion: Buddhism, Zen, Shinto; Myth and Folklore; The World of the Samurai; Exotic Creatures and the Study of Nature; The Natural World: Creatures on Land, in the Air, and in Rivers and Seas; and The World of Leisure. This historic exhibition is co-organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Japan Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), with special cooperation from the Tokyo National Museum.”

Images from the exhibition (courtesy of the National Gallery):

Kaigyokusai Masatsugu – Wild Boar, Edo – Meiji periods, mid-to-late 19th century (photo © Museum Associates/LACMA)

Kusama Yayoi – Sho-chan, Heisei period, 2013 (Private collection © Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai)

Unknown Artist – Charger with Carp Ascending Waterfall, Edo period, 19th century (Segawa Takeo)

Unknown Artist – Pair of Sacred Monkeys, Heian period, 11th century (photo (C) Museum Associates / LACMA)

Kaih Y ken – The Passing of Shaka, Edo period, 1713 (Sh j ke’in, Kyoto)

Posted in Faculty News on June 4, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. (1930-2019)

Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. (1930-2019)
 
Tyson

Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. (Photo: Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ruel W. Tyson, Jr., Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, as well as the founder of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, on Thursday, May 30, 2019. He was 88.

It is difficult to overstate the profound influence that Prof. Tyson had on our department and on the study of the arts and humanities at UNC. He joined the Carolina faculty in 1967 and was a beloved teacher and visionary leader for the next four decades. We also remember him as an exceedingly generous and supportive colleague.

We will have more in the coming days, but for now, see the news story on the IAH website.

The IAH has also created a special page as a tribute to Prof. Tyson here.

Posted in Faculty News, News & Events on June 3, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.