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)
 
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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.

Encountering Nepal’s Sacred Sites through 3D Models

Encountering Nepal’s Sacred Sites through 3D Models
 

In summer 2018, Prof. Lauren Leve won a CFE/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grant from the UNC Center for Faculty Excellence to develop digital tools for visualizing sacred sites in Nepal, with the assistance of PhD candidate Brad Erickson. The goal was to enable students to explore, as authentically as possible, the wonder and beauty of these sites even if they were not able to visit them in person. Recently, they were featured on the Lenovo Story Hub for this work, which involved a five-day training session on photogrammetry and virtual reality techniques held in Kathmandu, with participants that included a wide variety of Nepali professionals interested in cultural preservation.

For the full story, see here.

To view Brad’s 3D models of the Swayambhunath site in Kathmandu (and of many other objects and sites), click here.

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Prof. Leve with camera equipment at Swayambhunath

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The photogrammetry and VR modeling workshop (with Brad Erickson, top right)

Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News on May 21, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Immanent Frame Forum on Divine Motherhood by Prof. Juliane Hammer

Immanent Frame Forum on Divine Motherhood by Prof. Juliane Hammer
 

presentationFollowing on last year’s Immanent Frame forum on divine fatherhood, Prof. Juliane Hammer, along with Prof. Vincent Lloyd of Villanova University, have co-curated a new online forum on divine motherhood that will be published over the coming weeks. From the introduction to the new forum:

What if God is not Father but Mother, or both? What if God is not even a parental figure at all?… Rather than posing a straightforward answer to Mary Daly’s implicit question of what lies beyond God the Father, perhaps the most generative way of engaging with divine motherhood is to ask how it might invite us to fundamentally alter what we mean by motherhood and what we mean by divinity.

For the main page of the forum, see here, where newly published pieces will appear in the weeks ahead.

You can also read the Introduction to the forum and the first contribution, “Must a female God mother?”, by Rebecca Todd Peters.

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

Departmental Honors Event and Awards Ceremony

Departmental Honors Event and Awards Ceremony
 

On Wednesday, April 17, our department held two events celebrating the achievements of our students and faculty.

The first was an Honors Event that recognized the undergraduate students who completed a Senior Honors Thesis this year as well as those seniors whose academic excellence was sufficient to earn membership into Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honors Society for students in the fields of religious studies and theology. The Honors Thesis writers each gave a description of their research, while the Theta Alpha Kappa inductees received certificates, pins, and cords to mark their achievement.

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Students describing their honors theses: Kristen Roehrig, Brodie Heginbotham, and Ashley Cantu

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The presentation of certificates, pins, and cords

The second was our annual Awards Ceremony, in which we acknowledged the various achievements of our undergraduates, graduate students, as well as faculty. This year we had a number of honored guests, including former faculty members in our department, who joined to add special meaning to the ceremony. A great time was had by all.

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Our department chair, Barbara Ambros, welcoming everyone

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Display table with memorabilia

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Time of refreshments afterwards

Posted in Events, Faculty News, Graduate Student News, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 30, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Professor Jodi Magness Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Jodi Magness Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
 

magnessDr. Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The new members announcement can be found here.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest and most prestigious learned societies in the United States, and its members include more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. From the Academy’s website:

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

Prof. Magness came to Carolina in 2003, after having previously taught at Tufts University from 1992 to 2002. She holds a B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her widely acclaimed publications include The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdmans 2002), The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine (Eisenbrauns 2003), and The Archaeology of the Holy Land from the Destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim Conquest (Cambridge 2012). She is also the current President of the Archaeological Institute of America (2017-2019). She has participated in over 20 different archaeological excavations in Israel and Greece, and since 2011 she has directed excavations at the site of Huqoq in Galilee (www.huqoq.org).

We congratulate Jodi on this tremendous honor!

Posted in Faculty News on April 17, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Faculty Statement Regarding Racist and Antisemitic Incidents on Campus

Faculty Statement Regarding Racist and Antisemitic Incidents on Campus
 

Statement by Faculty in the Department of Religious Studies Regarding Recent Racist and Antisemitic Incidents on Campus
April 15, 2019

We condemn in the strongest terms the recent racist and antisemitic incidents on campus. Messages of hate concern us all. Repugnant and open displays of racism and antisemitism run counter to the values of an inclusive, safe, and welcoming campus environment for all. We firmly reject all forms of hatred and affirm our commitment to making this campus a place where all can be free from harassment and discrimination.

Posted in Faculty News, News & Events on April 15, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Professor Boon Wins 2019 SMFS Prize for Best Article

Professor Boon Wins 2019 SMFS Prize for Best Article
 


Dr. Jessica Boon, Associate Professor in Religious Studies, has won the 2019 Prize for Best Article of Feminist Scholarship on the Middle Ages from the Society for Feminist Medieval Scholarship. This prize is awarded every two years (in odd numbered years) and was “established in 2004 as a way for the Society for Feminist Medieval Scholarship to recognize outstanding scholarly contributions.” The prize includes a monetary award and will be officially presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in May.

Professor Boon’s winning article, titled “At the Limits of (Trans)Gender: Jesus, Mary, and the Angels in the Visionary Sermons of Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534),” was published in the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies in 2018 and explores the visionary sermons of Juana de la Cruz through the more precise analytical categories derived from contemporary approaches to gender. To read the article, click here.

Congratulations, Jes!

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Publications on February 19, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

The New Dr. Ali Jarrahi Term Professorship

The New Dr. Ali Jarrahi Term Professorship
 

The Department of Religious Studies is pleased to announce the creation of a new tenure-track faculty position in Islamic Studies, with a focus on Persian/Iranian studies, funded by the Dr. Ali Jarrahi Term Professorship. The Jarrahi family have been long-time supporters of Persian studies at UNC, and we are grateful for their generosity, which will help to bolster UNC’s existing strengths in the areas of Persian language and culture.

For more details on the new position, see the announcements here and here.

Posted in Faculty News, News & Events on February 4, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Carolina Stories Magazine Features Huqoq Mosaics and Professor Jodi Magness’ Annual Expedition

Carolina Stories Magazine Features Huqoq Mosaics and Professor Jodi Magness’ Annual Expedition
 

Professor Jodi Magness‘ annual summer expedition to Huqoq brings students together to uncover ancient mosaics depicting biblical scenes. This is the 111th story in the Carolina Stories Magazine, a Magazine published to highlight the achievements made possible through Carolina Giving.

Photo by Jim Haberman

“This is by far the most extensive series of biblical stories ever found decorating the mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue,” said Magness. “The arrangement of the mosaics in panels on the floor brings to mind the synagogue at Dura Europos in Syria, where an array of biblical stories is painted in panels on the walls.” – Read more in an earlier edition of the Carolina Stories Magazine

Update: The Mosaics, and the story behind them, have been featured on The National Geographic and Fox News. For the latest news coverage of the Huqoq mosaics please visit the Huqoq Excavation Project website.

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Pubs & Profiles, Faculty Spotlight, News & Events on November 7, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.