Ph.D. Candidate Katherine Merriman on New York City’s Forgotten Muslim Past

Ph.D. Candidate Katherine Merriman on New York City’s Forgotten Muslim Past
 

UNC Religious Studies Ph.D. Candidate Katherine Merriman was recently featured in the New Yorker discussing the Muslim History Tour she leads in New York City.

From the New Yorker:

“For the past four years, Merriman has been giving Muslim-history tours of Trump’s home town, focussing on Harlem. ‘There are roughly three hundred mosques in New York City,’ she said the other day. ‘New York is one of the most, if not the most, diverse Muslim cities in the world. There is no such thing as a ‘Muslim world’ somewhere else.’

…This summer, Merriman will start a Wall Street-area tour, which will cover Little Syria and the site of the Ottoman mosque on Rector Street. She told the group, ‘Your job is to keep these stories alive.’”

Katherine’s Muslim History Tour of New York City was also recently featured in the New York Times.

Congratulations, Katherine!

 

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on August 11, 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.

Dr. David Frankfurter at the McLester Colloquium

Dr. David Frankfurter at the McLester Colloquium
 

On Thursday, March 22, Dr. David Frankfurter joined us for our McLester Colloquium to speak on “Ancient Magic in a New Key: Refining an Exotic Discipline in the History of Religions.” Dr. Frankfurter is William Goodwin Aurelio Chair of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University.

In his talk, Dr. Frankfurter reconsidered the ways that “magic” has been embraced and treated in the study of Early Christianity. In his lecture, he subsequently advocated both a more rigorous approach to indigenous evaluations of ambiguous ritual and a more confident “etic” or descriptive use of the category magic. The fascinating lecture generated many questions and responses from the faculty and graduate students present and was followed by casual conversation over refreshments.

 

Posted in Events, Graduate Student News, News & Events on March 26, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Duke-UNC Graduate Middle East and Islamic Studies Conference

Duke-UNC Graduate Middle East and Islamic Studies Conference
 

The 15th Annual Duke-UNC Graduate Middle East and Islamic Studies Conference on “Map, Territory,​ and​ Boundary​” was held last week on Feb. 9-10 at Duke University, with participation from graduate students and faculty from both institutions. The conference explored geography and territoriality as not only the subjects of ongoing contestation, but also compelling paradigms to engage with broader interrelated questions pertaining to the modern makeup of the Middle East. Participants discussed the myriad of ways the themes of map, territory, and boundary open up new possibilities of insight in the contexts of the Middle East, Muslim communities, and their connected geographies. Congratulations to the conference organizers and participants on a successful conference!

    

 

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on February 10, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Dr. Shahla Talebi at the McLester Colloquium

Dr. Shahla Talebi at the McLester Colloquium
 


On Wednesday, January 31, Dr. Shahla Talebi joined us for the first of our McLester Colloquia for the Spring semester. Dr. Talebi is Associate Professor of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

In a lecture entitled “Traversing Religiopolitical Metaphors in Contemporary Iran,” Dr. Talebi discussed the significant metaphor of the event of Karbala in the history of Iranian Shi`i tradition. The lecture was thought-provoking and generated questions and responses from the faculty and graduate students present. As usual, the lecture was followed by casual conversation over refreshments.

Looking forward to the next McLester Colloquium!
 
 

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on January 31, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Katie Merriman Featured on NBC Asian America

Katie Merriman Featured on NBC Asian America
 

Katie Merriman, a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies in our department, is the founder of Muslim History Tours NYC, a walking tour of Harlem, New York covering important locations related to Muslim history in the city. (This was previously covered on our website here.)

Katie was just featured in a video on NBC discussing the tour:

The video can also be found here. Wonderful work, Katie!

Posted in Graduate Student News on October 22, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

Dr. Kent Brintnall at the McLester Colloquium

Dr. Kent Brintnall at the McLester Colloquium
 

BrintnallLast Wednesday, September 27, Dr. Kent Brintnall of UNC-Charlotte joined us for the first of our McLester Colloquia for the academic year. At Charlotte, Dr. Brintnall is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies as well as the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. This event was co-sponsored by the Program in Sexuality Studies here at UNC-Chapel Hill.

In a lecture titled “‘Forgetting Freud’: The Drive for Religion,” Brintnall offered a creative exploration of the development of Freud’s thought, drawing implications for contemporary understandings of religion. The lecture was thought-provoking and generated many questions and responses from the faculty and graduate students present. As usual, the lecture was followed by a time of casual conversation over refreshments.

Looking forward to the next McLester Colloquium!

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on October 4, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

New Discoveries at the 2017 Huqoq Excavations

New Discoveries at the 2017 Huqoq Excavations
 

UNC students

The 2017 season of the archaeological excavations at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee, led by Professor Jodi Magness, recently concluded at the end of June, and this season’s work uncovered new parts of the unique mosaic floor from the ancient synagogue at the site. Among the new mosaics are a Helios and zodiac cycle, a depiction of the biblical story of Jonah, and a scene of the construction of the Tower of Babel.

For more details on the discoveries, see the official press release here.

For reports from previous seasons of excavations at Huqoq, see here (9/14/2016), here (7/6/2016), and here (7/15/2014). You can also visit the excavation’s webpage at huqoq.org.

Capricorn

Part of the zodiac (Capricorn) from the Huqoq synagogue mosaic (photo by Jim Haberman)


Wood carver

Depiction of a wood carver from the Huqoq synagogue mosaic (photo by Jim Haberman)

Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, Undergraduate Accomplishments on July 9, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

2017 Department Awards Ceremony

2017 Department Awards Ceremony
 

Awards

On Wednesday, April 19, 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 University Room at Hyde Hall and was followed by a wonderful time of conversation over refreshments. The many recognitions we noted that day include:

Undergraduate Student Awards:

Phi Beta Kappa inductee: Morgan Ferone

Honors Theses:

  • Averyl Edwards, “Beyond a Cisgender Genesis: Reading the Creation Narratives Through a Transgender Feminist Lens”
  • Amrithaa Gunabalan, “An Unknowable Ideal: Objectivism as a New Religious Movement and the Subsequent Institutionalization of Ayn Rand’s Ideas in American Politics”

Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize: Averyl Edwards

Graduate Student Awards:

Peck Prize for Graduate Student Teaching: Joanna Smith

Religious Studies Department Summer Research Awards: Patrick D’Silva, Brad Erickson, Shannon Schorey, Joanna Smith, and Tim Smith

GSOC Peer Recognition Teaching Award: Micah Hughes

Styers-welcome

Welcome from Prof. Randall Styers

Boyd-Prize

Prof. Todd Ochoa with Averyl Edwards, winner of the Boyd Prize

books

Prof. Lauren Leve presents a summer research award to Patrick D’Silva

ABD

Joanna Smith and Isaiah Ellis presenting the coveted “ABD” mugs

books

Books published by our faculty over the past year

Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 26, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

Virtual Reality Meets Archaeology: Visualizing Ancient Synagogues

Virtual Reality Meets Archaeology: Visualizing Ancient Synagogues
 

Brad Erickson, a doctoral student in Ancient Mediterranean Religions and a scholar of ancient Judaism, has incorporated 3-D virtual modeling in his archaeological research to aid in the visualization of ancient synagogues. On Thursday, April 6, Brad participated in the UNC Research Hub Showcase, an event in which scholars from across the university had the opportunity to demonstrate how the resources of the Research Hub have advanced their work. Brad’s station at the event allowed participants to walk through virtual models he created of the ancient synagogues at Sepphoris and Beit Alpha using a virtual reality headset.

To view some of Brad’s 3-D models for yourself, click here (synagogue models) and here (synagogue mosaics).

Brad-demo

Brad Erickson explaining the intricacies of 3-D modeling

Lam-VR-headset-ceiling

Prof. Joseph Lam gazing up at the ceiling of the synagogue

Lam-VR-headset

Getting accustomed to the VR headset

Sepphoris

A rendering from inside the virtual reality model: the interior of the Sepphoris synagogue

Posted in Graduate Student News on April 13, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.