McLester Colloquium with Pamela Klassen

McLester Colloquium with Pamela Klassen
 

This Wednesday, February 26, we were pleased to hear from Dr. Pamela Klassen at this month’s McLester Colloquium on “Metals and Memory: Gold and the Metaphysics of Colonial Territory.”

Pamela Klassen is a Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion, cross-appointed to Anthropology, at the University of Toronto, where she is also Vice-Dean, Undergraduate & International in the Faculty of Arts & Science. She teaches in the areas of the anthropology and history of Christianity and colonialism in North America, religion in the public sphere, and religion, law, media, and gender.

We were grateful for the opportunity to hear from Professor Klassen on this fascinating topic.

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on February 27, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.

2020 Majors and Minors Dinner

2020 Majors and Minors Dinner
 

On Tuesday, February 11, we held our annual Religious Studies Majors and Minors dinner with undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty in attendance. Our speaker this year was John Miller, a graduate of UNC’s Religious Studies department and the UNC School of Law. He is currently a first-year PhD student in Religious Studies, on the Islamic studies track. It was a great time–thanks to all who came!

Some of our wonderful students and their new Religious Studies shirts!

Our speaker for the evening, John Miller

Posted in News & Events on February 14, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.

McLester Colloquium with Paula Fredriksen

McLester Colloquium with Paula Fredriksen
 

Last Wednesday, January 29, Paula Fredriksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University, presented on the topic of “Urban Fires, Roman Emperors, and the Persecution of Christians” at the first McLester Seminar of 2020. Since 2009, Professor Fredriksen has been Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she also holds two honorary doctorates in theology and religious studies. We were grateful for the opportunity to hear from Dr. Fredriksen on this fascinating topic, and the talk was followed by a wonderful time of conversation over refreshments.

Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on February 3, 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.

Religion, Politics and Culture in Israel (Spring 2020 Course)

Religion, Politics and Culture in Israel (Spring 2020 Course)
 

Our department is offering a brand new course next semester, taught by Professor Yaakov Ariel. It is called Religion, Politics and Culture in Israel (RELI 343) and represents a great addition to our selection of courses. There is still room in the course, so don’t miss your chance to take it and add it to your Spring 2020 schedules!

“The course offers a panoramic view and analytical understanding of Israel’s culture, politics and religious life and groups, as well as a window into the political, religious, and ethnic realities of the Middle East at large. The course will offer an opportunity to study the religious communities operating in the country and their relationship with the Israeli state, as well as the place of religion in the international relations and global policies of Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.”

 

Posted in News & Events on December 10, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

RELI Class Visits to the Wilson Special Collections Library

RELI Class Visits to the Wilson Special Collections Library
 

In the last few weeks, Religious Studies students had opportunities to visit the Wilson Special Collections Library to view a variety of objects and works in connection with current courses.

Professor Joseph Lam led a group of graduate students in Akkadian on a visit to view the cuneiform tablets and other related objects in their Special Collections. Cuneiform was the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia, involving the use of a stylus to make triangular wedges on clay. These are the oldest objects in Wilson Library (the oldest of which are dated to before 2000 BCE). They were hosted by Dr. Emily Kader, the Rare Books Research Librarian at Wilson Library.

Wilson Library

Emily Kader giving an introduction to handling cuneiform tablets.

cuneiform

A cuneiform tablet envelope from ancient Mesopotamia.

Professor Brandon Bayne’s RELI 448 class, ‘Religion in Early America’, also had the opportunity to work with a variety of original sources and rare books in Wilson Library. Guided by Sarah Carrier, a librarian with the North Carolina Collection, the students examined a diverse set of Moravian, Quaker, Baptist, Presbyterian, Muslim, and Jewish documents produced in NC before the Civil War.

Wilson Library

Prof. Bayne’s class working with Wilson Library’s rare books.

Posted in News & Events on November 26, 2019. 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.

Spring 2020 Courses

Spring 2020 Courses
 

Here are the courses we are offering for the Spring 2020 semester! (Click on each slide for a PDF version of the poster.)

For the entire Spring course schedule with meeting times and room assignments, see here. Also check ConnectCarolina for the most up-to-date scheduling information.

Posted in News & Events on October 24, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Job Posting: Assistant Professor and Kenan Rifai Fellow in Islamic Studies

Job Posting: Assistant Professor and Kenan Rifai Fellow in Islamic Studies
 

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position as Assistant Professor and Kenan Rifai Fellow in Islamic Studies. Research interests should include a focus on Sufism and/or Islamic spiritual traditions, but the area of specialization is open and could include gender and sexuality, critical race theory, social history, ethnography of religion, Islamic philosophy and science, foundational Islamic texts, or other specializations. We seek to complement the existing regional expertise of our current faculty, and we seek applicants who will help engender a climate that values diversity in all its forms. Candidates should demonstrate broad training in their field of expertise, the relevant linguistic competencies, a commitment to interdisciplinary work, and engagement with significant theoretical issues in the study of religion. The successful candidate will be expected to teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses (including introductory and upper-level courses in Islamic studies) and to contribute to the Islamic studies concentration in the Department. The successful candidate is expected to have a Ph.D. in hand by the time the appointment begins on July 1, 2020.

The application deadline is December 2, 2019. For more information, including details on how to apply, see https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/169864.

Posted in News & Events on September 27, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.