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!
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.Graduate Student News, News & Events on February 3, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.|
Here are the courses we are offering for the Spring 2020 semester! (Click on each slide for a PDF version of the poster.)
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.
On Wednesday, September 25, we were pleased to hear from Dr. Jon Bialecki, an Honorary Fellow of The University of Edinburgh, for our first McLester Colloquium of the academic year. He lectured on “‘All Mormons are Transhumanists’: hybridity, double captures, double slits, and arrays”. We are grateful for the opportunity to host Dr. Bialecki for this event and for the discussion that his presentation generated!Posted in Events, Graduate Student News on September 26, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.