Devin Singh

I Read, Therefore I Think

"What place do theological and confessionally religious texts have in a secular, private liberal arts curriculum?" asks Religion Professor Devin Singh in his feature article, "I Read, Therefore I Think," in the September-October, 2016, issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. Singh believes that including theology in the liberal arts curriculum can help foster generous and empathetic reading, helps disrupt the myth of academic objectivity, provides unique insights into Western culture and society, projects alternative possible worlds, and invites critical analysis. "Even as theology helped shape humanistic perspectives in the Western university and provided a framework for the liberal arts," he concludes, "its presence continues to help prepare students to analyze and respond to the full scope of human experience in the world today."

New Religion Faculty

Thirty-six scholars - including two new Religion Department faculty - joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2016. Read more about Professors Zahra Ayubi, whose research is on women and gender in prescriptive discourses and ethical thought in both pre-modern and modern Islam and also teaches in the Women and Sexuality Studies Program, and Devin Singh, who studies how the framework of religion is helpful in understanding the influence of money in economy and society, in Dartmouth Now.

The Panama Papers and the Ritual of Confession

In his op-ed article in Religion Now, Professor Devin Singh notes that "the Panama Papers caught some of the most powerful people on the globe in the act of self-dealing. Now the public wants the guilty to come clean, step into the light, and confess their financial misdeeds." But, Singh observes, "While such confession might be an important public ritual, there are reasons to believe that confession won't make the sins disappear and they'll likely happen again."

Is Donald Trump a Tyrant?

To the ancient Greeks, "from whom we derive the political concepts that undergird our democracy," a tyrant (tyrannos) is "a figure who, usually through great personal wealth, circumvents established political processes to attain power. Often an outsider or one of the wealthy elite, the tyrant flouts conventions of discourse and forums for debate. The tyrant ignores traditions of deliberation and steamrolls opposition. Ultimately, a tyrant rises to power in ways that undermine democratic structures, leaving the ruler unaccountable to those ruled or to the checks and balances of the system." In his OpEd piece for Time, "This is What Ancient Greeks Would Have Called Donald Trump," Professor Devin Singh goes back to this definition and explores whether or not Donald Trump is a tyrant, fitting this definition, and if he poses a "fundamental threat to American democracy."

Market Faith in Anxious Times

Coverage of market behavior, as shown in the articles on the recent stock market tumble in China, are "deeply tied to religion - and particularly the language of faith," observes Religion Professor Devin Singh in his OpEd article in the Huffington Post. "Both the religious background to equilibrium theory and the posture of faith that is expected of market actors raise questions about the ideal response to market panics. Just as various natural disasters...put theories of divine providence into question, so repeated financial crises are bringing equilibrium theory under greater scrutiny. It's not at all apparent that markets will self-regulate and should thus be left to themselves -- whatever that may mean.Does authentic market faith mean remaining calm in the face of collapse, trusting predictive models that tell of eventual return and restabilization? Shall we rationalize collateral economic damage as blips on a graph of the ordained 'greater good'?

New Religion Department Faculty

This fall, the Religion Department will be welcoming two new faculty members, Zahra Ayubi and Devin Singh.

Zahra Ayubi, who comes to us from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and who will be teaching Religion 8 (Introduction to Islam) and Religion 26 (Islam in America) in Fall Term, has focussed her research on women and gender in prescriptive discourses and ethical thought in both pre-modern and modern Islam. Her scholarship is a feminist engagement with the Islamic intellectual tradition that seeks to advance understandings of the ways that gender is constructed in Islamic philosophy and operates in historical and contemporary transnational Muslim communities. At Dartmouth, she also teaches courses in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.