Religion Department

"Dear Marco Rubio..."

"Dear Marco Rubio: Welcome to New Hampshire," writes Randall Balmer in his January 10, 2016, Valley News opinion piece. "It's come to my attention that you've been assailing the liberal arts on the campaign trail....Today, the liberal arts encompass, as Merriam-Webster defines it, 'areas of study (such as history, language, and literature) that are intended to give you general knowledge rather than to develop specific skills needed for a profession,'" he continues. "I'm sure you'll find a few voters here who will cheer your excoriations of the liberal arts; anti-intellectualism, after all, has a long and storied history in the United States. But you'll find others - many, many more, I hope - who believe that critical thinking is not such a bad thing, that it might even be crucial to the future of a democratic society."

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'?

"Speak Out Against Islamophobia"

Professor Susannah Heschel and two other prominent academics spoke out his week at Boston University, urging students to counter anti-Islam bigotry in the wake of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's controversial call to bar Muslims from entering the country, reports The Boston Globe. Professor Heschel told the crowd that gathered on the university campus that "it's not Islam that makes somebody decide, 'I want to kill someone.' It doesn't work that way."

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, GR'15, Named Marshall Scholar

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, GR'15, has been named a 2016 Marshall Scholar. The scholarship will allow Khan to pursue a Master's of Philosophy in Islamic studies and history at Oxford University. Khan's research at Oxford will focus on classical Islamic law from the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries. Associate Professor of Religion Kevin Reinhart, who advised him on a graduate research paper, says of Khan, "He will be great for the Marshall program because he is a very fine scholar and representative of Dartmouth and U.S. students. He is also a Muslim scholar with a strong commitment to his heritage and to academic research methods and approaches. I'm thrilled for Ibrahim and utterly confident that he will go on to be a major contributor in Islamicate history studies."

Up to 40 Americans each year are selected for the award, which was created by the government of the U.K. in 1953 to "strengthen the enduring relationships between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions." The scholarship is named in recognition of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall's work to restore Europe in the aftermath of World War II.

West Africa's Women of God

Professor Robert Baum's new book, West Africa's Women of God: Alinesitoué and the Diola Prophetic Tradition, just published by Indiana University Press, examines the history of direct revelation from Emitai, the Supreme Being, which has been central to the Diola religion from before European colonization to the present day. He charts the evolution of this movement from its origins as an exclusively male tradition to one that is largely female, and traces the response of Diola to the distinct challenges presented by conquest, colonial rule, and the post-colonial era. Looking specifically at the work of the most famous Diola woman prophet, Alinesitoué, Baum addresses the history of prophecy in West Africa and its impact on colonialism, the development of local religious traditions, and the role of women in religious communities.

 

 

 

A Scottish Thanksgiving

Dartmouth Now's recent article, "Far-Flung Thanksgiving: Off-Campus Programs Celebrate," includes a description of how the Religion and Philosophy FSPs - led by Religion Professor Kevin Reinhart and Philosophy Professor Susan Brison and both held at the University of Edinburgh this term - are combining forces to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Their Thanksgiving dinner, which will include turkey with all the fixings as well as vegetarian haggis, will be hosted in the home of a Dartmouth alum from the Class of 1974 who teaches at the university. One of the students on the Religion FSP comments, "The Dartmouth network never ceases to amaze me."

Religion in the Kitchen

Elizabeth Pérez' new book, Religion in the Kitchen: Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions, will be published by New York University Press in January, 2016. In the book, which will be the subject of a roundtable discussion at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Prof. Pérez takes an intersectional approach to micropractices of cooking and talking in the intimate space of one, predominantly African-American community's kitchen, arguing that they season practitioners into gendered and racialized forms of subjectivity.

Afro-Cuban Dance Workshop!

Professor Elizabeth Pérez has arranged an Afro-Cuban dance workshop for her Religion 17 (African Religions of the Americas) and Religion 52 (Religion and Music in Cuba) courses. On Thursday, November 12, between 12 and 2pm, in the Hop Garage Studio Space, dance master Reynaldo González Fernández and drummer Stuart Paton will offer a master class on dances for the spirits of several different Afro-Cuban traditions, including West African-derived Lucumí/Santería and Central African-inspired Palo Monte. Reynaldo González Fernández has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (https://www.bso.org/n-s/reynaldo-gonzález-fernández,-afro-cuban-singer-and-dancer.aspx) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (https://www.laphil.com/philpedia/reynaldo-gonzalez-fernandez), among other key cultural institutions. Join us!

Randall Balmer on Comprehending History, Culture, Through Religion

In an interview for Dartmouth Now, Professor Randall Balmer, recently named the John Phillips Professor in Religion (the oldest endowed professorship at Dartmouth), asserts that "I don't believe that you can understand American history and culture without understanding the role of religion, and that has informed my intellectual agenda. And religion in America has been profoundly shaped by the cultural and historical context of the United States, so that interests me as well."

Pages