Religion Department

Randall Balmer on Pope Francis

"The visit of Pope Francis to Capitol Hill this week promises to be good theater. It also will lay bare some of the polarities of the political system in the United States. In the context of American politics, which views everything and everyone in relentlessly dualistic terms – conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat – Francis gives both sides something to cheer. Conservatives applaud his condemnation of abortion. Liberals embrace his warnings about climate change, his attention to economic inequality and his advocacy for the poor, including immigrants." observes Religion Professor Randall Balmer in his analysis of the role of Roman Catholic popes in United States history in the September 23 issue of The Conversation.

 

The value of a liberal arts education

"I think the academic study of religion is a portal to the liberal arts." "Our [religion] students come out particularly well-schooled in their writing skills...their oral communication skills, and in their critical thinking skills." "Above all, [the study of religion] provides insight into what it means to be human." These observations, and more, by Religion Department faculty are part of a new film produced by the Department featuring Religion majors as well as faculty discussing the value of studying religion at Dartmouth.

(URL: https://youtu.be/9YKKq5GN_tM)

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.

Professor Susannah Heschel on the Massacre in Charleston

 “When are we going to have reparation—for slavery, for Jim Crow, for the new Jim Crow? Unless you give back, there is no repentance for you,” says Susannah Heschel, Professor of Religion and Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, in a recent panel discussion on MSNBC.

Professor Randall Balmer on presidential candidate Mike Huckabee

Dartmouth Now reports that in a Los Angeles Tmes opinion piece, Professor Randall Balmer says that Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is employing rhetoric that casts members of the religious right as victims of intolerance who are scorned for what they believe, and could even be jailed for it. Balmer writes, "Whereas a candidate such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky worries about personal liberties, Huckabee warns about religious persecution. 'I came to New Hampshire to announce that I will fight for your right to be left alone,' Paul declared at the beginning of his campaign." Professor Balmer will be teaching a class in "Religion, Politics, and the Presidency" (REL 62) in the Fall 2015 Term.

If Students Are Smart, They'll Major in What They Love

"If students are smart, they'll major in what they love," writes Dartmouth History professor and Dean of Faculty for Premajor Advising Cecilia Gaposchkin in the May 21, 2015, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Company representatives who recruit at [Dartmouth] consistently say they don't really care about someone's major. What they want are basic but difficult-to-acquire skills. When they ask students about their majors, it's usually not because they want to assess the applicants' mastery of the content, but rather because they want to know if the students can talk about what they learned. They care about a potential employee's abilities: writing, researching, quantitative, and analytical skills" and that "by allowing [students] to study what they are sincerely interested in, we allow them to become smarter, more creative, and more able. This is what potential employers value...."

Dartmouth's Geneva Bibles

Abby Thornburg '15, who is working on an independent study project with Religion Professor Susan Ackerman this term, has mounted a small exhibit in Rauner Library focused on her research topic, Dartmouth's Geneva Bibles. You can see a photo, and read Abby's blog post here -- http://raunerlibrary.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-geneva-bible.html -- and we'd also advise a stop by Rauner to see the exhibit as well: Abby's done a great job in putting it together! It's on the ground floor, just inside the entrance and to the right. Enjoy!

Multiverse Cosmologies & the Entanglement of Religion & Science

  • Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion at Wesleyan University
  • Friday, April 10, 2015
  • 4:15-5:30pm
  • 6 Steele Hall
  • Free and open to all
  • Reception to follow, in Fairchild Tower area (first floor)
  • Book sale & signing

Mary-Jane Rubenstein is also core faculty in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Wesleyan. Her research interests include continental philosophy, theology, gender and sexuality studies, and the history and philosophy of cosmology. She is the author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe and Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (which will be available for sale and signing after her talk).

Professor Susan Ackerman on cultural vandalism in Iraq

Professor Susan Ackerman '80, Preston H. Kelsey Professor in Religion, professor of women's and gender studies and Jewish studies at Dartmouth, and also president of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), was interviewed for Dartmouth Now about the destruction of ancient Assyrian artifacts by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq, which has led to a joint statement from ASOR, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Society for American Archaeology deploring the destruction and calling on authorities to support the archaeological community's efforts to repair damaged works if possible, and to find an reclaim missing objects. Read the entire interview here.

Tomoko Masuzawa to give Annual Hardigg Public Lecture

Tomoko Masuzawa on "The Secular Bible: Biblical Scholarship and the University in the 19th Century"

Thursday, February 12, 2015
4:15pm
002 Rockefeller Center
Free and open to all

Tomoko Masuzawa is Professor of History and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. Her fields of special interest are modern European intellectual history (19th century), discourss on religion, history of human sciences, and psychoanalysis. She is the author of The Invention of World Religions (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

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