The religion studies department provides transportation for Muhlenberg students to events of interest held at other area colleges. Upcoming events will be posted here as they are scheduled.
Religion Studies Colloquium
- “A Time to Break Down and a Time to Build Up: Luther, Lutherans, and Jews at 500 Years”, Peter Pettit, Ph.D.
- “From the Esoteric to the Environmental: A 20th-Century Religio-Philosophical Journey”, Professor Christian Wiese, Goethe University, Frankfort
- “On Dinosaurs and Jews at the Creation Museum”, Dustin Nash, Ph.D.
- “Finding the World & Bringing it Home: Incorporating Travel Experience into Classroom Pedagogy”, Sharon Albert
- “Comparative Textual Criticism and the Problem of Internal Evidence”, William “Chip” Gruen, Ph.D.
- A Conversation with a Religion Studies Alum, Kelly Owens-Pisano ‘09
- Harnessing the Power of Conflict: An Introduction to Nonviolence, Kit Miller, Director, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
- Nonviolence in Action, facilitated by M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
- “Musical Theater and Nazi-Era Stories: Understanding an Uncomfortable Pairing”, Dr. Judah M. Cohen, Lou & Sybil Mervis Professor of
Jewish Culture and Associate Professor of Musicology, Indiana University
Recounting the Nazi period presents to many a nearly sacred boundary of artistic taste, especially when it comes to musical theater. In this talk, Dr. Cohen approaches musical theater as an artistic language that has engaged deeply with the politics of Nazism since the 1930s. His accounts of these works help forge a deeper portrait of the form and its artists, while addressing the postwar shift into moral tension with institutions devoted to Holocaust memory.
- “Conflict Without Contempt”, Kit Miller, Director, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
Conflict is often presented as a negative experience to avoid, and yet conflict is a part of every person’s life. What can we discover about ourselves and others when we reframe conflict as an opportunity for learning, relationship building, social justice and creativity? This talk will focus on ways to re-think conflict, through the lens of Gandhi and King as well as through the frameworks of systems thinking and restorative justice.
- “On Different Grounds: Jewish and Christian Understandings of the Middle East”, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University
- “Jesus the Jewish Storyteller: Of Pearls and Prodigals”, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University
- “What Are Jews For?: The History of the Idea of Jewish Chosenness”, Professor Adam Sutcliffe, Kings College London
The biblical ‘election of Israel’ – the setting apart of the Jews by God, as recipients of divine protection, and bearers of special holiness – has been the focus of fascination and repeated reappraisal by both Jews and non-Jews throughout the modern era. This theological concept lies at the heart of a broader question: what is the particular purpose of Jews in the world? In this lecture Professor Sutcliffe will trace the history of the ‘Jewish Purpose Question’ from its biblical and medieval roots, through key early modern thinkers such as Spinoza and Moses Mendelssohn, and up to the twenty-first century.
- “Academic Freedom and the Study of Religion”, Dr. Wendy Doniger
The religion studies department is pleased to host Dr. Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago’s Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions. Her visit will include a public lecture and faculty workshop, as part of the Mellon Visiting Scholars in the Humanities series.
Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History, published in 2009, was challenged by Hindu conservatives and the original publisher, Penguin India, eventually agreed to cease publication of the book and destroy any remaining copies. The book has since been republished in India by a new publishing company. In an op-ed published in The Chronicle of Higher Education in April 2016, Dr. Doniger argues that her own experience and that of other scholars reflect a double threat to academic freedom: religious actors attempting to control both who can speak about a religion and which aspects of the religion should be represented. Her talk will address issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech as well as the role that religion studies plays in both thinking through these issues and in dealing with a planet in the death grip of religious hatreds.
Past Road Trips
Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
Can’t Help Lovin’: Unlikeable Gods in Pop Life
Kathryn Lofton is professor of religious studies, American studies, and history at Yale University where she also serves as the chair of the Department of Religious Studies and the Deputy Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She has written extensively about capitalism, celebrity, sexuality, and the concept of the secular. Her next book-length study will consider the religions of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado Boulder
Religion in the Media Age
Across a range of domains (not least in national and global politics), it has become increasingly important to understand the form, shape, and evolution of contemporary religion. This lecture will argue that to account for contemporary forms of religion, “the religious,” and the range of things we used to think of as religion, it is necessary to account for the media. All religions have always been mediated, but in the 21st century the once-separate domains of “religion” and “media” are rapidly merging, with new practices and technologies transforming relations between the two. The lecture will look at this situation in historical, theoretical, and empirical terms, reviewing the growing interdisciplinary literatures focused on media and religion, with an eye to future directions for the fields of media studies and religious studies.
Joy Ladin, Yeshiva University
Alive in the Depths: Transgender Identity and Religious Tradition
Joy Ladin is often asked how she reconciles being religious with being transgender. In this talk, she will explain how her childhood experience of hiding both her trans identity and her relationship with God has led her to see transgender experience as enriching rather than challenging, opposing or “queering” religious tradition, a perspective she will illustrate by reading the story of Jonah (a man who preferred to die than live as who he was) from a trans perspective. Building on the work of feminist theologians, she will argue that expanding our understanding of humanity to be more gender-inclusive enables us to expand our understanding of God.
Tour the LDS Temple in Philadelphia
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) has built its first temple in the state of Pennsylvania. The church allows tours of the temple before its dedication, after which only members of the church in good standing are permitted to enter. The most important ceremonies of Mormon life, such as baptisms, marriages, and family sealings, are performed in the temple.
Inside the Mind of the Christian Right: A Deep History of the Culture Wars
Watering the Seeds of Peace: Facing Inequality, Violence and War
Practicing Safe Sects: Having “The Talk” About Religious Reproduction