Read Professor Sonam Kachru's response to Kevin Schilbrack's Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto, "Provincializing Philosophy of Religions, and Beyond," online at Syndicate.
Professor of religious studies Jalane Schmidt is featured in the Chronicle's list of people who made a difference in higher ed this year. Read the article here.
Christopher Watkins reviews Kevin Hart's newest book, Poetry and Revelation, in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Read the review here.
The Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life
The Patricia Hollingsworth Prizes in Ethics
Awarded for the Best Undergraduate Essays in Ethics
First place: $1,000
Second Place: $750
Honorable mention: $350
Deadline: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Submit essays electronically, as Word documents, to
Subject: Essays may address any applied or theoretical topic or issue in ethics, and may be historical, philosophical, theological, literary, etc. Revised class papers may be submitted—indicate the title of the course and the instructor for the course.
Length: 1,500-3,000 words (longer essays are acceptable)
Awards will be presented at a ceremony in April, 2018
Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life (IPE)
Summer Ethics Internship Program, 2018
The Ethics Internship Program is a very important part of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life’s (IPE) overall program for undergraduate students. The summer internships were started with funds from the Donchian Foundation and maintained with funds from the family of the late John Allen and Patricia Hollingsworth, from Michael Ross, from Missy Casscell, and from other donors as a way to integrate ethical theory and practice, the real-world and the academy. Student interns combine their summer experience with preparatory courses and post-internship narrative and analytic reports and discussions. Students have a variety of placements in private (both for-profit and not-for-profit) and governmental contexts in both domestic and international settings, and, as noted below, may involve research, service, or learning or some combination of these.
Internship Program: With support from the Hollingsworth family and others, the IPE sponsors and provides funds for several summer internships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. The Institute expects to fund fifteen to twenty internships for Summer 2018.
Expectations: Those who receive awards will be expected to spend at least eight weeks in an internship (approved by the IPE), to meet with faculty at the IPE (and perhaps with other interns) to discuss aspects of their internship before it starts, to prepare, at the end of the summer, an 8-10 page narrative and analysis of the internship, with particular attention to questions and issues of ethics (broadly conceived), and to meet, in the fall semester, with other interns and Institute faculty to discuss their experiences.
Nature of Internship: Internships take a variety of forms:
- Some combination of the above three
Stipend: The IPE will usually provide a stipend of $2,000.00-2,500.00 toward students’ internships. If the internship is unpaid, a larger stipend may be available in a few cases, depending on location, living arrangements, etc. If the internship receives financial support from other sources, the IPE stipend may be reduced in order to make the internships as equitable as possible. We will discuss specific financial arrangements with students after they have received notification of their awards and arranged their internships.
Identification of Internship Possibilities: It is up to students to arrange their specific internships, but the IPE will provide advice and guidance, including the names of organizations and persons who might have or know of possibilities.
Deadline for Application: 5:00 PM, Friday, December 8, 2017
Notification of Awards: The IPE expects to announce the awards by early January 2018.
2017 postdoctoral fellows Brandy Daniels, Julia Kelto Lillis, K. Mohrman, and Ryan Schaffner
The department of Religious Studies welcomes four postdoctoral fellows for the academic year 2017-18.
Brandy Daniels is a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer with the Luce Project on “Religion and its Publics.” Brandy has a Ph.D. in Theological Studies, with a minor in Ethics & Society and a certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies, from Vanderbilt University, where she was a fellow in the Program in Theology and Practice. Her research focuses on theological anthropology and practices of formation, exploring intersections between constructive theologies and feminist and queer theories to better understand and envision accounts of faithful Christian identity and community amidst difference. Her dissertation, “Who is the ‘We?’ Futurity and the Formation of Spiritual and Sexual Subjectivities,” draws on queer theoretical work on temporality and contemporary analyses of postliberal methodology to critically examine and challenge how feminist theological accounts of identity formation articulate and understand the relationship between Christian identity, on the one hand, and gender and sexual identities, on the other, in a way that undermines their aims and delimits difference.
Brandy has published on topics ranging from Bonhoeffer and Foucault on racial identity, to poststructuralism and liberation theology, to Eastern Orthodox apophatic theology and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. She has served as a contributor to the Women in Theology blog and serves on the steering committee for the Queer Studies in Religion section of the AAR. Brandy is under-care for ordination with the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). She is also an avid runner and Jeopardy fan.
Julia Kelto Lillis is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in New Testament and Early Christianity. Her primary research interests are in ancient constructions of social difference, especially in areas we today call gender and sexuality, and the ways these are discussed in early Christian literature. Her doctoral work at Duke University focused on Early Christianity, with secondary specializations in New Testament and in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies.
Julia’s publications and conference presentations have drawn attention to diverse ancient conceptualizations of virginity, the history of New Testament canon formation, and the ancient reception of the story of Thecla, a quasi-biblical figure whose exploits prompt intriguing questions about early Christian reflection on gender. She is currently working on a book project based on her dissertation, “Virgin Territory: Configuring Female Virginity in Early Christianity,” which overturns common assumptions about virginity in antiquity and explores the variety of definitions that early Christians and their neighbors formed for virginity as they discussed its value. She serves on the executive board of the academic working group ReMeDHe (Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in late antiquity) and plans to unite her interests in ancient medical, social, and theological reasoning by focusing future research on the concepts of purity and pollution.
K. Mohrman is the 2017-2018 Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Mormon Studies. She received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, her MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and BA in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. Her current project analyzes the central role Mormonism has played in shaping identity, culture, and nationalism in the US through the production of sexual and racial normativity. More specifically, it examines how political and cultural battles over LDS belief and practice have been vital to the construction and management of “inferior” and “deviant” racialized and sexualized assemblages in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Her research and teaching interests include American, Mormon, ethnic, and gender and sexuality studies; critical race theory and queer of color critique; histories of sexuality, capitalism, and law in the US; and popular and visual culture. She is currently teaching undergraduate and graduate courses including, “Mormonism and American Culture,” “Gender, Sexuality, and Politics in the Religious US,” “Religion and Sexuality,” and “Race, Religion, and Belonging in the US.
The Relgious Studies department welcomes Ashon Crawley, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies. Professor Crawley works in the areas of black studies, queer theory, sound studies, theology, continental philosophy, and performance studies. His first book project, Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press) investigates altenative modes of sociality present in the aesthetics practices of Black Pentecostalism. He is currently working on three projects: one tentatively titled "The Lonely Letters," an autobiofiction that explores the relationships between blackness, quantum mechanics, mysticism, and love; a second that considers the role of the Hammond B-3 organ in Black Christianity; and a critique of western mysticism.
Responses from UVA Religious Studies Faculty
This Berkley Center Forum includes a number of reflections from UVA religious studies faculty and scholars, including:
"Moral Trauma," Professor Willis Jenkins
"Wrestling with 'Charlottesville' in the Classroom," Professor Karl Shuve
"A Discussion with Jalane Schmidt on Charlottesville," Professor Jalane Schmidt
"Picking Sides," Professor Paul Jones
"Religious Studies Departments Must be Leaders in Overcoming Racism and Hate," Professors Martien Halvorson-Taylor and Kurtis Schaeffer
"At ground zero in Charlottesville: time to stop making compromises with racism," Professor Karl Shuve, Bright Green, August 16
"When the K.K.K. came to town, Catholics prayed. Now what?" Professor Nichole Flores, America: The Jesuit Review, July 12
"Excuse me, America, your house is on fire: Lessons from Charlottesville on the KKK and 'alt-right,'" Professor Jalane Schmidt, Medium, June 27
Responses from other Scholars of Religion
"Dealing with the Pain," Kris Norris, recent graduate of UVA's religious studies doctoral program and visiting distinguished professor of public theology of Wesley Theology Seminary, Berkley Center Forum, August 21
"As UVa’s Leaders Equivocate, Professors Shine an Ethical Light," James F. Keenan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 16
"For Moral Clarity, Don't Look to Universities," Chad Wellmon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 14
October 16: Susanna Heschel to speak at UVA
November 16: Professor Vanessa Ochs speaks on “Violence, Politics, and Religion in Charlottesville: Statues and Sacred Sites.” 2:00-3:00 p.m. New Cabell Hall 594.
The current issue of America Magazine: The Jesuit Review of Faith and Culture features Professor Nichole Flores's theological reflection on race, Catholicism, and Charlottesville. Read the article here.
Read Article by Religious Studies Chair and Associate Chair on Responding to Firsthand Reflections on Charlottesville
Read "Religious Studies Departments Must Be Leaders in Overcoming Racism and Hate: Responding to Firsthand Reflections on Charlottesville" by Religious Studies Department Associate Chair Martien Halvorson-Taylor and Chair Kurtis Schaeffer.