Events

May 2020

RS Virtual Graduate Ceremony

RS Virtual Graduate Ceremony




Please join Department Chair Kurtis Schaeffer and Director of Graduate Studies Erik Braun in celebrating the spring semester graduates at a virtual ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at 3pm.    The department will be recognizing the following graduates:    Kelly Danner, MA Mohamed Hashim, MA Chris Hiebert, MA Shifa Noor, MA Melanie Pace, MA Jue Liang, PhD Isaac May, PhD Michael Nilon, PhD Mae Speight, PhD Ashley Tate, PhD

Virtual Graduate Research & Writing Cafe

Virtual Graduate Research & Writing Cafe




Research and Writing Café (hosted by UVA Library)  May 7, 2020 02:30-4:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Open to all graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff.  Looking for structure and dedicated writing time in your work from home routine? Join UVA Library via Zoom on Thursday, May 7th  2:30-4:30pm ET for our virtual Research and Writing Café. We’ll kick off the session with a quick group accountability check-in to discuss what we’re working on and what we want to accomplish. The rest of the session will be dedicated to writing while librarians are available via chat for research support. You bring the coffee, we’ll stream the coffee house music! 

April 2020

Apr 06 | 6:30-8:00pm
Virtual Event

Author Talk with Robert Svoboda

Author Talk with Robert Svoboda

Apr 06 | 6:30-8:00pm
Virtual Event


Dr. Svoboda will give a short lecture followed by Q&A from the Hindu Tantra class (relh 3559), then an open discussion if time permits. The Hindu Tantra class will pose questions for an upcoming online publication. Dr. Robert Svoboda is the first Westerner ever to graduate from a college of Ayurveda and be licensed to practice Ayurveda in India. During and after his formal Ayurvedic training he was tutored in Ayurveda, Yoga, Jyotish, Tantra and other forms of classical Indian lore by his mentor, the Aghori Vimalananda. He is the author of over a dozen books and has served as Adjunct Faculty at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. You can find out more about his work at www.drsvoboda.com. *This program is sponsored by the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion (VCSR).

March 2020

Mar 23 | 12:00 PM
Nau 342

RS Colloquium: "Learning from Others' Others"

RS Colloquium: "Learning from Others' Others"

Mar 23 | 12:00 PM
Nau 342


Islam, Hinduism, and the Possibilities of Comparative Religion. Talk by Jessica Andruss and Shankar Nair.

February 2020

Feb 12 | 12:00 PM
Nau 342

RS Colloquium: "Fluidity between Text and Ritual"

RS Colloquium: "Fluidity between Text and Ritual"

Feb 12 | 12:00 PM
Nau 342


Presentation by J. Gregory Given and Rebecca Falcasantos

November 2019

Nov 21
144 New Cabell Hall

Shifa Noor, "Muhammad Iqbal & the Restlessness of God"

Shifa Noor, "Muhammad Iqbal & the Restlessness of God"

Nov 21
144 New Cabell Hall


Nov 21
7:00 PM | Downtown Regional Library

Jalane Schmidt, "Thinking On My Feet: The Risks and Rewards of Public Engagement Scholarship"

Jalane Schmidt, "Thinking On My Feet: The Risks and Rewards of Public Engagement Scholarship"

Nov 21
7:00 PM | Downtown Regional Library


  The UVA chapter of the American Association of University Professors is sponsoring an upcoming talk by Dr. Jalane Schmidt, as associate professor of religious studies in the College (see attached flyer). Some months ago, a prominent local citizen was offended by Jalane’s community engagement in the context of objecting to confederate monuments and filed a frivolous defamation lawsuit against her and others.  Jalane’s experience and the University’s response raise fundamental issues that affect all of us.   Location: McIntire Room (upstairs), Downtown Branch Jefferson Madison Regional Library, 201 E. Market Street, Charlottesville 
Nov 15
10:30 | Wilson 142

Ahmed al-Rahim, "Mobility and Knowledge in the Mongol Empire"

Ahmed al-Rahim, "Mobility and Knowledge in the Mongol Empire"

Nov 15
10:30 | Wilson 142


Ahmed al-Rahim, Department of Religious Studies, “Mobility and Knowledge in the Mongol Empire.” Part of the Mellon Fellows Seminar Series. 

October 2019

Oct 17 | 3:30–5:30 p.m.
NAU 342

Recent Research on Religion in Africa: Trends and Challenges

Recent Research on Religion in Africa: Trends and Challenges

Oct 17 | 3:30–5:30 p.m.
NAU 342


RECENT RESEARCH ON RELIGION IN AFRICA: TRENDS AND CHALLENGES “The Festivalization of Religion in Africa” Dr. Rosalind Hackett, University of Tennessee “The Buffalax Effect: African Theories vs. Theorizing Africa” Dr. Oludamini Ogunnaike, University of Virginia “NGOs, Human Rights, & Religious Authority: Reflections on ‘Ritual Slavery’ in Southeastern Ghana” Dr. Julie Jenkins, University of Virginia “Alhaji Pastor: Research on the Other Side of Religious Tolerance” Dr. Brian Smithson, University of Virginia OCTOBER 17, 2019 | 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM | NAU 342 PRESENTED BY THE FORUM ON DEMOCRACY AND RELIGION & THE VIRIGINIA CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION  
Oct 16 | 12:00 p.m.
NAU 342

David Carrasco on "The Making of a New History Called Mexico"

David Carrasco on "The Making of a New History Called Mexico"

Oct 16 | 12:00 p.m.
NAU 342


Oct 15 | 4:00 p.m.
NAU 342

Literacy and Liberation for 'Aisha al-Ba'uniya

Literacy and Liberation for 'Aisha al-Ba'uniya

Oct 15 | 4:00 p.m.
NAU 342


"Literacy and Liberation for 'Aisha al-Ba'uniya" Lecture by Professor Th. Emil Homerin (University of Rochester) Arabic scholarship and literature flourished during the 14th-15th centuries, and Damascus and Cairo drew scholars and students from across the Muslim world. This led to opportunities for travel, education, and employment, yet these opportunities were available almost exclusively to men. Yet, similar to racism, poverty, and other inequalities, discrimination based on sex or gender could be tempered if given the opportunity. In the 15th century, literacy and books could be the means, as is apparent in the life of the writer and poet cĀ’ishah al-Bācūnīyah (d. 1517). As a literate woman, she crossed a number of social and culture borders and distinguished herself in the domain of religious scholarship and literary production. Drawing from historical and biographical sources, and especially from 'Ā’ishah al-Bā'ūnīyah’s writings, I examine her social and intellectual background, her travels, and scholarly interactions in order to highlight some of the social trends and intellectual forces at work in the late Mamlūk period.
Oct 03 | 12:30 p.m.
NAU 342

Ananya Chakravarti on "Religion, Space, & Mobility"

Ananya Chakravarti on "Religion, Space, & Mobility"

Oct 03 | 12:30 p.m.
NAU 342


September 2019

Sep 25
5pm | Wilson 142

Dissecting Cultural Pluralism Lab: Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Dissecting Cultural Pluralism Lab: Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Sep 25
5pm | Wilson 142


Reception to follow
Sep 18
Noon | Nau 342

Winnifred Sullivan, "The Church the State and the Corporation"

Winnifred Sullivan, "The Church the State and the Corporation"

Sep 18
Noon | Nau 342


Please join us on Wednesday, September 18, at noon in Nau 342 for a lecture by Professor Winnifred Sullivan (Religious Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington) on the topic of "The Church, the State, and the Corporation." Please feel free to bring your own lunch. Coffee will be provided.  Sponsored by the Forum on Democracy and Religion
Sep 10
5 pm | Lower West Oval Room, Rotunda

Duncan Williams on "American Sutra"

Duncan Williams on "American Sutra"

Sep 10
5 pm | Lower West Oval Room, Rotunda


Duncan Ryuken Williams’ recent book, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War tells the little-known story of how, in one of our country’s darkest hours, Japanese Americans fought to defend their faith and preserve religious freedom. The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is not only a tale of injustice; it is a moving story of faith. In this path-breaking account, Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American. About the author: Williams is Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures and the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. Previously, he held the Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at University of California at Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies for four years. He has also been ordained since 1993 as a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen tradition and served as the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University from 1994-96. Co-presented by the Religion, Race & Democracy Lab and the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion. Register here.
Sep 10
5pm | Wilson 142

Katharina Lorenz, "Powerful Faces, Powerful Methods: How We Look at Roman Portraits."

Katharina Lorenz, "Powerful Faces, Powerful Methods: How We Look at Roman Portraits."

Sep 10
5pm | Wilson 142


Please join us on Tuesday, Sept. 10 for a lecture and discussion with Katharina Lorenz (University of Giessen). Dr. Lorenz will deliver "Powerful Faces, Powerful Methods: How We Look at Roman Portraits." The event will be held in Wilson 142 at 5pm, reception to follow. This paper unpicks some of the research trajectories along which scholars have tried to understand imperial Roman portraiture. The discussion  tracks how far classical archaeology has got in attempting to grapple with the concept of the image as it presents itself in this artistic genre. Specifically, the paper examines the role of biography as an organizational and analytical principle in the emergence of Roman portraiture study as an academic sub-discipline during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; it assesses the impact of those approaches on the field still virulent today; it proposes ways in which engagement with the representational economics of these portraits might align their study with the aims and objectives of current visual culture studies. Sponsored by the Dissecting Cultural Pluralism Lab  
Sep 09
7pm | Nau 342

Loyalty in Question: Jewish and American Perspectives

Loyalty in Question: Jewish and American Perspectives

Sep 09
7pm | Nau 342


A Panel Discussion with: Bonnie Gordon (Associate Professor, Music) Jeffrey Grossmann (Professor, German) Katya Makarova (Associate Professor, Sociology) Natasha Roth-Rowland (PhD Candidate, History) Opening Remarks by James Loeffler (Professor, History)   Questioning national loyalty has long been a political tool to disenfranchise critics and dissidents, or to marginalize groups deemed "foreign" in a nation. It has also been a stubborn antisemitic trope singling out Jews as disloyal citizens or "rootless" cosmopolitans. The recent political climate in the US and other countries has revived old fears and suspicions of dual loyalties or disloyalty, singling out, again, Jews and other vulnerable communities. But do we really live in a world of undivided loyalties? Does one allegiance really exclude another? Should loyalty really be blind?

April 2019

Apr 17
3:30 pm | 114 Cocke Hall

Geoffrey Mosley, "The Arabic Plato"

Geoffrey Mosley, "The Arabic Plato"

Apr 17
3:30 pm | 114 Cocke Hall


Apr 11
12:30 PM | Lower West Oval Room of the Rotunda

Michael Gavreau, "Catholicism, Quiet Revolution, and Quebec's Two Roads to Democracy 1930-1970"

Michael Gavreau, "Catholicism, Quiet Revolution, and Quebec's Two Roads to Democracy 1930-1970"

Apr 11
12:30 PM | Lower West Oval Room of the Rotunda


Apr 04
4-5:30 pm | Nau 342

Jolyon Thomas, "Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan"

Jolyon Thomas, "Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan"

Apr 04
4-5:30 pm | Nau 342


Jolyon Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania will speak about his new book, Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan. Americans stationed in occupied Japan at the close of World War II claimed to be bringing religious freedom to a country where it did not exist. They described Japan’s 1889 constitutional guarantee of religious freedom as a fake, and they claimed to be implanting “real religious freedom” in its stead. But in making such claims, the occupiers overlooked inconvenient historical facts. Countering the victors’ narrative, Jolyon Thomas shows that Japanese people were actually involved in a robust debate about religious freedom for decades before the occupation began; he also demonstrates that the American occupiers were far less certain about how to define and protect religious freedom than their triumphalist rhetoric suggested. And whereas post-Occupation histories have commonly assumed that the occupiers introduced the human right of religious freedom to Japan, Thomas argues that the inherently transnational circumstances of military occupation prompted stakeholders to conceive religious freedom as a "human right" in the first place. Along the way, the occupiers and their Japanese counterparts collaboratively constructed a new technical vocabulary about “good” and “bad” religion. The categories they developed in the late 1940s still dictate how academics, journalists, and policymakers working today imagine who deserves religious freedom, what kinds of political practices infringe on religious liberty, and who bears responsibility for doing anything about it.

March 2019

Mar 25
12:00pm | New Cabell 236

S. Brent Plate, "The Spiritual Life of Dolls: From Golem to Automatons to AI"

S. Brent Plate, "The Spiritual Life of Dolls: From Golem to Automatons to AI"

Mar 25
12:00pm | New Cabell 236


The gods and goddesses were the first doll makers, forming humans from dirt and clay, and breathing life into the creatures. Since that time, humans have attempted to do the same by fashioning raw materials into bodies that look like ours: dolls, automatons, figurines, puppets, marionettes, and robots. But it is not enough to make them look human, we also want them to behave like humans, and so we make these bodies walk and talk, move their arms and heads, and even pray and grieve. A look at a history of dolls—from automatons to action figures to robots—provides a historical and religious backdrop to think through our cyborgian futures by showing how we have always been cyborgs, always merging with our technology. B. Brent Plate is Associate Professor, by special appointment, at Hamilton College;  the Managing Editor and Co-Founder of the journal, Material Religion; and the author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World; A History of Religion in 51/2 Objects: Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses; Walter Benjamin: Religion and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts; and Blasphemy: Art that Offends.
Mar 22
Noon | Wilson 142

Prof. Cornelia Horn, “Refractions of Revelations and Sacred Books at the Intersection of Christian Oriental Traditions and Early Islam”

Prof. Cornelia Horn, “Refractions of Revelations and Sacred Books at the Intersection of Christian Oriental Traditions and Early Islam”

Mar 22
Noon | Wilson 142


The Dissecting Cultural Pluralism Lab host Professor Cornelia Horn of Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenburg, who will speak on “Refractions of Revelations and Sacred Books at the Intersection of Christian Oriental Traditions and Early Islam.” Lunch will be provided. 
Mar 01
10:30am | Wilson 142

Shankar Nair, "An Iranian Wanders Early Modern India: Deciphering a Muslim Account of Hinduism"

Shankar Nair, "An Iranian Wanders Early Modern India: Deciphering a Muslim Account of Hinduism"

Mar 01
10:30am | Wilson 142


Shankar Nair, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, will give a talk entitled, "An Iranian Wanders Early Modern India: Deciphering a Muslim Account of Hinduism" as part of the Mellon Fellows Symposium. Read more about the symposium events below.   MELLON FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM (SHANKAR NAIR AND RICARDO PADRÓN)       10.30-11.30am Shankar Nair, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies "An Iranian Wanders Early Modern India: Deciphering a Muslim Account of Hinduism"   11.30am-12.30pm Ricardo Padrón, Associate Professor of Spanish “Early Modern Ethnography and Imperial Geopolitics: Framing the Boxer Codex”   12.30-1.00pm - Lunch   Shankar Nair's general field of interest is the religious and intellectual history of the Indian subcontinent, particularly as it relates to broader traditions of Sufism and Islamic philosophy, Qur'anic exegesis, and Hindu philosophy and theology (especially Advaita Vedanta and other forms of Hindu non-dualism).   Ricardo Padrón is an Associate Professor of Spanish who studies the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world, particularly questions of empire, space, and cartography.  Currently, he is completing a monograph about the transpacific imagination in sixteenth century Spanish imperialism. Provisionally entitled ReOrienting the Indies: Spain, the Pacific, and Asia, 1513-1609, the book will be published by the University of Chicago Press.  His research for this book has taken him to China, Japan, and the Philippines, and has been sponsored by U.Va.’s Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation, Arts & Sciences at U.Va., and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He has also published on early modern poetry and historiography, and on the mapping of imaginary worlds in modern times.  Prof. Padrón is an active member of the Renaissance Society of America, in which he has served as Disciplinary Representative for the Americas section, and of the Latin American Studies Association.

December 2018

Dec 06
12:30 - 5:15pm | Nau 342

Thinking Otherwise with Critical Theory: A Graduate Conference

Thinking Otherwise with Critical Theory: A Graduate Conference

Dec 06
12:30 - 5:15pm | Nau 342


Dec 05
12:00 | Gibson 441

Lecture by Bharati Jagannathan, "Women's Devotion, Women's Lives: Interrogating the Narratives and Poetry of Andal and Karaikkal Ammaiyar"

Lecture by Bharati Jagannathan, "Women's Devotion, Women's Lives: Interrogating the Narratives and Poetry of Andal and Karaikkal Ammaiyar"

Dec 05
12:00 | Gibson 441


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