University of Pittsburgh

Department of Religious Studies

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New & Noteworthy


1102 The History of God
1370 Global Christianity
1475 Religious Diversity


Three public keynote presentations for a symposium on Diverse Spiritualities, organized with Africana Studies. Contact: Dr. Jeanette Jouili

April 20, 2017, 6:00-7:30p, 630 WPU
The Embodied Power of Sankofa
Stephanie Y Mitchem (Univ/S Carolina)
Pre-keynote reception, 5:00-6:00p

April 21, 2017, 5:00-6:30p, 630 WPU
Seeing into the Unseen: Embodied Knowledge and Disembodied Spirits in Islamic West Africa
Rudolph Ware (U/Mich)
Pre-keynote reception, 4:00-5:00p

April 22, 2017, 2:00-3:30p, 501 CL
Embodiment, Rationality, and Materiality in African Religion and the African Diaspora Traditions
Jacob K Oluona (Harvard Div School)
Post-keynote reception, 3:30-4:30p


April 20, 2017, 11a-12:15p, Kurtzman Room, WPU
An onlne exhibit by our students showcasing the histories of the Torah scrolls currently in use in the Pittsburgh area.


February 6, 2017, 5:00p, 501 CL
Queer Theology and Social Transformation: Points of Contact, Points of Conflict
Jay Michaelson, LGBTQ activist, columnist for The Daily Beast and affiliated assistant professor, Chicago Theological Seminary PODCAST

March 30, 2017, 5:30p, 602 CL, Humanities Center
Queering Religion: The Student Perspective
An interactive workshop by Pitt students sharing their experiences of the intersection of religiosity and queer identity in modern life. Special focus on experiences at Pitt.

September 18, 2017, 12:00 Noon, 602 CL, Humanites Center
Workshop with Lucinda Ramberg on excerpts from her Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion (Duke University Press, 2014)
Open to faculty and graduate students.

September 18, 2017, 5:00p, 602 CL, Humanities Center
Who and What is Sex for? Notes on Theogamy and the Sexuality of Religion
Lucinda E. G. Ramberg, associate professor of Anthropology, Cornell University

November 29, 2017, 12:00 Noon, 602 CL, Humanities Center
Workshop with Ann Pellegrini on “What’s Wrong with Tolerance” from her Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance (NYU Press, 2003)
Open to faculty and graduate students. Download PDF of advanced readings here.

Novmber 29, 2017, TBA
Angry Subjects: In/Civility, Christian Nationalism, and the Paranoid Position in an Age of Trump
Ann Pellegrini, professor of Performance Studies and Social and Cultural Analysis and director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University


Beginning Spring Term 2017, undergraduate majors will be able to structure their coursework around a set of dynamic "thematic clusters." These clusters will offer majors the opportunity to delve deeply into specific questions that engage them. Whether students are most fascinated by the intersections between religion and medicine; the role that religion plays in politics, social justice or environmental concerns; the relationship between religion and creative expression; or the religious aspects of philosophical or ethical questions, the newly designed major enables the investigation of these ideas comprehensively and from a variety of perspectives. Please contact our DUS, Dr. Rachel Kranson to learn more.


We invite all religious studies, majors, minors, prospective majors and minors. the merely curious, and those craving cookies for an informal lunch with our facutly on the first Friday of each month during the acadmeic year. Bring your lunch and we'll supply dessert and coffee. 2628 CL, noon. Contact Dr. Adam Shear.


Jeanette Jouili discusses the so-called "Burkini controversy" that emerged in France in the summer of 2016, in which mayors in some French cities and towns attempted to ban the wearing of modest, full-body swimwear at public beaches. Interviewed by Allyson Delnore (European Studies Center) (9/2016)


Brock Bahler discusses the notion of ritual as a locus of power in terms of structure and agency. His recent book, Childlike Peace in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty. Intersubjectivity as a Dialectical Spiral (Lexington Books, 2016) focuses on neuroscience to grasp the topic power relations at the confluence of religion and other social influences on one’s trajectories. Interviewed by the Religious Studies Project (6/2016)


The Meyers Excavations Digital Archives Project

Ben Gordon and his collaborators are developing a website that presents artifacts and archaeological remains through a series of interactive maps of a rich archive of archaeological data from the Galilee region of northern Israel. The data derives from nearly three decades of excavation seasons led by Carol Meyers and Eric Meyers (Duke University).

Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place

Adam Shear, along with his collaborators, launched the pilot database of Footprints, a long-term digital humanities project that focuses on the circulation of Hebraica and Judaica in early modern Europe and the Middle East.


David Givens wins the 2017 Tolerance Dialogue Scholarship for "The Opportunities and Impediments of Tolerance.” He joins the "ToleranceMeans Dialogue on "Religion and Gay Marriage: Do They Have To Be At Odds?," March 16, 2017, 3:00p, Barco Law Building/Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom.

Ben Gordon named head, Roman/Late Roman Period Research for the Tel Shimron Excavations, led by the University of Tel Aviv and Wheaton College.

Adam Shear is named coeditor of the journal AJS (Association for Jewish Studies) Review (2016-2019).

Emily Stewart wins an AY 2017 Mellon Fellowship for dissertation research on "The Turn to Human Rights: David M. Stowe, Liberal Protestantism, and Postcolonial Mission in the 20th Century."

Lianghao Lu wins the 2016 C.Y. Hsu Summer Fellowship for dissertation research on "Periodicals and the Making of Modern China."


Brock Bahler, Childlike Peace in Merleau-Ponty and Levinas: Intersubjectivity as Dialectical Spiral (Lexington, 2016). PODCAST interview with the author.

Brock Bahler (coeditor), Philosophy of Childhood Today: Exploring the Boundaries (Lexignton, 2016)

Jeanette S. Jouili, Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe (Stanford, 2015). INTERVIEW with the author.

Rachel Kranson (coeditor), Special Issue of the Journal of Jewish Identities 8.2 (July 2015) on “Jewish Youth in the Global 196.”

Linda Penkowe (coeditor), Hindu Rituals at the Margins: Innovations, Transformations, Reconsiderations (USCP, 2014)

Adam Shear (coeditor), Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of David B. Ruderman (HUCP/Pitt Press, 2014)

Clark Chilson, Secrecy's Power: Covert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment, Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture (UHP, 2014).

Paula Kane, Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America (UNC Press, 2013). PODCAST interview with the author.

Keep up-to-date on Religious Studies news, events, scholarship and other opportunities for undergraduates and majors. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Why STEM majors should also consider Religious Studies

The Top Five Reasons to Study Religion

"Why I Left the Right: How Studying Religion Made Me a Liberal," by Susie Meister (PhD, Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2014)

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