Religion Department News and Events

  • Celebrating Faculty/Student Collaboration

    During the 2018-19 academic year sophomore Tinatin Omoeva worked with Professor Justine Quijada on a Student Faculty Internship to turn some of Professor Quijada’s fieldwork materials into a short film. The film documents a ritual to make offerings to Bukhe Baatar, the spirit master of the Selenga river in the Buryat Republic, Russian Federation, held in 2012. Read More

    Photographs and video of the ritual, taken by Roberto Quijada, are combined with an interview with Bair Zhambalovich Tsyrendorzhiev, the Director of the Shaman’s Association, Tengeri, explaining what is happening in the photographs. Tengeri is an urban shaman’s organization that is reviving pre-Soviet rituals in new forms, and attempting to re-connect with an animate landscape that was neglected during the Soviet period. Tinatin Omoeva, a heritage Russian speaker, transcribed and translated the interview and edited the film.

  • Beyond the Classroom: Student-led Radio Discussions on Religion in the Diaspora

    In an article for LSE Religion and Global Society, a research-led interdisciplinary blog that promotes an understanding of religion and its relevance in world affairs, Noa Street-Sachs '19 outlines what she and her classmates learned in Yaniv Feller's RELI 213 - Refugees & Exiles: Religion in the Diaspora.
  • Religion Students Visit Hindu Temple in Middletown

    Students in Peter Gottschalk's RELI 291 course - From Jerusalem to Ground Zero: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sioux, and Hindu Notions of Sacredness - visit the Sri Satyanarayana Swamy Temple in Middletown. They were guided through the temple by Dr. Asha Shipman, Director of Hindu Life and Hindu Chaplain for Yale University.
  • HOLY COMMUNION CONDOMS! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as a Case for Religion in Queer Studies

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019
    4:30 P.M. | CAAS Lounge (Center for African American Studies Vanguard Lounge

    Melissa Wilcox
    Professor and Holstein Family and Community Chair of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside

    Photo courtesy of John Entwistle

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    Considering queer studies’ commitment to thinking intersectionally, it is long past time to address the topic of religion in nuanced and informed ways. Using as a framing example the Condom Savior Masses hosted for many years by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—an international or-der of religiously unaffiliated, noncelibate, queer nuns—the talk explores the critical importance of religious studies to a complete understanding of queerness and queer activism. Religion, it turns out, is profoundly queer—especially, but not only, when the Condom Savior is involved.

    Co-Sponsors: American Studies, the Anthropology Department, and the Theater Department

  • Life on the God Beat: Why Religion Reporting Matters

    Thursday, March 28, 2019
    4:30 P.M. | PAC 002

    Liz Kineke
    Producer, CBS Religion & Culture Series

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    America is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world, but nuanced reporting on religion is an afterthought in many news organizations across the country. Kineke discusses how she came to the beat and why she believes faith and religion is the silent partner in any story. Using examples from previous work, she’ll discuss how she finds her stories, why certain editorial choices are made, and the elements that make for good storytelling in broadcast television.

    Cosponsors: The Office of Faculty Career Development, the Writing Certificate, the Department of Religion

  • Faculty News!

    Justine Quijada’s book on religious and secular ritual in post-Soviet Buryatia has just been published by Oxford University Press. In Buddhists, Shamans, and Soviets, you’ll find dazzling analyses of civic devotion, indigenous and new age shamans, and the miraculously preserved body of a deceased Buddhist lama—all of which, in the words of one reviewer, “blur and blend and defy any attempt to…categorize them by religion, ethnicity, or nationality politics” (Laurel Kendall, American Museum of Natural History).

    We are also delighted to report that Professor Quijada has just been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.
  • Roots and Routes: Conversations on Displacement and Belonging

    Tune into WESU 88.1FM Middletown every other Wednesday starting Feb. 20, 6:00 pm for Roots and Routes: Conversations on Displacement and BelongingYou can listen to previous episodes and learn more about it here.

    Roots and Routes is a radio show bringing stories of exile, homeland, and belonging from all over the world, from Jordan to Connecticut, from the UK to Uganda. The show is researched, produced, and presented by students of the course “RELI213\CJST214 Refugees & Exiles: Religion in the Diaspora” with support from the Allbritton Center's Office for Service Learning.

  • Studying Religion: Living Religiously or Not?

    Monday, February 18, 2019
    6:30 P.M. | Woodhead Lounge, Exley Science Center

    Panel participants: Rabbi David Leipziger Teva, Maia Reumann-Moore, Professor Andrew QuintmanReverend Tracy Mehr-Muska, Yael Krifcher, Professor Peter Gottschalk

    Facilitators: Melisa Olgun, Talia Goldberg

    Those planning to attend are encouraged to submit their questions (anonymously) in advance. 

    Read More

    The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Department of Religion invite you to a conversation about the roles, if any, religion and religious identity play in the lives of those who study these. You might have questions about what it means to live religiously, or not, and to study religion in a university classroom. Maybe you wonder how academic insights shape contemporary religious practice. What types of study threaten religion? Which types enliven it? Can study do both? This is your chance to ask your chaplains, professors, and fellow students (almost) anything and hear their various perspectives!

     

    Dinner included: Indian food from Haveli

  • Biological Gods: UFOs, Science (Fiction), and Some Emergent Mythologies

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019
    4:30 P.M. | PAC 002

    Jeffrey J. Kripal
    J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philsophy and Religious Thought at Rice University
    Associate Directgor of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

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    Beginning with a brief history of UFO phenomena, Kripal explores four American books that describe life-changing encounters. Stressing the cold war context and eschatological dimensions of such modern ecstatic visions and encounters, Kripal notes how each author engages earlier religious interpretations but finally moves outside of them. Positing previously unknown species that interact with humans – perhaps to feed off human emotion, to domesticate humans, or to evolve humans via sexual communion and interspecies symbiosis – the authors create a new set of evolutionary panpsychisms, erotic vitalisms, and biological polytheisms. These challenge the reigning materialisms and projection theories of conventional scholarship.

    Cosponsors: The Religion Department and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life
  • Book Launch for Mary-Jane Rubenstein

    November 8, 2018
    6:00 P.M. | RJ Julia Bookstore

    Mary-Jane Rubenstein Professor of Religion
    Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters



    Read More

    Joined by:

    J. Kehaulani Kauanui Professor of American Studies Director, Center for the Americas
    Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism

    Joseph Weiss Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii: Life Beyond Settler Colonialism

  • Religion Department Open House

    Thursday, November 1, 2018
    11:45 A.M. | Allbritton 311

    Prospective majors are invited to lunch with faculty and current majors and minors to learn about our department, our courses, and the requirements for our major and minor.

  • The Art and Politics of Truthtelling

    Thursday, October 25, 2018
    4:30 P.M. | PAC 001

    Elizabeth Castelli
    Professor of Religion and Interim Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women at Barnard College

     

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    With its sacramental roots and promise of redemption to its cultural ubiquity in our contemporary moment, confession as a paradoxical performance in art and politics fascinates even as it inspires suspicion or irony. As we negotiate the receding terrain of the private in an age of life lived out loud, how can we understand the transformation of the confessional now played out on screen, on stage, in tabloids and literary reviews, art installations and performances, online and in real life? How does the study of religion help us parse the dynamics of secrecy and revelation at the heart of confessional culture?

    Cosponsors: Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the Art History Department

  • In the Light of Reverence

    Film Screening
    Monday, October 15, 2018
    8:00 P.M. | Center for Film Studies

    Q&A with documentary filmmakers Christopher (Toby) McLeod and Jessica Abbe

    Read the write-up in the Argus.

     

    Read More

    Ten years in the making, In the Light of Reverence explores American culture’s relationship to na-ture in three places considered sacred by native peoples: the Colorado Plateau in the Southwest, Mount Shasta in California, and Devils Tower in Wyoming. Produced and Directed by Christopher McLeod. Co-Produced by Malinda Maynor. Written by Jessica Abbe. Edited by Will Parrinello. Narrated by Peter Coyote and Tantoo Cardinal. Educational Distributor: Bullfrog Films.

    Sponsored by the Religion Department, the Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, and the Indigenous Studies Research Network

  • Is Animism Good to Think With?

    Justine Quijada presents a talk as part of the COE's annual Where on Earth Are We Going? Robert F. Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium on Saturday, September 27, 2018. 

    Watch the video here!

    Photo credit: Laurie Kenney

  • Between the Dome of the Rock and a Hard Place: My Career as a Professional Muslim

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
    4:30 P.M. | PAC 001 

    Muslim Studies Certificate Annual Lecture
    Cosponsored by the Religion Department

    Haroon Moghul
    Fellow in Jewish-Muslim Relations, Shalom Hartman INstitute

     

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    He was struggling to find a balance between his private doubts about Islam and his public role as president of the largest Muslim Students Association in Manhattan. And then, on September 11th, 2001, Haroon found himself thrust into a very uncomfortable spotlight, speaking for a religion he wasn't sure he believed in very much. Hear the story of American Islam in an era of rising polarization, about struggles with failed relationships, mental illness, and what it feels like to be an American when a lot of America voted you off the island.

    With support from the Religion Department, the American Studies Department, and the Center for the Americas