It’s going to be another busy semester around Manly Hall — REL has some guests coming and things are happening.
Along with three candidates visiting campus this month for a tenure-track faculty position that we hope to fill for Fall 2019 (devoted to social theory of Islam) — and we’ll be talking to some students about joining each interviewee for a chat over coffee — we have Prof. Tim Jensen flying in from Denmark to deliver the 17th annual Aronov Lecture and REL grad Chris Hurt is due from California to join us at another Grad Tales event, hosted again by our Alum Liaison Committee. (Chris, on keyboards and vocals, is one half of the group Jamestown Pagans.) With our alums in mind, we should also mention that they’ll again be offering a careers workshop later this semester, with some practical advice that you’ll find useful, no matter what you’re aiming to do after university. And, as part of the College of Arts & Sciences’ Alabama/Greece Initiative, Prof. Touna will be hosting a professor from Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, for a week — he’ll be offering guest lectures and making some class visits — and a group of early career scholars are visiting campus as part of our new American Examples working group, organized by Prof. Altman and funded by both the Department and the College of A&S. (Did we say that we’re applying for a fairly large external grant to make this an annual event…?)
Did we mention the sixth annual honors research symposium at the end of February? You should talk to an REL prof — asap — if you have a paper you’d like to revise and present.
Of course Honors Day is also coming, the first Friday of April, with the Department’s annual ceremony on the balcony around noon (immediately following the completion of the A&S event at Moody Music Hall). Oh, and we’ve got something new to announce about Honors Day but we’ll leave that for a separate notice.
So welcome back and we hope you have a great Spring semester.
Last month, Dr. Laura Levitt, Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies & Gender at Temple University, presented “Objects Out of Place: Revisiting the Sacred Arts of Holding, Custody and Conservation,” as the Department’s 15th annual Aronov Lecture. (Learn more about this annual lecture series here.)
Back in March, Dr. Eddie Glaude, the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University (and incoming President of the American Academy of Religion [AAR]), presented his lecture, titled “Democracy in Black: The Value Gap,” as the Religious Studies Department’s 14th annual Aronov Lecture. (Learn more about this annual lecture series.)
Did you miss it?
Not to worry! You can follow the link below or watch it here.
Our thanks to Caity Walker and Jared Powell for filming and posting the lecture.
Everyone knows that as your age increases imagination decreases, but one question that comes to mind is, does your imagination affect your morals? An eye-opening event took place at the University of Alabama, on March 24th, in Lloyd Hall. In front of a large crowd, Dr. Eddie Glaude a professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University, delivered the 2016 Aronov Lecture and argued that “the Negro problem” and what he calls “the value gap” results from a failure of moral imagination. Imagination puts us into the lives of those whom we tend to see as different from us, and we are then able to take on their concerns or aspirations. Imagination allows us to understand and relate. Glaude believes that the world lacks imagination which says something about our characters. Glaude sees “the Negro problem” and the value gap as matters of character.
To further explain “The Negro problem” it is the idea that many Black Americans like to prematurely claim that the problems with the Black race are solved and the fight for complete equality is over. This assumption that the fight for complete racial equality is over then leads to even more issues. With this assumption there will continue to be discrimination. The amount of educational and job opportunities will not increase for the minority groups, and there will be a continuous struggle to achieve complete equality. In 1903 W.E.B Du Bois predicted correctly that “the color line” separating the darker and lighter races would be the problem of the 20th century. With this persistent color gap, the problem of the value gap then surfaces. ‘The value gap’ is Glaude’s term that refers to the way the White body is valued more than any other race. Not only that, but each body is then given different meaning. For example the Black body in American society is usually interpreted as being a criminal or violent. This idea plagues the efforts of those who continue to have demands for racial equality. Labeling the Black body as violent and a criminal directly correlates with the issue of White fear. Glaude explained White fear as a response to the belief that Black people will impact the country negatively. This fear leads to an automatic judgment as well as assumptions about one’s character. The assumption then troubles people of color to go out of their way in order to seem less threatening. If one does not wish to smile, then there should be no obligation to smile because of someone else’s fear. Unless we stop dancing around racial issues, Glaude argues, the habits of character that perpetuate the Negro problem and the value gap will never be uprooted.
The minority race cannot kill the idea of whiteness. That is something those with racial privilege must do. For their part, Glaude claims, Black Americans must reclaim the power of imagination. Imagination greatly influenced the slaves of the South. Their imagination allowed the slaves to see beyond slavery. With imagination, not only are you able to see beyond the current condition, it also involves empathetic projection. Glaude’s lecture was an educational experience. Throughout the entire lecture I was on the edge of my seat. Individually I learned that, as a society we of all races must attend to our characters if we wish to alter our narcissistic tendencies and selfishness and become open to new ideas.
Back in April, Dr. Shaul Magid, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington, delivered his “After Multiculturalism: Postethnicity and the Future of Judaism in America” as the Department of Religious Studies’ 13th Annual Aronov Lecture. The lecture series is named after the late Aaron Aronov — the founder of Aronov Realty and the person for whom the Department’s endowed chair in Judaic Studies is also named.
Did you miss the lecture? Well you’re in luck because we filmed it! It’s just been uploaded to Vimeo, so give it a watch.
Dr. Shaul Magid of Indiana University, Bloomington,
this year’s Aronov Lecturer.
Named after the late Aaron Aronov–the founder of Aronov Realty for whom the Department’s endowed chair in Judaic studies is also named–the annual Aronov Lecture series was established in 2002. This year’s event will feature Dr. Shaul Magid (Indiana University, Bloomington) presenting his lecture “After Multiculturalism: Postethnicity and the Future of Judaism in America.” Continue reading →
On March 4, 2014, Dr. Richard King, Professor of Buddhist and Asian Studies at the University of Kent, UK, delivered his “From Mysticism to Spirituality: Colonial Legacies and the Reformulation of ‘the Mystic East'” as the Department of Religious Studies’ 12th Annual Aronov Lecture, named after the late Aaron Aronov — the founder of Aronov Realty and the person for whom the Department’s endowed chair in Judaic studies is also named. To learn a little more about Dr. King, take a look at his interview. Continue reading →