Religion Department News


  • Associate Professor of Religion, Noah Salomon, has received a prestigious New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a new project, "Thinking Islam across the Sunni-Shi‘i Divide: A New Approach to Islamic Studies." Among all grants available to humanities scholars, New Directions Fellowships have the largest in size and the longest in duration—up to $300,000 and three years. His project will explore the intertwinings of the Sunni and Shi‘i worlds and develop a unique new perspective on key questions that have troubled Islamic studies, and religion at large, for decades. His project will involve extensive travel and language study as well as deep research into Shi’ite Islam. In addition to a new scholarly project, the New Directions Fellowship will also enable him to launch new courses related to his studies.

  • Members of the Halau preparing to teach Hula master class

    In late October, when most Minnesotans are dreaming of better weather, an outgoing troupe of Hawaiian dancers left their warm island homes to visit Carleton College. During their stay, members of the Hula group were invited to speak in Bloomer's religion course, The Sacred Body. They also visited the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, led a Hula workshop on campus, and concluded their visit with a public Hula performance, open to the Carleton community and beyond.

  • Associate Professor of Religion Kristin Bloomer has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), for her project "Kula Teyvam:  Family Gods and Changing Places in Tamil Nadu."  The 9-month fellowship, granted to "superior Indologists in the humanities," will allow Bloomer to conduct research on women in a patrilocal, patrilineal society in Tamil Nadu, South India.  In particular, she will examine the adaptation of certain Hindu rituals that allow gender-bending possibilities as women and men seek answers to questions about their intimate relations to place and one another:  identity, loyalty, family, love, belonging, and home.

  • Michael McNally, Professor of Religion, has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, one of the most prestigious grants in the scholarly world and in the arts, to complete a book, Native American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment.

    McNally is just the fourth Carleton faculty member to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in the program's 92-year history. The award recognizes the promise of his book project, which explores what happens to Native American claims to sacred places, practices, objects, knowledge, and ancestral remains in the law, when such sacred claims do not easily fit into the legal category of "religion."

    In telling the remarkable stories behind historical and current events such as the protests at Standing Rock, the book will take stock of the implications of Native Americans' religious-freedom claims in various legal discourses—environmental law, treaty based federal Indian law, historic preservation law, indigenous rights in international human rights law. McNally's book will inform discussions about religious freedom, the cultural history of religion, and the vitality of indigenous religions today. Notably, McNally's project has also received a 2017 Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • Vincent L. Wimbush is a scholar of religion and founding director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures, an independent international trans-disciplinary organization that engages “scriptures” and “scripturalizing” as cultural phenomena and as analytical wedges for critical comparative inquiry in discourse and power and social formation, thereby modeling and advancing a new field of critical research. His current research interests and projects involve theorizing scriptures as window onto the formation of African diasporas, and the formation of African diasporas as window onto the phenomenon of scripturalizing as modern formation. He is the author of scores of essays and articles and is author or editor of more than 12 books, including White Men’s Magic:  Scripturalization as Slavery; Scripturalizing the Human: The Written as the Political; MisReading America:  Scriptures and Difference; Theorizing Scriptures; and African Americans and the Bible.  He is also executive producer of a documentary film, Finding God in the City of Angels.

  • Bardwell Smith, Distinguished Asian scholar and Professor Emeritus at Carleton College, walked the Shikoku pilgrimage route in sections on seven occasions between 1983 and 2002, including twice with 30-40 American students from the Associated Kyoto Program (AKP) founded in 1970 by Carleton and Amherst.  The talk will take place from noon - 1pm in Weitz 236 on Thursday, April 7th, 2016.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.” [Matsuo Basho]

    "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." [African proverb]


  • Barbour Lecture on Religion and Modernity:  Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., Princeton University, is the guest speaker for this event.  The title of his talk is "Democracy in Black:  How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.  Eddie Glaude, the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton since 2002 was recently recognized in "News at Princeton" on Jan. 4, 2016.  Click here for the link to that article.

    Author Glaude will speak in Severance Great Hall at Carleton College on Thursday, February 11th at 7pm. 

    TAPED LECTURE at Carleton - please click here

  • Louis Newman, John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Dean of the College, will be interviewed on Krista Tippett's NPR program, "On Being" (formerly called, "Speaking of Faith") on Sunday, September 20, 2015.  The program focuses on his work on Jewish views of repentance, published a few years ago, and is timed to coincide with the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when repentance is a primary theme.  Check your MPR schedule for broadcast times, or the podcast can be downloaded here:

  • Anne E. Patrick, William H. Laird Professor of Religion and the Liberal Arts, Emerita, has published two online articles recently: "Women in the Church in the Age of Francis," and "The Vatican, 'Feminism', and U.S. Women Religious.

  • Roger Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, published three articles over the summer: "Did Tsongkhapa Teach Mahāmudrā?" came out in Zentralasiatische Studien (Bonn), while revised versions of his pieces on "Mahāmudrā in India" and "Mahāmudrā in Tibet" were posted by Oxford Bibliographies Online


  • Lori Pearson, Professor of Religion, presented a chapter on "Gender and Embodiment" at Oxford University for a workshop on "Dimensions of Nineteenth-Century Christian Thought" on June 22, and gave a public talk at Oxford on June 24.


    WEITZ 148 - 7:30pm

    "War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost." - Gertrude Stein

    In fall 2008, Western Nevada College sociology professor Don Carlson was stopped in his tracks by The New York Times' Roster of the Dead. "Four thousand faces of American military who had perished in Iraq stared at me," he said, "and I realized that this war has been perhaps one of the most impersonal wars ever fought."

    The heart of Always Lost is the Wall of the Dead: individual photographs with names of the more than 6,500 U.S. military war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. The exhibition has evolved into a powerful meditation on the effect of war on each of us. It has become a sacred space in which to contemplate the personal costs and collective sacrifice of these particular conflicts, and consequently, of all wars. In the meantime, casualties continue to mount, and the Wall of the Dead continues to grow.

    The opening reception for Always Lost is on October 13 at 7:30PM in Weitz 148. The exhibition will run through October 24. It is open to the public.

    The nationally touring humanities exhibit is on loan to the Minnesota Humanities Center from Western Nevada College and is sponsored by Carleton Humanities Center and Arts @ Carleton.