Department of Religious Studies News

UT Hosts Lecture on Israeli Constitutionalism


Tsvi Kahana, associate professor of law at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, will give the Karen and Pace Robinson Lecture on Modern Israel on Tuesday, March 25. Kahana’s lecture, “Majestic Constitutionalism: The Israeli Version,” begins at 7:00 p.m. in Room 132 of the College of Law. A reception will follow. Both events are free and open to the public.

Author to Speak on “Dark Green” Nature Religion at UT


Author and professor Bron Taylor will discuss how a multifaceted trend of “dark green” religion is becoming a global movement at UT’s fourth annual David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture on Thursday, February 20. Taylor’s lecture, “Spirituality After Darwin: ‘Dark Green’ Nature Religion as Global Religious Movement,” is presented by the Issues Committee and co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies.

Pregame Showcase Features Expert on Ghosts in Buddhism

Before the Vols vs. Gamecocks football game on Saturday, fans are invited to hear some pre-Halloween ghost stories from Thailand, as part of the College of Arts and Science Pregame Showcase. “Haunted Bangkok: Angry Spirits, Buddhist Power, and Popular Media in Thailand,” features Rachelle Scott, associate professor of religious studies. The showcase kicks off at 10:01 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

UT Archaeologists Uncover Lost Roman Outpost in Southern Jordan

Rare new details about an ancient Roman fort in southern Jordan have been uncovered by two UT professors. Robert Darby, a lecturer in art history in the School of Art, and Erin Darby, an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, direct the ‘Ayn Gharandal archaeological project that has uncovered details about the fort, including the previously unknown location of an ancient infantry unit.

Human Rights Week to Feature Talk by Kofele-Kale

The UT Amnesty International chapter will celebrate its third annual Human Rights Week March 11 through 20 with speakers on issues ranging from due process rights in foreign lands to reproduction rights to prisoners wrongly sentenced on death row. The week will kick off with a lecture by Ndiva Kofele-Kale at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 11, in the University Center Ballroom. A former UT faculty member, Kofele-Kale is now a professor of public international law at Southern Methodist University. Kofele-Kale, who was born in Cameroon, is leading the defense team representing Marafa Hamidou Yaya, former Secretary General of the Presidency of Cameroon.

Black History Month: Professor Emeritus Writes about Being Sharecropper’s Son

John O. Hodges teaching a class.

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta by sharecroppers, John O. Hodges was expected to work in the fields alongside his parents once he was old enough. His stepfather had different plans. Bargaining with the landowner, Hodges’s stepfather said he would do twice the work if Hodges could go to school, which resulted in a doctorate in religion and literature from the University of Chicago in 1980.

Dungan Memorial Lecturer to Speak About Sin

Historian of religion Paula Fredriksen will focus on sin when she delivers the third annual David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, February 19. The event, hosted by the Department of Religious Studies, begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Fredriksen, the William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, will discuss the topic of her most recent book, Sin: The Early History of an Idea.

Professors Make Archaeological Finds in Jordan; Epigrapher to Speak Tuesday

Erin Darby, an assistant professor of religious studies, and Robert Darby, a lecturer in art history and classics, have spent the past three years excavating an archaeological site in southern Jordan. What they’ve found there, Robert Darby said, is “remarkable.” The epigrapher for the excavation—Chris Rollston, associate professor at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Johnson City, TN—will be at UT on Tuesday, October 30, to talk about his work on a variety of archaeological projects with biblical ties.

Judeo-Arabic Linguistics Expert to Speak at UT

Benjamin Hary

Linguistics scholar Benjamin Hary of Emory University will kick off the newly created Karen and Pace Robinson Lecture on Modern Israel at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 29, in the McClung Museum auditorium at UT. Hary’s lecture is titled “The Politics of Judeo-Arabic: Israel as a Bilingual State.”

Never Forget: UT Professor Teaches Class on ‘Voices of the Holocaust’

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, but Professor Gilya Schmidt does her part every day to make sure people don’t forget the horrors of the Holocaust. A professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Schmidt has researched the world of German Jewry for the past twenty years. She teaches the undergraduate course Voices of the Holocaust each spring.