University of Pittsburgh

Department of Religious Studies

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New & Noteworthy

October 13, 2017, 9a-5p, 4130 WWPH
Symposium: Europe's Muslim Question
Itinerary Contact: Dr. Jeanette Jouili

October 16, 2017, 12 noon-1:30p, 501 CL
Fighting with Faith: Jewish Military Chaplains and the American State
Ronit Stahl, fellow of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvannia

October 16, 2017, 6 pm-7:30 pm, 501 CL   
Conscientious Objection and Professional Obligation: From Military Chaplains to Modern Medicine
Ronit Stahl, fellow of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, PerelmanSchool of Medicine, University of Pennsylvannia

November 30, 2017, 6:00p, venue 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

December 1, 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.


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.


1102 The History of God
1370 Global Christianity
1475 Religious Diversity


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.


Because many Jews consider Torah scrolls to be sacred and treasured objects, and because of great expense involved commissioning new scrolls, many Torah scrolls have long, fascinating histories. When synagogues dwindle and decline, they do not discard their Torah Scrolls but pass them along to new congregations. When, historically, Jews have been forced to flee their communities because of persecution, they often took Torah scrolls with them as they sought safer shores. Uncovering the histories of individual Torah scrolls, therefore, can tell us a great dealabout Jewish history. In the spring of 2017, the students in Dr. Rachel Kranson’s “Jews and Judaism: Modern” course researched the histories of ten of the Torah Scrolls that can be found in the Pittsburgh area. In the process, they discovered a rich history of Jewish migration, mobility, spirituality, and community-building.


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.


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.

PROMOTIONS as of Fall Term 2017

Ben Gordon joins the faculty as assistant professor and Rosenerg-Perlow Fellow of Classical Judaism.

Rebecca Denova is promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Haya Feig is promoted to Lecturer 2.


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)

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)

Revised 10/15/17 | Copyright 2007 | Site by UMC WebTeam