University of Pittsburgh

Department of Religious Studies

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New & Noteworthy


1256 Modern Israel and Palestine
1552 Buddhist Meditative Traditions


November 11,2017

Join Drs. Denova and Gordon (Religious Studies) and other Pitt faculty for a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Check out the temporary exhibition called "Gods and Heroes" and tour the museum's rich permanent collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

November 30, 2017, 6:00-8:00p, 602 CL
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, 10:00-11:15a, 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

PITT IN ISRAEL: New 2018 Summer Study Abroad Program!

Dates: June 6, 2018-July 8, 2018
Application Deadline: January 28, 2018
The first half of the program, led by Ben Giordon (Religious Studies), is based in the heart of Jerusalem. Students will learn about the politics of archaeology in the "Holy Land" by touring archaeological sites and museums, and will include excursions to the Dead Sea and Galilee, where students will learn about Jesus and archaeology while spending a few days in Nazareth. In the second half of the program, students will move to the center of Tel Aviv, where students will read modern Israeli and Palestinian literature with Kevin Haworth (Creative Writing Program, Carlow), an accomplished author, while living a short walk from the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout the program there will be occasional beginners-level lessons in Hebrew and Arabic in the evenings and guest lecturers from local experts in the fields of archaeology and literature.


Symposium on "The Logic of Racial Practice: Embodied Cognition, Habitus, and Implicit Bias" (April 12-14, 2018)
Deadline for Submissions: December 10, 2017 to Dr. Brock Bahler
CFP details


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, Ambivalent Embrace: Jewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America (UNC Press, 2017).

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)

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