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Department of Religious Studies

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Department of Religious Studies

News & Events

RLGS wElcomes our New MA students - Orientation Friday, Sept 5

We look forward to welcoming ALL incoming RLGS MA students on Friday, September 5. Continuing MA students are strongly encouraged to join as well.

9:00-9:30 a.m.  Light breakfast and coffee, get-to-know each other

9:30-11 a.m..  Department orientation with special focus on degree completion requirements.

11:00-11:15 a.m.  Break.

11:15-11:45   Course planning for new students  (All incoming students are required to take RLGS 4000 Theory and Methods in the Study of Religion as well as those continuing students who have not already had it)

11:45-12:00.  Remarks by the division dean's staff.

Orientation will be held in Sturm Hall, Room 286 (2 nd Floor).

RLGS MA Program Alumnus publishes letter on REligion and scholarly inquiry in the Chronicle of Higher Education

RLGS MA program alumnus and Boston University doctoral student Adam Westbrook has published a thoughtful and timely letter in the  Chronicle of Higher Education , responding to recent discussions on the relationship between religious affiliation and scholarly inquiry in higher education. 

Adam writes:

Is it possible that colleges and universities who are not "religious" make unprovable truth or values claims about the world? Or do justly accredited institutions only value and support those fields that can be "objectively" proven to be true? Finally, is it the case that the academy requires, to some degree, that we operate, study, and inquire with unprovable assumptions all the time?

Questions like these have led me to devote my professional life (and much of my personal life) to the academy. The humanities, a field of which I am a part, is a field of inquiry that comes from a long tradition that relies on operating with unproven assumptions about what it means to be human, and makes value judgments regarding the best tools for assessing these questions and interpreting our experiences and the world around us. While we might be able to support an argument for why skills and abilities like critical thinking, empathy development, and how the ability to see things from multiple perspectives can be useful and helpful in society, it is quite difficult to undoubtedly prove that these are the best skills one can have to live the most fulfilling and contented life, or that they might lead us to some absolute and/or "objective" truth.

For the rest of his letter, please visit the Chronicle's website

RLGS Welcomes back Associate Professor Ginni Ishimatsu after her three-year term as Associate Dean

The Department of Religious Studies is delighted to welcome back Associate Professor Ginni Ishimatsu as an active member of the departmental faculty. Professor Ishimatsu served as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences from July 2011 through June 2014, where she focused on developing the Division's Liberal Arts Advantage initiative as well as strengthening the undergraduate curriculum and supporting faculty in their undergraduate teaching and advising roles. Faculty members and students alike look forward to having her back in the Department!

RLGS Post-Doctoral Fellow Nicole Willock Accepts Tenure-Track Position at Old Dominion

The Department of Religious Studies is delighted to announce that our post-doctoral fellow, Professor Nicole Willock, has accepted a tenure-track job in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Old Dominion University. Since arriving at DU in Fall 2011, Professor Willock's classes have been filled beyond capacity, while she has maintained an active publishing and conference presentation agenda. We look forward to hearing about her continued success in her new position - Old Dominion is lucky to have her on its faculty!

Joint Doctoral Program Students win THETA ALPHA KAPPA's 2014 Albert Clark Awards - first and second prizes

The Department of Religious Studies is delighted to announce that two of our Joint Doctoral Program students have won first and second place in the Theta Alpha Kappa  2014 Albert Clark Awards. Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology, offers $500 prizes and publication in its Journal to winners; one first and one second place awardee are chosen each year. The Department established its chapter in 2012. 

This year, the first place award went to Catherine Orsborn, for her essay "Colonialism and the Making of Religion: Egyptian Religious Identity in Historical Perspective". Second place went to David Pettit, for his essay "'The Lord Has Made the Jordan a Boundary Between Us and You': Religious Conflict and Conceptions of Identity and Territory in Joshua 22". Both essays will be published in TAK's Journal in 2015.

In addition to being doctoral students in good standing, Orsborn is an alumna of the Department's MA program in religious studies

The Department congratulates both winners and is delighted to see our students doing so well.

Interested in RLGS Events? Join our Events List Server

The Department of Religious Studies now has a dedicated events list server.

This list is open to DU and community members, and highlights forthcoming Department of Religious Studies events. We are a highly active department and welcome faculty, students, staff members, and members of the broader Denver community to our talks, panels, and other events.

For more information or to join the list server, please visit this page.

RLGS hosted Regional AAR Annual Meeting March 29-30

The Department of Religious Studies was delighted to host the 2014 Rocky Mountains and Great Plains Regional Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (which includes the Society for Biblical Literature and ASOR).

For more information on the regional meeting, including presenter information and conference photos, please visit our conference website: