Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Undergraduate Conference

This is just a reminder about the regional undergraduate conference in religion, philosophy, and culture on “The Future of Democracy.” The conference is scheduled for Saturday, March 31st at Lebanon Valley College. The keynote speaker will be Professor Catherine Keller from Drew University. She will be speaking on “The Daze of Democracy: Faith, Fear, and Freedom.” There will also be a full slate of student papers and panels scheduled throughout the day. Papers and panel proposals are due by January 1st for consideration.

You may find more information about the conference, including registration forms, at http://www.lvc.edu/colloquium/conference.aspx.

Jeffrey W. Robbins, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religion & Philosophy

Director of the College Colloquium
Lebanon Valley College
Annville, PA 17003

Associate Editor

Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory


tel: 717.867.6720
email: robbins@lvc.edu


If any of you have have been awarded any Arts and Sciences undergraduate honors, awards, or prizes in the last academic year (2005-2006) or so far this year (2006-2007), including Brackenridge/USS/Toretti summer research awards, please let me know in the next week (by December 8) so that your name can be forwarded to the Dean's office for participation in the Honors Convocation. Even if this award had nothing to do with Religious Studies, please let me know about it so we can keep a record of how accomplished you all are.

You can e-mail the information to ashear@pitt.edu.

Thank you.

Division of Student Affairs event November 29

Office of Cross-Cultural and Civic Leadership Presents:


Do you consider yourself an effective leader? Want to know the influence of faith on leadership? Hear from a panel of leaders of faith and join this leadership development and networking opportunity.

When: 8pm-10pm, Nov. 29, 2006

Where: Room 310, WPU

Pizza and Soda provided


Mr. Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director, the Pittsburgh Project

Mr. Amir Koubaa, President, Islamic Center of Pittsburgh

Mr. John Stahl-Wert, President/CEO, Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation

Ms. Rachel Steigerwalt, Program Coordinator, Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver

Mr. Aaron Weil, Executive Director, the Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
Thank you for your great help.

Huiping Xie (Ms.)
Office of Cross-Cultural and Civic Leadership
Division of Student Affairs
University of Pittsburgh

140 William Pitt Union
3959 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

The Vision of the Office of Cross-Cultural and Civic Leadership: To cultivate globally aware, culturally competent, and socially responsible students who positively impact the campus, the community and the greater society.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Correction: Two Lectures on the Two Mondays After Thanksgiving

The Moshe Ma'oz lecture mentioned in the last posting is on MONDAY DECEMBER 4 not Monday November 27. Sorry for any confusion.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two lectures on Monday after Thanksgiving

on Monday November 27:


at noon:
Lecture--Beyond the Analects: Unusual Faces of Confucius, a talk by Deborah Sommer, Gettysburg College
202 Frick Fine Arts Building
Sponsored by: Asian Studies Center

Was Confucius really a child-killer and devotee of Tibetan Bon? What was he doing in Vairocana's court? In Lin Biao's bedroom? Are his child-bestowing powers greater than Guanyin's? From the perspective of written texts, Confucius has often been understood as a paragon of wisdom and moral values. But looking at him from the perspective of the visual record, one can find that Confucius had many more faces than just that of "Sage." Deborah Sommer is Associate Professor and Chair of the Religion Department, Gettysburg College. This event is sponsored by the China Council, the Departments of History of Art and Architecture, History, East Asian Languages and Literatures, and Religious Studies, and the Asian Studies Center.


at 4 pm:
The Department of Religious Studies and the Program in Jewish Studies present:
Moshe Ma'oz
"Islam in the West: Conflict or Dialogue"
Mervis Hall Rm 115

Moshe Ma'oz is Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Rooney Visiting Scholar at Robert Morris University (Fall 2006). He is the author of Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine (1968), Syria under Hafez al-Assad (1975), and Syria and Israel: From War to Peacemaking (1995).
Cosponsored by University Center for International Studies, the Global Studies Program, and the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"Speaking of Faith" workshop TOMORROW

On next Monday (Nov 20) three organizations (Office of Cross Cultural &
Civic Leadership, Student Government Board Diversity, and Intercultural
Dialogue Group) presents "Speaking of Faith" at 8 pm in Kurtzman Room,

We will have representatives from different religions (Christianity,
Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, ...) and you can ask questions to them you
always wanted to.

Here is a short explanation about program:

The Cultural aspect of O3CL will deal with: "Speaking of Faith: Exploring
Common Values in Religious Diversity" on Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, in the
Kurtzman Rm. @ 8:00 pm

Come and join O3CL in a program that will feature some of the common
values among religious faiths as well as the features that make them
unique from each other. See how well you know how religion is impacting
our society, and how the values found in diverse religious faiths are
similar. Don't miss this workshop.

Light refreshments will be served.

Mahmut Demir
Intercultural Dialogue Group

Friday, November 17, 2006

Summer Opportunity in Israel

The Dorot Foundation is offering $5000 fellowships for project "promoting progressive social change in Israel" in the summer of 2007. Undergraduates at any U.S. college or university are eligible (of any religious or cultural background.)

If you are interested, I have information on this posted outside my office door (2603 CL).

Applications are due February 15, 2007.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Interested in teaching?

From Mary Beth Favorite in the Advising Center:

IL 1701 is a very good course for students considering secondary (7-12) education. A number of my students have taken the course and have found that it helped them get a better sense of what is involved in being a teacher and whether or not that is
something they want to pursue. The course is a good opportunity to get a
taste of the classroom without the responsibility of student teaching;
it is also an opportunity to make good contacts.

Other courses which provide good experience for students interested in
education are: IL 1700 (for elementary education) and IL 1710 (Literacy
in Context).

Students taking any of these classes must have clearance to prove that
they do not have a criminal history. Background check forms (Criminal
Record Check and Child Abuse) forms are available at the websites below.
The criminal record check can be filled out online.



It takes about 6 weeks for the forms to be processed, so students should
submit them as soon as possible. The clearances are good for 1 year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Friday Honors College lecture on Northern Ireland

"The Other Northern Ireland Peace Process":
Loyalist Political Thought from Long Kesh to Good Friday

Tony Novosel, Ph.D.
Department of History

Friday, November 17, 2006
3500 Cathedral of Learning
2 P.M.

Professor Tony Novosel is an historian with specializations ranging among
the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, modern European history, the
origins of mass violence in the 20th century, and the conflicts in Northern
Ireland, which is his subject today. Novosel's present research involves
interviewing current and former members of the Ulster Volunteer Force to
better understand the evolution of their political perspectives and how
they shifted from military to political conflict. Indeed, he just returned
from Belfast. In this lecture Novosel will share what he is learning about
the Loyalist Paramilitaries there. Do not miss these first hand insights
into processes of conflict resolution in that troubled region and the
techniques of historical analysis that help shed light on them.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Workshop on applying for scholarships

Free Scholarship Workshop at the Arts & Sciences Advising Center!
- Hear from a student about her experience searching for scholarships
and eventually getting over $10,000 per year for college from private
- Learn how to navigate the best websites for national and local
scholarship searches.
- Get the facts on scholarship myths - You don't need perfect grades!
- Learn great tips on how to fill out and maximize different parts of
scholarship forms such as letters of recommendation and essay questions
- Hear just how easy it is for YOU to get financial aid for college
-Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6:00-7:00 pm
-Arts and Sciences Advising Center

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Servce-Learning Abroad TONIGHT

Sorry everyone. Just got this today:

From: Eric Hartman [mailto:emhartman@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 10:48 AM
International Service-Learning Course Information Session Tonight - Please Spread the Word!

Hello Everyone!

EXPLORE another part of the world

SERVE in a community-driven service project

UNDERSTAND more about yourself, others, and international service and development

Amizade is offering Summer International Service-Learning Courses for credit through West Virginia University. Courses take place in Tanzania, Bolivia, Germany / Poland and in other communities around the world. The six credits earned may be transferred back to Pitt. Join us for an information session tonight, Wednesday the 8th, at 9pm in David Lawrence 120.

Early application increases odds of being accepted and /or receiving financial assistance!

Please forward.

Eric Hartman
PhD Student
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
University of Pittsburgh

Monday, November 06, 2006

Clark Chilson speaking at Pittsburgh Buddhist Center on Saturday

Saturday November 11

4:30 - 5.30 pm : “How do academics in America study Buddhism?”
A talk by Prof. Clark Chilson, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: "How do academics in America study Buddhism?" The study of Buddhism can be a transformative endeavor. For academics in Buddhist studies, however, the goal is not spiritual transformation but rather a deeper understanding of the words, thoughts, and actions of Buddhists. To give a glimpse into the world of academics who study Buddhism, I will first give a brief account of how I became involved in the study of Buddhism and then indicate different ways the life of the Buddha can be examined.

For directions and more information see: http://www.pittsburghbuddhistcenter.org/

Contemporary Religious History right here in Pittsburgh

From Rebecca Denova:

Two upcoming events in Pittsburgh should be of interest to our students. In
many of our classes, we deal so much with "history," that we sometimes need
to be reminded of contemporary issues in the interplay of religion and

On Thursday, November 9, at 7:00 pm, The Rev. Jozo Zovko will be at SS. John
& Paul parish in Franklin Park. Rev. Zovko was the pastor of the small
church where the visions of Mary first appeared to children in Medjugorje,
in the former Yugoslavia. For his defense of their story, the communist
authorities arrested him and kept him in jail for three years. As a
continuing site of pilgrimage, and because the visions continue to this day,
the Catholic Church has not officially ruled on whether or not they are
real. (You can find directions to the church on the internet.)

On Wednesday, November 15, at 9:00 am, the Rev. Janet Edwards, a
Presbyterian pastor (and a pastoral associate of the Community of
Reconciliation in Oakland) who sanctioned a marriage between two women, will
be put on "trial" by the Presbytery in The Priory, a small hotel located on
the North Side. She has sent out personal invitations, but has also
indicated that she wants "the whole world to come." This should be an
interesting event, and is of importance to the Presbyterian Church
nation-wide. (Again, you can find directions on the internet.)

Dr. Denova

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Rap Canterbury Tales

The Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies presents a FREE
performance that is open to all:

Baba Brinkman in "The Rap Canterbury Tales"
Wednesday, November 8th at 4:30

Alumni Hall, 7th floor auditorium

(This is the former Masonic Temple, directly across 5th avenue from the
Cathedral of Learning)

Baba Brinkman’s solo performance, “The Rap Canterbury Tales,” first
appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004. It is a re-creation of
Chaucer’s fourteenth century poem, in which a group of pilgrims traveling
from London to Canterbury enter into a tale-telling contest. At Pitt,
Brinkman will perform The Miller’s Tale, the Pardoner’s Tale, and the Wife
of Bath’s Tale in hiphop style. He will also relate the history of hiphop
culture and freestyle battling to Chaucer’s storytelling competition and
his treatment of poetic form in The Canterbury Tales.

This event is generously co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences,
the Department of English, the Program for Cultural Studies, and the
Poetry Club.

For more information please contact Jennifer Waldron (jwaldron@pitt.edu).

Islam and the West lecture

Professor Moshe Maoz
Monday, December 4, 2006
Mervis 115 4:00 PM
"Islam in the West: Conflict or Dialogue"

Burkas and Bubushkas

"Burkhas and Babushkas:
The Veiling of Women in Christianity and Islam"

One of the few elements of Islam that Westerners easily recognize, but rarely understand, is the "veiling" of Muslim women. At the same time, very few may be aware that the concept has roots in ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture, and was also an element in Christianity for millennia.

Pinar Emiralioglu (History) and Rebecca Denova (Religious Studies) will present a lecture on the ancient roots of this concept, as well as the way in which veiling continues as an essential aspect of Islam in various countries.

November 15. 2006
12 Noon
William Pitt Union

Pinar Emiralioglu is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History, and teaches courses on Islamic Civilization and the Ottoman Empire. Rebecca Denova is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies, and teaches courses on Early Christianity and various aspects of the social context of religion.

This lecture is sponsored by the Departments of Religious Studies, History, and the Honors College.

Brown-bag it, and then enjoy the cookies.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer program

From Sahar Oz, program director at Hillel:

Monday, November 6: "Dietrich Bonhoeffer - The Courage and Conviction of a German Pastor during the Holocaust"

What would you do if your government pursued genocide as public policy? How far would your conscience take you? On the 100th anniversary of his birth, come learn about a German Lutheran pastor who opposed the Nazis by plotting to assassinate Hitler and attempting to save Jews.

Presentation by Pastor Eric Andrae, founding member of the Bonhoeffer Centennial Committee of America, followed by Q&A.
8pm in University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning G-8.

Co-sponsored by Hillel, Lutheran Student Fellowship, The Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation, The Augsburg Academy, First Trinity Lutheran Church, Dept. of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Jewish Studies Program, and Dept. of Religious Studies.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kristallnacht Commemoration

Every year, the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and the Jewish Studies Program co-sponsor a commemoration of Kristallnacht (the infamous "Night of Broken Glass"). This year, the event is schedule for Monday, November 13, 2006 at 4:30 PM in Cathedral of Learning Room 363.

Heretical Clergy



presents a lecture by

(Samuel M. and Esther Melton Professor of History
The Ohio State University)


Wednesday November 15, 2006
4:30 pm
115 Mervis Hall
(Light refreshments will follow the lecture.)

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Professor Goldish is a graduate of UCLA and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton (1998), The Sabbatean Prophets (2004), and the editor of Spirit Possession in Judaism (2003).

St. Vincent Ferrer and the Chopped-up Baby

The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program presents:

Professor Laura Smoller
University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Department of History

“St. Vincent Ferrer and the Chopped-up Baby: Creating the Image of a New
Saint in the Fifteenth Century”

4:00 pm, Friday, November 10th in CL 501

There will be a reception immediately following the lecture: please join us!

In 1453, a woman testifying about the miracles of Vincent Ferrer reported
that the potential saint's intercession had restored a baby who had been
cut to pieces by his meat-craving, pregnant mother. Even at that point,
the story had something of a life of its own. After Vincent's 1455
canonization, this miracle was frequently depicted in art and hagiography.
In this talk, Smoller explores how this single, bizarre miracle tale
became crucial to the emerging image of the new saint, addressing nagging
doubts about the holy preacher's career and loyalties.

Laura Smoller received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in
1991. At the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Dr. Smoller teaches
courses on the history of disease, the history of apocalyptic thought, and
the history of magic and science. She is the author of History, Prophecy,
and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly (Princeton
University Press, 1994) as well as numerous articles on late medieval
astrology, eschatology, and miracles. Her work has been supported by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim

This talk has been generously co-sponsored by the Department of History,
the Department of French and Italian, and the Department of Religious

For more information, please contact Acting Director Jennifer Waldron at

Tell your friends about this blog

Amazingly, two months into the semester, I am still hearing from some Religious Studies majors who are wondering what happened to the e-mail announcements. Please mention this blog to at least 3 friends/colleagues in your Religious Studies classes today. Ask them to mention it to 3 friends.

Thank you.

More about Winter

Professor Denova writes the following to me, which you should all pay attention to, especially if you are new(ish) to Pitt:

If it snows, the University is ALWAYS open, unless there is a major blizzard
(rare). School and college closings are on all the local news channels and
the radio. If driving conditions look bad, nevertheless, the buses always
run; if it is so bad that the buses can't make it, that also will be on the
local news. Pitt is a residence campus and that is why it rarely closes.
However, there are many commuters as well. If you live in an area where
this can be a problem, you should be in contact with the Professor.

There are times when the Professor won't be able to make it in, and it is
the Professor's responsibility to contact the students for a particular
class cancellation. With the internet, this is now much easier than calling
everyone, so keep your email uncluttered and check it often during the
winter months.

There is a higher rate of cancellation during the winter for the evening
courses--as the sun sets, things begin to freeze. Again, keep in touch with
your Professor through the internet.

Rebecca Denova

Closed CGS classes

From the College of General Studies:

We are closing the following courses after granting permission to enroll to a number of students. The remaining seats will he reserved for CGS students. Seats in these classes will be available when the restrictions are lifted on 11/27/06.

Closed 10/31/06:
PSY 0182 (13212) Law and Social Psychology

Closed 10/30/06:
BIOSCI 0800 (19946) Biology for non-majors I
ENGCMP 0400 (13201) Written Professional Communication
HAA 0040 (13662) Introduction to Architecture

Closed 10/26/06:
ANTH 0768 #13659 Human Sexuality in Cross Cultural
NROSCI 0081 #13211 Drugs and Behavior
PSY 1230 #13678 Psychology of Death and Dying

John English
Director, Extended Education and Distance Learning
College of General Studies
University of Pittsburgh
412-624-7316 (voice)

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