Religious Studies

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan | Teaching Religion in Public: Re-reading Abington v Schempp for the Twenty-First Century (Roetzel Family Lecture in Religious Studies)

What does it mean to teach religion in public? Is the task of religious studies instructors different at a public university? The US has decided constitutionally not to define religion—indeed, it is radically indeterminate by design—yet under the free exercise clause the US has decided to protect it, and it must be defined in order to be protected. And while religious studies instructors reflexively understand the words “religion” and “religious” to change meaning over time and place, the law plays a part in the consolidation of those meanings.

Alison Collis Greene | ‘We Didn’t Know We Was Poor’: Southern Churches, the New Deal, and the Myth of the Redemptive Depression

In the twenty-first century, white southern churches overwhelmingly support Republican efforts to dismantle the welfare state, and religious leaders like Franklin Graham provide the language and rationale for that work. They have not always done so. In the wake of the most devastating economic crisis of the twentieth century, southern churches helped build a New Deal welfare state that in turn reshaped the place of churches in their local communities.

Race, Religion, and Gender: Driving the 2016 Election

A panel discussion exploring how the roles of race, religion and gender are influencing American politics, and particularly the 2016 elections. Perspectives from a variety of fields across the University of Minnesota looking at the current political climate, and its impact on the future of American government. Confirmed panelists include Jeanne Kilde (Religious Studies), Enid Logan (Sociology, African American Studies), Mary Vavrus (Communication Studies, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies), and moderator Eric Schwartz (Public Affairs).

Arshiya Sethi | Politics, Performance, and Patronage: The Problematic in the National Recognition of the Dance of Assam's Sattras

In November 2000, India gave national recognition to the Dance of the Sattras of Assam, compelling it to live two lives – as religious ritual and as stage practice. This move has resulted in subtle yet significant changes to the dance—including the geography and gender of those practicing the dance, as well as its agenda, artistry, and content. This talk interrogates this federal maneuver as one driven by political expediency rather than artistic valorization.