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The 30th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture
Featuring Dr. Leela Prasad: Possession, Place, and Pact in Making a Generous World
Date: October 26, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: ECU Hendrix Theatre Auditorium
“How might ancient and medieval Indian traditions of sculpture, song, and bring an ethics and poetics of generosity to a troubled modern world? My talk will illustrate through these older traditions that it is possible to share ownership of space and things, and to create pacts of mutual moral obligations that assure each other that we all matter”
ECU Religious Studies Program and the J. Woolard and Helen Peel Distinguished Chair in Religious Studies will host Dr. Leela Prasad: Possession, Place, and Pact in Making a Generous World, the 30th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture.
Dr. Prasad is an expert in several areas, including colonialism and decoloniality, Gandhi, religion and modernity, and the intersections of religion, anthropology, history, and literature. She authored “Poetics of Conduct: Narrative and Moral Being in a South Indian Town (Columbia University Press, 2007), which was awarded the “Best First Book in the History of Religions Prize” by the American Academy of Religion. She also authored “The Audacious Raconteur: Sovereignty and Storytelling in Colonial India (Cornell University Press, 2020). In 2019, Leela was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring by Duke’s Graduate School. She is Vice-President of the American Academy of Religion and will serve as its president from 2024-2025. She has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for 2023 to pursue her ethnographic book on Gandhi–inspired individuals who have served prison sentences in contemporary India.
All are welcome to attend her lecture which is free to the public.
The 29th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture
Jim Wallis: Faith and Social Justice
Date: October 19, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Wright Auditorium.
ECU Religious Studies Program and the J. Woolard and Helen Peel Distinguished Chair in Religious Studies hosts Jim Wallis: Faith and Social Justice, the 29th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture.
Jim Wallis is a best-selling author, public theologian, and professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy and Founder Director of the Center for Faith and Justice at Georgetown University. He is a Globally respected writer, speaker, and the founder and Editor of Sojourners Magazine. Read more about him at his profile page.
Holy Envy: Learning to Live with Religious Difference
Date: October 26, 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Hendrix Theatre ( Mendenhall Students Center)
Religious Studies will host the 28th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 7 pm, featuring Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor. She will present a lecture titled, “Holy Envy: Learning to Live with Religious Difference.” The event will be a face-to-face lecture to be held in Hendrix Theatre (Mendenhall Students Center). Please take note of the venue change. We will also offer the option of virtual streaming for those who cannot make the face-to-face event. No registration is required for attending in person or virtually. To access the virtual livestreaming of the event, click this link at the time of the event. ECU students can log with their pirate ID using this link. Parking is available at the ECU Student Center Parking Deck. Also, visit the Religious Studies Program website to learn more about our program. If you plan on attending in person or virtually, it would be helpful to us if you complete a short survey of the lecture series. Thank you for attending. We are honored to have you in our audience. Campus regulations require mask wearing and social distancing. Contact Dr. Nyangweso at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The Religion of Whiteness
Date: March 25, 2021
Venue: Virtual Lecture
Time: 5:30 PM
Dr. J. Kameron Carter is Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director of the Center for Religion and the Human at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interest is the theory and practice of blackness with specific concern for what he calls the “dissident sacred” or “fugitive sacrality” that is internal to black social life. He is the author of Race: A Theological Account (NY: Oxford UP, 2008) and The Religion of Whiteness (forthcoming; Yale UP), from which he draws today’s lecture. His manuscript “Black Rapture: A Poetics of the Sacred” is in the final stages of preparation. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Program and the J. Woolard and Helen Peel Distinguished Chair in Religious Studies. To Register and to access the lecture click here https://ecu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9WuUghvHIT91uPc. Join early. For information, visit https://religionprogram.ecu.edu/.
The 27th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture
“Faith and Climate: Trying to make sense of the biggest things that ever happened”
Date: September 19, 2019
Venue: Student Center Ballroom A&B
Professor Bill McKibben will be the next Distinguished speaker on Religion and Culture. Professor McKibben is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the anti-carbon campaign group 350.org. He has authored a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature (1989), about climate change. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His book The End of Nature has appeared in 24 languages. Also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and Universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe describes him as “probably America’s most important environmentalist.” Religious Studies is proud to host him.
The 26th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture featured Dr. Candida Moss. Her lecture, titled was “The Myth of Persecution: How persecution radicalizes and polarizes in the ancient and modern worlds.” She explored a common theme in histories of Christianity is that Christians have been consistently persecuted from the crucifixion to the present day.
The 25th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture (DLRC) featured Dr. Rev. William Barber II on October 26, 2017. Dr Barber gave a lecture on “Poor People’s Campaign and National Call for Moral Revival.” Dr. Barber II is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, president of the North Carolina NAACP and pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro. He is also president of Repairers of the Breach.
Professor Hellen Idler of Emory University gave a talk titled “Religion as the Invisible Determinant of Public Health.”
Professor John Blevins of Emory University gave a talk titled ” Religion, Politics and Global Health: Controversies and Compromises in the Primary Health Care Movement.”
The Julian David Whichard Public Lecture in the Humanities Series featured Dr. Stephen Prothero of Boston University. Prothero gave a lecture titled “Religious Literacy in an Age of Strongmen.” Dr. Prothero is Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books, including Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (HarperOne, 2016), and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know-and Doesn’t (HarperOne, 2007). His lecture was co-sponsored by the Julian David Whichard Public Lecture in the Humanities Series.
For more information, please contact the Program Director.
Prominent speakers who have delivered the lecture include:
- Candida Moss, “The Myth of Persecution: How persecution radicalizes and polarizes in the ancient and modern worlds,” 2018
- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, “Poor People’s Campaign and National Call for Moral Revival,” October 2017
- Eboo Patel, “Interfaith Leadership Can Save the World” November 7, Fall 2016
- Raymond Moody, “Life After Life: The Meaning of Near Death Experiences,” Fall, 2015
- Jose Casanova, Professor of Sociology and head of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, “Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity.” Spring 2014
- Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University, “Strange Bedfellows: The Bible, American Politics, and Homosexuality.” Spring 2013
- J. Kameron Carter, Duke University Divinity School, “Religion and the Post-Racial Condition.” Spring 2012
- Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary (retired), “Recovery from the Long Nightmare of Amnesia.” Spring 2010
- Matthew Fox, theologian and author, “Reinventing Christianity.” Fall 2010
- William G. Dever, Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Arizona (retired), “Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel.” Spring 2008
- Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, Oregon State University (retired), “Christians in the Age of Empire.” Fall 2008
- Phyllis Trible, University Professor of Biblical Studies at Wake Forest University Divinity School, “Taking Back the Bible.” Fall 2006
- Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University Divinity School, “Why No One Wants to Die in America.” Fall 2005
- Christian Smith, Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNC-CH, “Is ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ America’s Real Religious Faith? Popular Religion From the Mouths of American Youth.” Fall 2004
- Charles Kimball, chair and professor of Religion at Wake Forest University, “When Religions Become Evil.” Fall 2003
- Will D. Campbell, retired, “Speaking His Mind.” Spring, 2003
- Elizabeth A. Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion, Duke University, “What’s the Matter with Marriage? Some Early Christian Answers.” Fall 2001
- Huston Smith, University of California, Berkeley (retired), “Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith in an Age of Disbelief.” Fall 2000
- Bill J. Leonard, Dean, Wake Forest University Divinity School, “Spirituality in America: Faith or Fad?” Spring 1999
- Lawrence Cunningham, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, “Thomas Merton: Contemplative Monk as Critic of Culture.” Fall 1999
- Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Professor Sociology of Religion, Center for Social and Religious Research, Hartford Seminary, “Christianity in a Postmodern World: Challenges and Opportunities.” Spring 1998
- Os Guinness, author and lecturer, “The Crisis of Cultural Authority and the Christian Faith.” Spring 1997
- William H. Willimon, Dean of the Chapel and Professor, Duke Divinity School, “Thinking Like a Christian in the Post-Modern World.” Fall 1995
- Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological Seminary, “Unmasking the Powers.” Fall 1994
- Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern Christianity, University of Chicago, “What a Way to End a Millennium: Fundamentalism and Other Hardlines, Today and Tomorrow.” Fall 1993
- Dennis Campbell, Dean, Duke Divinity School. “The Changing Role of Religion in American Culture.” Fall 1992
Individuals with Disabilities
Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours prior to the event at 252-328-6799 voice or 252-328-0899 TTY.
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Lectures on DVD
Some of the more recent Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture are available at the links provided at the Video section or on DVD of on the link. Please contact the Director of the Program, Dr. Mary Nyangweso for any of the videos. Provide the following information:
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