ReligionWise features educators, researchers, and other professionals discussing their work and the place of religion in the public conversation. Host Chip Gruen, the Director of the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding of Muhlenberg College, facilitates conversations that aim to provide better understanding of varieties of religious expression and their impacts on the human experience. For more about the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding, visit www.religionandculture.com.
In this episode of ReligionWise, we talk with Sonja Thomas, Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Colby College. In addition to her work on caste, class, and racial privilege in Kerala, India, Dr. Thomas has become a leading voice arguing against caste discrimination in the United States. This conversation considers caste alongside of race, gender, sexual identity, and religion as cite of discriminat...
In this episode of ReligionWise, we talk with Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Professor of Rabbinic Judaism in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Though her research considers the intersections of Rabbinic thought and the development of the Talmud with early Christianity, she is also keenly interested in thinking about the role of the humanities in the context of the modern University. Thr...
In this episode of ReligionWise, we talk with Dena Davis, Presidential Endowed Chair in Health and Professor of Bioethics at Lehigh University. In addition to her work in healthcare ethics, Dr. Davis has written on a brewing controversy over a group of ultra-Orthodox religious schools in New York. These Yeshivas concentrate their instruction, not on English, math, and science, but on the study of religious texts. The result of this...
This episode of ReligionWise features the Reverend Janelle Neubauer who currently serves as the College Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Muhlenberg College. Prior to holding that post, Pastor Neubauer has had a number of experiences in ministry abroad, including as a missionary pastor for the Lutheran Church of Rwanda. In this conversation, we discuss the contemporary practice of global mission work in the p...
This episode of ReligionWise features Chris Borick the Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. In this conversation, we consider how pollsters try to understand religious identity and sentiment, the limitations of those methods for considering religious minorities, and how the rise of a religiously unaffiliated public has shown up in recent polls.
This episode features Reverend Frederick Davie, who among other roles, serves as the Senior Advisor on Racial Equity for Interfaith America. In this far ranging discussion, we talk about the role of interfaith dialogue in wider public discourse, the shifting understanding of religious freedom, and the relationship between governmental policy and the priorities of religious communities.
This episode features Rangina Hamidi, who, until the fall of the government in 2021, served as the Education Minister for Afghanistan. In this conversation, Hamidi talks about her life in public service and discusses the complicated relationship between religion and education in contemporary Afghanistan.
Today’s episode features Matthieu Aikins, an award winning journalist and reporter who covered the war in Afghanistan and the subsequent refugee crisis.
In this conversation, we consider both his reporting from Kabul after the fall of the Afghan government as well as the plight of refugees as they flee the country and the Taliban.
This installment of ReligionWise features Kocku von Stuckrad, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
In this conversation, we discuss discourse analysis and its utility in the academic study of religion. In particular, we consider examples from Professor von Stuckrad’s two most recent books: The Scientification of Religion (2015) and A Cultural History of the Soul (2022).
This installment of ReligionWise features Tim Loftus, a recent Ph.D. from Temple University who studies contemporary forms of Buddhism. In this conversation, we discuss Buddhism in various geographic and cultural contexts. In particular, our conversation turns to the way that Buddhism is imagined in the contemporary world and the relationship between that narrative and the historical record.
In this episode of ReligionWise, we talk with Tom Robinson and Hillary Rodrigues, two professors at the University of Lethbridge who direct the Robinest project, a website that provides digital resources for the academic study of religion. In this conversation we talk about these resources, and more generally about dispelling misconceptions of the academic study of religion in contemporary higher education and public discourse.
In this episode of ReligionWise, we talk with Jodi Eichler-Levine Professor of Religion Studies and Berman Professor of Jewish Civilization at Lehigh University. Our conversation considers the way that storytelling helps individuals and communities organize their lives and imagine their own identities, particularly when processing traumatic events.
This installment of ReligionWise considers the place of teaching about religion and religious diversity in public secondary education. Our conversation features Greg Soden, who has taught courses on world religions in various high school contexts. Together, we think about the benefits and challenges of a religious studies curriculum in a public context.
In this episode of ReligionWise, the discussion features Jessica Cooperman, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Studies and Director of Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College. Our conversation focuses on the materials and methods that a historian uses to paint a picture from the past, including publicly and privately held archives.
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation with Khurram Hussain, Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Lehigh University.
In this far ranging conversation, we discuss the often overlooked humanistic elements present in Islam, reflect on ill-conceived narratives of intercultural interactions, and consider better ways of facilitating understanding across difference.
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation between Carrie Duncan, Program Specialist for the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding and Jill Peterfeso, the Eli Franklin Craven and Minnie Phipps Craven Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Guilford College.
In this conversation, we consider how an element of American popular culture, the Disney corporation and in particular Walt Disney World, can be bette...
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation with Dustin Nash, Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College.
In this conversation, we discuss conspiracy narratives and how the methods of religious studies can help us understand why individuals believe what they believe. Additionally, we consider how belief can lead to action as well as support an individual's view of self and identity.
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation with Thaddeus “Tad” Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Muhlenberg College.
In this conversation, we discuss the field philosophy of religion. Among other topics, Dr. Robinson details some of the classic questions addressed in philosophy of religion and the place of this sub-field in the larger field of philosophy. Finally, we explore how considering...
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation with Hartley Lachter, Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Lehigh University, where he holds the Philip and Muriel Berman Chair in Jewish Studies, and serves as the director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies.
In this conversation, the origins of antisemitism are discussed as well as the contemporary social functions of the phenomenon.
This episode of ReligionWise features a conversation with Simran Jeet Singh, a highly sought out speaker on diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and anti-racism. His thought leadership extends across corporate, university and government settings, and his work has been featured in various outlets including NPR, CNN, BBC, Time, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Simran is especially passionate about creating more cohesion, ...
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