ReligionWise

ReligionWise

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.

Episodes

April 15, 2024 55 mins

This episode of ReligionWise features Vicki Garlock, Ph.D., the founder of World Religions for Kids. Trained as a cognitive psychologist, Dr. Garlock's longtime interest in religion and religious diversity has inspired her to produce children's books and train educators on the importance of religious literacy for even the youngest learners. Today's conversation considers the legal and pedagogical issues entailed with...

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Today's conversation features Jane Fitzpatrick, a contributing writer to Religion Matters who covers the intersection of religion and the performing arts, with a particular emphasis on the opera. Conversations about religion in the public square happen in all kinds of contexts. This episode considers the many ways that religion is both represented and critiqued in the high cultural form of the opera. We also consider storytell...

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Religious diversity on college and university campuses can be a complicated subject. Varieties of traditions and worldviews have been present at institutions of higher education for a long time, yet recognizing and welcoming those various religious identities has not always automatically followed.

Today's episode of ReligionWise features Adeel Zeb, who has served as a Muslim college chaplain on several campuses over the last de...

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January 15, 2024 52 mins

This episode welcomes back Tad Robinson, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at Muhlenberg College.

In his recent work, Robinson has asked how reframing questions of religious activity as spiritual rather than religious might lead to different insight and understanding of prayer, meditation, and a variety of other practices. We also discuss the realities of teaching a new generation that is less connected to religious institutions as wel...

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Every four years Iowa takes its stage in the national spotlight as the United States presidential race starts to heat up. This first opportunity for voters to choose a candidate to run in the national election, the Iowa Caucuses have an outsized place in our political geography. 

In this episode of ReligionWise, State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott and host Chip Gruen discuss many issues at the confluence of religion and pol...

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This episode of ReligionWise features Dr. Lorenzo Servitje, Associate Professor Literature and the Director of the Health, Medicine and Society program at Lehigh University. Trained in both Victorian Literature and Public Health, he considers the way that culture influences and is influenced by questions of health, healthcare, and disease.

In this conversation we consider the broader field of Medical Humanities, where it ...

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This episode of ReligionWise features a slightly different format. Instead of an interview, Jessica Cooperman, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Studies and Director of Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College, and host Chip Gruen have a conversation that responds to a listener question about the methods of the Institute. We discuss the assumptions and implications of the dominant paradigm in public conversations of religion, &...

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In this episode we talk with Nicole McGalla, Director of Communications and Community Engagement at the Parkland School District, in Eastern Pennsylvania. This conversation considers both the inclusion of the topic of religion into public school curricula as well as how religious diversity among both staff and students is addressed in the contemporary context.

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This episode of ReligionWise features Dr. Bob Machamer who teaches courses on Health Care Ethics at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. In this conversation we consider both the historical context for considering healthcare ethics and the changing dynamics of the field, particularly as it addresses the implications of a more diverse patient population. As a teacher, counselor, and pastor, Dr. Machamer brings a multifaceted...

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Many current news, such as the overturning of Roe v Wade, the ongoing war in Ukraine, or recent investigations of unidentified aerial phenomenon, have increasingly become fodder for integration into fringe worldviews that we often refer to as conspiracy theories. This episode's encore presentation invites us to consider this development in our information ecosystem from another perspective. Rather than simply considering the c...

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This episode of ReligionWise features Rev. Dr. Falres Ilomo, Chair of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Iringa, Tanzania. Dr. Ilomo's work considers the intersections of traditional African religious systems with Christianity in Africa, as well as the history and development of Christianity in Tanzania and the surrounding region. In this conversation, we discuss the perceptions and realities of the varieties of reli...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Show notes:

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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).


Show Notes:

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