2/25/2015 - Six IU researchers and scholars, including Religious Studies Adjunct Jamsheed K. Choksy, have been promoted to distinguished professor, the highest academic rank the university can bestow upon its faculty. The appointments were approved Feb. 20 by the IU Board of Trustees. The rank of distinguished professor was created by the Board of Trustees in 1967 and is conferred by the university president with approval by the board.
“These six distinguished professors have demonstrated sustained records of outstanding contributions across their widely varied disciplines through their research, teaching and service,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “All have had a transformative and strongly positive impact on their fields and on the university, exemplifying the highest standards of academic accomplishment, leadership and integrity. It is highly appropriate that they are being recognized with the university’s most prestigious faculty appointment.”
The distinguished professorship recognizes faculty who have transformed their fields of study and received international recognition for their work. Faculty, alumni, students and colleagues nominate candidates, citing outstanding research, scholarship and artistic or literary distinction. Nominations are reviewed by the University Distinguished Ranks Committee, which recommends appointments.
Choksy, a professor in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, is an authority of Iran, the Indian subcontinent, Zoroastrianism and Islam. His success in studying the Near East and South Asia stems from his unparalleled knowledge of primary language skills over more than 20 dialects. His research examines the development and interrelationship of communities, beliefs, politics, economics and security. The author of the groundbreaking book “Evil, Good and Gender: Facets of the Feminine in Zoroastrian Religious History,” he is a sought-after media commentator on topics and issues facing the region.
read the full press release from Inside IU here
Professor Candy Brown was awarded the 2014 Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize for her essay “Pentecostal Power: The Politics of Divine Healing Practices” by the American Society of Church History. The Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize is an annual award for the author of the best essay published during the previous calendar year on any aspect of the role of women in the history of Christianity.
Schott was awarded a $10,000 fellowship for his project, “Translation with Introduction and Commentary of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History.”
Selka was awarded $20,000 for his project, “Branding Brazil: Religion and the Uses of Cultural Heritage in Bahia.” As he writes in his proposal, "The state of Bahia is popularly known as the cradle of Afro-Brazilian culture, an image that has made it a destination for African American “roots tourism.” Against this backdrop, "Branding Brazil" focuses on the festival of Our Lady of the Good Death (A Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte, or simply Boa Morte) in the town of Cachoeira, Bahia . This Afro-Catholic festival celebrated by the sisters of Boa Morte, all of whom are women of African descent involved with Candomblé , was on the verge of disappearing until the state of Bahia began to promote it as a tourist attraction in the 1970s."
Professor Heather Blair was awarded a 2015 New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities grant of $38,177 for her project, "The Gods Make You Giggle: Finding Religion in Japanese Children's Picture Books". Adjunct Professor Patricia Ingham, of the Department of English, was also awarded a grant for her project, "A Cultural History of Curiosity: Part 1, Monkey Business". Considered one of the largest internally funded university arts and humanities programs supporting scholarship and creative activity, the New Frontiers program has awarded more than $9.3 million to 451 faculty members in the past 10 years.
“The New Frontiers program, which is unique among major research universities, fosters and strengthens the university’s commitment to transformative innovation, outstanding scholarship, and creative and intellectual achievement,” Vice President for Research Jorge José said. “More broadly, New Frontiers helps demonstrate the importance of the arts and humanities in contemporary life and is truly a signature program for the university.”
Read the full press release here.
The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society has awarded $51,248 to 11 faculty from three IU campuses to further their research on the topic of “Wonder and the Natural World.” This grant funding is the first phase of a two-year thematic initiative sponsored by the consortium on the theme of “Wonder and the Natural World.” The first phase will culminate in a daylong public symposium on May 22, 2015, at which funding recipients, along with invited guests, will present their works-in-progress.
“We received a truly impressive array of proposals, linking wonder to many facets of human and nonhuman life,” said IU Bloomington religious studies professor and consortium director Lisa Sideris. “The successful proposals reflect on the light and dark dimensions of wonder, as well as wonder’s ethical, emotional, cognitive, pedagogical, aesthetic and religious forms. It will be exciting to see the conversations that emerge from these diverse studies of wonder.”
The goal of the funding is to encourage faculty to engage with the idea of “wonder” in all its forms and in a variety of disciplines. The awardees cut across academic fields, from faculty in religious studies and English to bioethics and anthropology.
Heather Blair, assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at IU Bloomington, was awarded funding for her project "Super-Natural: Configuring Childhood Virtue in Contemporary Japanese Picture Books." “This project examines representations of the natural world in post-war Japanese children’s literature,” she said, “with a particular emphasis on contemporary picture books designed for children ages 3 to 6. Broadly speaking, it aims to introduce the study of Japanese children’s literature into ongoing conversations about childhood, character education, religion, and ethics.”
The symposium, May 22, 2015, will provide a space for grantees to present their in-progress work to colleagues and the public. It will be followed in 2016 by an international conference to explore more deeply discussions of wonder and nature begun at the symposium.
Past Faculty News
Lisa Sideris awarded the Beth Wood Distinguished Service-Learning Faculty Award
Michael Ing awarded Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Grant
Heather Blair wins 2014 Trustees Teaching Award
Constance Furey awarded the James P. Holland Award For Exemplary Teaching And Service To Students
Lisa Sideris named director of Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society (CSRES)
David Haberman receives Guggenheim fellowship