PROFESSOR LISA SIDERIS FEATURED IN SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, NATURE AND CULTURE
Professor Lisa Sideris’s work is the subject of a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. In this issue, Sideris critiques efforts of religion scholars and others to consecrate scientific narratives of the evolution of the cosmos as sacred stories that provide universal meaning and ethical guidance. In this issue of JSRNC, ‘Contesting Consecrated Scientific Narratives in Religion and Environmental Ethics’, readers will find Sideris’s original paper, “Science as Sacred Myth?” along with critics’ responses to it from a variety of disciplines, and Sideris’s subsequent reply to the critics.
Professor Winnifred Sullivan has been awarded the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Analytical-Descriptive Studies for her book, A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law (University of Chicago Press, 2014). This award is given annually by the American Academy of Religion to, “honor works of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity, and importance; books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.” (AAR website)
Founded in 1909, the American Academy of Religion is the world’s largest association of religion scholars, and its mission is to foster excellence in the study of religion by promoting research, publishing, and teaching about religion in academia. As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has about 9,000 members who teach in some 900 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. The Academy is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. This is accomplished through Academy-wide and regional conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services.
Professor Aaron Stalnaker was awarded a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Scholar Grant to work on his current book project, Mastery, Dependence, and the Ethics of Authority. Here is what Professor Stalnaker wrote in his application:
"On a classical Confucian view, it is natural, healthy, and good for people to be deeply dependent on others in a variety of ways across the full human lifespan. In contrast, individual autonomy is arguably the root conception of much modern Western ethical and political thinking, centrally present in various forms in the thought of Kant, Mill, and more recently Rawls and his defenders. I suggest that the early Confucian vision of life provides a subtle but important challenge to the contemporary ideal of autonomy. To address this challenge, Mastery, Dependence, and the Ethics of Authority examines early Chinese thought to explore how dependence on authorities relates to the cultivation of responsible agency. If true virtue can only be cultivated through hierarchically ordered relationships of senior and junior partners in a shared “Way” of life, as early Confucians argue, then autonomy in at least some senses of the term cannot be a birthright or a presumption—it should instead be seen as something cultivated and socially supported. And if humans need to participate in such ordered relationships to flourish, we have good reason to reconsider the suspicion of dependence visible in key strands of modern Western ethics. This book project examines classical Confucian conceptions of virtuous mastery and dependence to help disentangle different aspects of autonomy as an ideal, refine our understanding of authority relations, and thereby help us to better understand and evaluate hierarchical relationships. This project corrects overly simple contrasts between “Chinese” and “Western” ethics; develops liberal political thought and feminist ethics by articulating novel ways of distinguishing just authority and salutary dependence from domination; and contributes to flourishing new literatures on contemporary Confucian political philosophy, and comparative and cross-cultural virtue ethics."
The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, has announced a new, two-year project on “Enhancing Life”. This Project explores an essential aspiration of human beings that moves persons and communities into the future. Given the profound expansion of human power through technology as well as advances in genetics, ecology, and other fields, the vulnerability and endangerment as well as the enhancement of life are dominant themes in the global age. The Enhancing Life Project aims to explore this rich but widely unexamined dimension of human aspiration and social life, and increase knowledge so that life might be enriched.
The 35 scholars of the Enhancing Life Project are an interdisciplinary and international group who will research, write, and teach on the enhancement of life in their specific disciplines, while working collaboratively to make all projects stronger. In various ways, they will tackle the two Big Questions of the Enhancing Life Project: 1) What does it mean to enhance life, including spiritual life? 2)Correlatively, what are the strategies, social mechanisms, and technologies that enable us to enhance life in its many dimensions and in measurable ways?
In his work Professor Ing will be looking at the issue of vulnerability in the context of early Confucian thought.
RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY INVOLVED WITH THE 2015-2017 WORLD RELIGIONS IN GREATER INDIANAPOLIS NEH PROGRAM
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has partnered with Ivy Tech Community College (Ivy Tech) to introduce fifteen community college instructors to the religious traditions of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist communities in greater Indianapolis.
“World Religions in Greater Indianapolis” utilizes primary and secondary humanities texts and humanities experts at several local universities, supplemented by field trips and discussions with local practitioners, to explore these five world religions, their history and life in the United States, and their presence in and contributions to cultural life in the metropolitan area.
The program will result in the production of 150 course modules that incorporate knowledge about world religions into Ivy Tech’s core humanities curriculum, including classes on U.S. History I & II, World Civilization I & II, World Literature I, Humanities, and Survey of Art and Culture I & II.
The Individual Research Award is intended to help associate professors undertake creative or scholarly research; exhibit, perform or publish the results; and/or obtain external funding.
Professor Jeremy Schott awarded College Arts & Humanities Institute Travel Research Grant of $5,000. The grant will allow him to travel to Paris and Florence for his project “Eusebius of Caesarea: Text and Tradition in Late-Ancient Christianity” and his translation and commentary of Eusebius of Caearea’s “Ecclesiastical History.”
Professor Lisa Sideris was granted a Sustainability Course Development Fellowship for 2015 by the IU Office Sustainability. The committee found her plan to develop new and innovative materials for a course entitled, “The God Species: Ethics in the Anthropocene” to be timely, and they believe it will fill an important area of need in their emerging sustainability curriculum. It also has the strong support of the Religious Studies Department. The course will connect rich theoretical concepts with the existing deer management issue in Bloomington, as well as the integration of field-based learning at the IU Research & Teaching Preserve. The IU Office Sustainability wants to encourage these types of efforts.
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
Past Faculty News
Professor Brown Awarded Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize
Professors Schott and Selka Awarded Cahi Fellowships
Professor Blair Awarded New Frontiers in The Arts & Humanities Grant
Professors Heather Blair And David Haberman Awarded Research Grants By The Consortium For The Study Of Religion, Ethics, And Society
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