On a rainy Thursday evening following a day of classes and homework, a group of IU students from a variety of majors gathered around a large table in Woodburn Hall to participate in an academic discussion at an URSA event entitled “From Myth to Myth: The Transition From Religion to Science.” The event sought to engage students with the subject matter of Professor Lisa Sideris’ current research project, which focuses on mythopoetic scientific creation narratives that go by various names such as The New Story, The Journey of the Universe, or the Epic of Evolution. Proponents of these narratives argue that the traditional, religious stories that have informed human society can no longer fulfill their intended function of inspiring wonder and orienting humans in their relation to the universe; therefore, they claim, new stories grounded in contemporary scientific knowledge are needed in order to overcome current predicaments such as intolerance, conflict, and impending environmental catastrophe.
Informed by reading a selection of articles and brief lecture provided by Professor Sideris, the discussion group engaged in a spirited debate that examined the New Story’s underlying logic as well as the proposed outcomes of its implication. Of particular interest were the questions of whether replacement of religious myths would lead to the outcomes that New Story proponents advocate, whether a scientific myth would be accessible to all members of society, and whether a univocal scientific narrative is feasible. The New Story came under heavy fire when the group began to scrutinize the assumptions underlying the need for the new story, including the premise that contemporary society hovers in a place between cultural narratives and that diversity of belief has caused the dilemmas facing the globe. The scope of the discussion reflected the interdisciplinary background of the attending students, resulting in consideration of fact and opinion from diverse academic perspectives. As at the end of any good debate, the discussion group walked away from the event feeling far more informed, but brimming with an even greater number of questions.
Diane was awarded an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The American Fellowships, AAUW’s oldest and largest funding program, support women scholars who are completing doctoral dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research, or finishing research for publication. “The American Fellowship program affords scholars the ability to become leading thinkers in their fields and have an impact across multiple disciplines. It’s also a recognition of their great potential because they are receiving support from one of the nation’s most respected women’s organizations,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW vice president of fellowships, grants, and international programs. The AAUW (online at aauw.org) is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded nearly $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to more than 12,000 women. Diane feels extremely honored to have been selected to join their ranks, and will use her American Fellowship to fund her final year of dissertation-writing.
Diane's paper, "Paulinus and the Living Martyr: Making Martyrs in the Nolan Countryside,” won a "NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prize" at the North American Patristics Society annual meeting in Chicago in May. The paper, which represents an argument from Diane's dissertation, explores the way that Paulinus of Nola (353-431) depicted St. Felix as a martyr despite the saint's death in peaceful old age, long after the threat of persecution had passed. She argues that Paulinus' treatment of Felix as a martyr is not only central to Paulinus' own spirituality, but also to his hopes for other Christians: Paulinus hoped to make martyrdom accessible to his contemporaries by offering Felix as a role model, making it possible for them to become martyrs, too.
FRUCHTMAN ALSO WINS THE 2013 ANDREA S. MCROBBIE GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP IN MEDIEVAL HISTORY!
Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Diane Fruchtman who received the 2013 Andrea S. McRobbie Graduate Fellowship in Medieval History from the Medieval Studies Institute on September 15. The fellowship was established by the McRobbie family in 2007 in memory of the late Andrea McRobbie, who had a great interest in medieval history. The award is intended to support an advanced graduate student engaged in scholarship in medieval history, specifically some aspect of its social history or some theme in medieval social history related to its art, philosophy or literature. More information about the award can be found at Inside IU Bloomington.
PhD candidate Kristin Francoeur has been selected to receive a Mellon Innovating International Research, Teaching and Collaboration Graduate Dissertation Fellowship. The selection committee was impressed with her project and its prospects for success and recommended that the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President grant this award.
April 2013 - We are delighted to announce that Will Smith, advisor for the departments of American Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and the Dhar India Studies Program, has been selected as the recipient the 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Advisor of the Year Award. According to Will, he was " excited to receive this unexpected honor. I'm glad that students find my work so helpful." Please join us in congratulating Will on this well-deserved award!
Syifa Widigdo attended International Institute of Islamic Thought Summer Student Program 2013 from May 27-July 3, 2013 in Herndon, Virginia this summer. At the end of the program he was awarded the "IIIT Research Fellowship Award 2013." This award will provide funds for him to participate in some academic conferences and write a research paper that will be published in the end of 2014.
Shelby Everett was one of five students at the Bloomington campus to be awarded the 2013-2014 Excellence in Service-Learning Student Award. She was nominated for her work in Activism in Theory and Practice with Fair Trade Bloomington and the First United Methodist Church
Junior David Bloom has been selected by the College of Arts and Sciences as a recipient of the Palmer-Brandon Prize in the Humanities for 2013-2014. Read the press release
Kristin Riebsomer was selected as a recipient of a 2013 Intensive Writing Prize for her essay entitled “The History of the Historical Jesus: From Salvation to Desecration.” Her paper was written for REL-R 389 with Prof. Michaelson.
Rafal Swiatkowski was selected froma pool of more than 50 candidates to receive the Abel Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2013-2014 academic year through the Senior Scholarship Competition.
Derek Briles and Kerry Hoffer have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa (ΦBK) for the Spring 2013 semester.
2013 STUDENT ESSAY WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Undergraduate Gallagher essay contest:
- 1st place: David Bloom, "The Creation Theme in 4QBerakhot."
- 2nd place: Tyler Simnick, "A Conservative and Enlightened Atheist: Hegel as Stretch Armstrong."
- 3rd place: Kristin Riebsomer, "The History of the Historical Jesus: From Salvation to Desecration."
Undergraduate honors thesis:
- Andrew Sweet, "By the Gift and Power of God”: Joseph Smith as Translator and the Origins of Mormon Theology."
Graduate essay contest:
- Ashlee Andrews, "Knowing the Formless, Loving the Form"
- Joe Bartlett, "Relating Morphology and History"