Ireland trip 2018

Submissions being accepted for the new Undergraduate journal Invocations
All are welcome

Students in Ireland

This year the The Media School's Journalism Unit and the Department of Religious Studies jointly offered a spring semester study abroad trip to Ireland. Two of our students, Anna Groover and Maggie Slaughter, reflect on their experiences.

After months of hunting down sources and setting up meetings in a country we’d never been to, we descended into foggy Dublin on a chilly Sunday morning—groggy but excited to spend our spring break exploring the ‘Emerald Isle’. Four religious studies students, James Keys, Anna Groover, Carter Barrett, and Maggie Slaughter joined a team of journalism and international studies majors to conduct research on the topic of religion and journalism in Ireland under the guidance of Elaine Monaghan of the Media School and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan of Religious Studies. Each student pursued independent journalistic pieces which attempt to challenge the reductive ways ‘religion’ is described in media outlets with thorough investigative research. From Dublin’s Sufi mosque, to the President’s house, to queer bars and funeral homes, the mayor’s office and abortion rallies, IU students were required to be alert, inquisitive, critical, and open as we traversed the complex landscape of Irish society.

Before setting off for Ireland, we went on a tour of Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago. Its world famous stained glass windows, crafted by Thomas O’Shaughnessy, capture a rich syncretism of Irish motifs and images: Celtic knots, long necked geese, and the forms familiar to the ninth century manuscript, The Book of Kells. Visiting the manuscript at its present home in Trinity College in Dublin took on a charged valence; looking through a different kind of glass – now a protective one in place of a creative—it was hard not to wonder if the Irish immigrants who filled the pews of Old St. Patrick’s in the early 20th century might have felt a similar sort of tug toward home and tradition as they gazed up at the stained glass thousands of miles away in Chicago.

We spent two nights at a country house in County Westmeath (which we were told is affectionately known as the Iowa of Ireland). It was a respite from the urban feel of Dublin and Belfast—the house shared its rolling green fields with a farm, several of whose equine residents we befriended. The most striking part of hiking around the surrounding fields, though, was the mass rock pointed out to us by the property owner. After William of Orange conquered Ireland in the seventeenth century, it became illegal for Catholics to worship publically. In an act of resistance and desperation, the liturgy took place on soggy peat, the host raised above altars made of unhewn stone. As we stood around the mass rock on the property, shivering and muddy, we reflected on the literalization of that phrase we throw around in our field--religious landscape. A poetic closure to a week of exploring the devotional landscape of the Republic and Northern Ireland through story, place, and movement.


Gheorghe Pacurar awarded a Mellon Foundation fellowship

PhD student Gheorghe Pacurar has been awarded a fellowship by the Mellon Foundation through the Russian and East European Institute of Indiana University in Bloomington, where he completed his minor. It is a predissertation funding aimed at allowing students to explore possible sources for the PhD thesis in libraries and archives as well as creating contacts with scholars in the field. In Gheorghe's case, this summer he will travel to Romania where he plans to visit libraries and archives in at least two major cities. More precisely, he will search for primary sources related to the efforts of the Orthodox Church to shape Romanian legislation between 1918-1940, to the impact of Orthodox intellectuals trained at Russian theological academies on the debates related to Romanian identity, and to the status of religious minorities in that period. Meetings with local scholars will be a major component part of histrip. Eventually, he hopes that this trip will allow him to assess the extent and value of primary sources and clarify the precise direction of his PhD research.


Student News



essay art

Undergraduate Gallagher essay contest:

Graduate Essay Contest:


Invocations is an academic journal and online interactive platform for critical religious discourse. Furnished by undergraduate contributions, we hope to provide an opportunity for Indiana University students to engage across the traditional boundaries of specified fields of study and participate in interdisciplinary conversations on topics with a divine common denominator. It features an array of short articles, ethnographic reviews, creative works, and community response, the collection of which aims to foster a rewardingly interactive intellectual experience.

Editors Rachel Carpenter and Sarah Kissel welcome submissions of all sorts. New content is published on the first of every month, and those interested are advised to submit pieces by the second Friday of each month to allow time for review and discussion. Like Invocations on Facebook and follow on Twitter (@invocations_RS) for publications, news, and opportunities to engage in conversation with professors in the discourse section. Please send submissions to, and feel free to direct any questions or comments to that address, or Sarah and Rachel directly. Visit for more information!

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