University of Washington

Comparative Religion

Thomson Hall Room 433
(206) 543-4835

Comparative Religion News

Events this fall 2015:



November 5, 2015
Congratulations to Christian Lee Novetzke (
and co-editors William Elison and Andy Rotman!) on the release of their book, Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation (Harvard University Press).

A Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony is a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy. Amar Akbar Anthony’s celebration of an India built on pluralism and religious tolerance continues to resonate with audiences today. But it also invites a critique of modernity’s mixed blessings. As the authors show, the film’s sunny exterior only partially conceals darker elements: the shadow of Partition, the crisis of Emergency Rule, and the vexed implications of the metaphor of the family for the nation. The lessons viewers draw from the film depend largely on which brother they recognize as its hero. Is it Amar, the straight-edge Hindu policeman? Is it Akbar, the romantic Muslim singer? Or is it Anthony, the Christian outlaw with a heart of gold? In this book’s innovative and multi-perspectival approach, each brother makes his case for himself (although the last word belongs to their mother).


Thursday, October 15, 2015
Theology Between Art and the Body: Reimagining Our Future

Featuring Willie James Jennings, PhD, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale University. One of the foremost scholars of race and theology, Dr. Jennings is the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award for his work The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. He recently joined the Yale faculty after over two decades at Duke Divinity School. He has written numerous essays in the areas of Christology, critical race theory, cultural identity, and theological anthropology.
1–3 p.m.: Panel Discussion - A conversation on theology, art, and the body featuring Dr. Jennings; Chelle Stearns, PhD, Associate Professor of Theology, Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; and Laura Lasworth, MFA, Professor of Art, Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall, Room 150, Seattle Pacific University

7–8:30 p.m.: Lecture “Embodying the Artistic Spirit and the Prophetic Arts”
Thomson Hall, Room 101, University of Washington

News from previous MA students.....Randy Thompson : was awarded a doctoral research grant from Notre Dame University's Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. The grant will contribute to Randy's research on the U.S. Catholic Church's conversion to anti-interventionism in the 1980's, as well as its adherence to that belief during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Randy's current research focuses on the role of religious actors and their influence in promoting guiding principles for U.S. foreign policy.

Seth Powell is currently completing a PhD in the Study of Religion at Harvard  University. Seth writes that his research focuses on pre-colonial South Asian religions generally, with a particular focus on medieval and early modern Sanskrit yoga  texts and traditions. Many of these texts exist unpublished, only in manuscript  form, housed in libraries and archives across the Indian sub-continent. Part of his field work for his dissertation will entail tracking down such yoga treatises, and going "manuscript hunting," with the hope to more accurately understand the history, theory, and practice of yoga during one of its most formative periods prior to colonialism.

"My time at UW and in the Jackson School greatly prepared me to continue this graduate work at Harvard. In particular, I would highlight the excellent foundation in language skills I received in Sanskrit and Hindi, my wonderful opportunties working with faculty and undergraduate students as a TA for several JSIS courses, the strong training I received in theory and method in the study of religion, and the overall  mentoring and support I received from UW faculty. All of this, and more, undoubtedly, helped make the transition to Harvard, and PhD life in general, quite seemless."

Seth, his wife, and  one-and-a-half year-old son lives at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions  <>, where he serves as a Resident Advisor. "It's  an exciting place to live, learn, and study religion in a residential community filled with graduate students of religion from all parts of the globe and packed with incredible public talks, colloquia, lectures, and other scholarly events on religion throughout the academic year. Life in Cambridge is pretty sweet -- record-breaking-snowfall winters aside -- but we also do miss the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, UW's cherry blossoms, and our friends in Seattle."


Wednesday, October 7  (3:30-5:00, Gowen 201. For more information

Robert Desjarlais (Sarah Lawrence College)“Poiesis in Living and Dying.”

Desjarlais has conducted extensive and collaborative ethnographic research with the  Yolmo people, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people, in both Nepal and in Queens, New York, since the late 1980s. He has taught anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College since 1994. He received his PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1990, and was a NIMH post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University from 1990 to 1992. In 2000 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Howard Fellowship. This talk is part of the Medical Anthropology Lecture Series. 

July 2015

New faculty joins Comparative Religion Program
 Welcome to DANIEL J. SHEFFIELD (PhD Harvard (2012) who joins the Comparative Religion Program this fall. Dan will be Assistant Professor in the History Department with a specialty in Medieval and Early Modern Islam, Religion in Iran and South Asia, Zoroastrianism, occultism and esotericism, philology, translation theory, secularism. Before coming to the UW, Dan taught at Princeton focusing on religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. Themes in the religious history of the Near East, ranging from the development of monotheism to the miraculous inimitability (iʻjāz) of the Qurʼānic text to colonial attempts at scriptural translation and religion-making are examined. 


April 2015
UW Veritas Forum event, "Your are not your Resume" was attended by more than 700 students to hear and discuss faith, success and meaning. Prof. James Wellman moderated the discussion highlights can be found here

August 2014
See review of
Religion and Human Security (Wellman/Lombardi) in Journal of Church and State 

June 2014
Congratulations to Summer Satushek!
Summer (MAIS, Comparative Religion) was awarded the Samuel and Althea Stroum Fellowship. The 2014-15 class of Stroum fellows will consist six fellows, the most ever for this relatively new program. These scholars "demonstrate particular strength[s] in languages and literatures.The students range from masters-level and early PhD-degree students, to advanced PhD candidates who are currently writing their dissertations. This difference in stages of graduate study allows for valuable peer-to-peer mentorship within the program. Click here for more on the Stroum Fellows

We congratulate !!! Eric Scherbenske (M.A. 2001, Comparative Religion/Williams; Ph.D. 2009, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) who has received the 2014 biennial North American Patristics Society Best First Book Award for his book, Canonizing Paul: Ancient Editorial Practice and the Corpus Paulinum (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

By exploring the role of editorial practices on the exegetical reception of Paul’s letters, Canonizing Paul attempted to answer the simple question: what is an early Christian manuscript beyond simply a transmitter of a text? Specifically, it investigated how editorial practices utilized in the ancient publication of a body of works (e.g. preparation of texts, selection and arrangement of tracts, and composition and deployment of paratexts) shaped editions, and thus the interpretation of Paul’s letters. By demonstrating how these practices left their mark on these editions of Paul, Canonizing Paul argued that editorial practices and hermeneutics were deeply, sometimes inextricably, intertwined.

Eric is currently researching and writing his second monograph entitled, Origen, Scholia, and Scripture in the Late Ancient Archetype of Codex von der Goltz (Gregory-Aland 1739) which continues to investigate the fundamental question posed in Canonizing Paul. This monograph examines the tenth-century manuscript, Codex von der Goltz, which was circumscribed by marginal notes (wherein Origen figured prominently) and was transmitted from an archetype produced in the late fourth/early fifth-century (when Origen’s reputation was being vigorously attacked and defended). This second book explores how a manuscript could be produced and circumscribed with marginalia in order to engage with heresiological discourse and attempt to rehabilitate the increasingly-maligned legacy of the brilliant, but divisive, theologian Origen.

April 2014

This just in from Kathleen Lowney (UW, Comparative Religion, 1981). Kathleen was honored with the University System of Georgia’s teaching award in 2013 and also with the American Sociological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching this year. Kathleen earned a PhD in Religion and Society from Drew University and has been teaching for 27 years at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. She has been editor of the ASA’s journal, Teaching Sociology for the past five years.
For about 25 years she has been studying adolescent Satanists and writing about them and how the communities they live in understand them (or don’t). Congratulations, Kathleen!!

Graduate student, Laurel Gorden, has been accepted at the University of Maryland in the Masters of Science program in Clinical Psychological Science. The Master's program will also bid farewell to MA candidate, Seth Powell who will be heading to Harvard with much financial support. Seth was also accepted at the University of Virginia. Congratulations to both! As our students continue their careers we do our best to make sure information is posted here so stay tuned.....

March 2014

529 Egyptians sentenced to death for riots killed a police officer - Prof. Clark Lombardi interviewed - The World Today
A court has sentenced more than 500 people to death for their involvement in riots which killed a police officer. The defendants are supporters of the former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military late last year. Defence lawyers say it's the largest mass death sentence in the country's modern history.

Professor Clark Lombardi is a specialist on law in the Muslim world at the University of Washington Law School and says this ruling is one of many harsh responses by Egypt's interim military government to supporters of the former president.


Graduate students, Seth Powell and Summer Satushek have been awarded the Eugene and Marilyn Webb Scholarships for 2014. Congratulations to both!


Call for Papers deadline April 15, 2014

Interdisciplinary Conference:“Christ and Cascadian Culture”
Proposals should be submitted in the form of a 250-word abstract and are due on. Submissions should include: name, institution, education, title of the paper, abstract (about 250 words), and any audiovisual equipment needs.
September 26-27 2014
Seattle, WA

October 2013
The Critical Language Scholarship competition is now open, with a deadline
of Nov 15th. These scholarships fundi summer overseas intensive language
programs in designated languages (Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese,
Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and
Urdu). Undergrads and graduate students are eligible. CLS funds
summer study at all levels.  Full details and FAQs are available on the program the website.

"Communication and 'the Good Life'" sponsored by the International Communication Association will be held in Seattle May 22-26, 2014. The ICA is an international academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. 

In addition to "Media and Religion": Betwixt and Between" there are several other preconferences that will probably take place on the UW campus. (The Conference itself runs from 22-26 May but dates of the preconference presentations have not been confirmed although the times are listed below and on line.)

Dates to Know:

3 September - 4 November 2013: Paper submission website open. Learn how to submit a paper.

31 December 2013: Deadline to send Blue Sky proposals to
+ Learn more about Blue Sky Workshops in this newsletter article.

15 January 2014: Hotel room reservations (The Sheraton) become available.

15 January - 4 May 2014: Early conference registration open.

September 2013

Laura Colleen Randall is studying in Lucknow, India (the capital of Uttar Pradesh) through the University of Chicago's American Institute of Indian Studies. She earned a summer FLAS and is now on an AIIS Fellowship and sends us this picture from Lucknow:

April 2013
Graduate Student Summer Satushek received the UW's Top Scholar award this year. She is also presented at the AAR in the Islam section and she was awarded a FLAS for this summer and the next academic year. Congratulations!!

March 18, 2013
Congratulations to graduate student, Jason Melrose, who is the recipient of the 2013 Eugene and Marilyn Webb Scholarship!

Jan. 15, 2013
Prof. Jim Wellman is interviewed on KUOW about his new book, "Rob Bell and a New American Christianity"
To link:


Feb. 7, 2013 - Mark your calendar!
Founders Annual Lecture in Comparative Religion and Contemporary Life

7:30 PM
Kane Hall, room 220
Co-sponsor: Center for Global Studies
      Tanya Marie Luhrmann will deliver the 2013 Founders Annual Lecture. She is the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department. Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, (Harvard, 1989); The Good Parsi (Harvard 1996); Of Two Minds (Knopf 2000) and When God Talks Back (Knopf 2012). In general, her work focuses on the way that ideas held in the mind come to seem externally real to people, and the way that ideas about the mind affect mental experience. One of her recent project compares the experience of hearing distressing voices in India and in the United States.
     Her book "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God" was selected one of the year’s most notable books by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Thursday, Oct 11, 2012
7 PM
Kane 120
Faith & Finance: Visions of America & the 2012 Presidential Election

This lecture series will examine the roles of both faith and finance, also known as religion and economics, in 2012 election. David Domke (Communication) and Mark Smith (Political Science) will both present for the evening and engage in dialogue and debate with one other and the audience. This lecture is the fourth out of five lectures in the series. Co-Presented by University of Washington Alumni Association. $20 tickets can be purchased by calling (206) 621-2230, or at the door.

Wednesday, October 17
6:30 p.m.
Kane Hall, Room 120
Gary Jacobsohn, Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Texas, Austin

Religion, Republicanism and Emergency Power: American Lessons from the Indian Experience

The question of religion and politics is a discourse familiar to other national audiences – India in particular – and the lecture is a comparative exercise that endeavors to glean from a critical moment in Indian constitutional history some important insights of possible relevance to the American political scene. By framing the threat to secular constitutionalism as an emergency problem, the lecture seeks to re-frame the way we think about the relationship between democracy and the spiritual and temporal domains.    
     It proceeds by way of an extended American hypothetical – the ascendance of theocratic rule in an American state – and a notorious instance of ethno/religious conflict – the destruction of a mosque in an Indian state. The juxtaposition of these two events, one imaginary, the other quite real, focuses our attention on the vexed relationship between religion and republican governance.
      Gary Jacobsohn has taught political science at Williams College and the University of Texas at Austin, and has held fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Fulbright Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a past President of the New England Political Science Association, and has served as co-editor of the Rowman and Littlefield series on Studies in American Constitutionalism. In addition to numerous articles and reviews, his books include: Constitutional Identity; The Wheel of Law: India's Secularism in Comparative Constitutional Context; Apple of Gold: Constitutionalism in Israel and the United States; The Supreme Court and the Decline of Constitutional Aspiration; and Pragmatism, Statesmanship and the Supreme Court.
Sponsored by: UW Graduate School, UW Alumni Association, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, Department of Political Science, Center for West European Studies, Samuel and Althea Stroum Jewish Studies Program

Wednesday, September 12
Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Classical Arabic

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track appointment in Islamic Studies at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin in September 2013. University of Washington faculty engage in teaching, research and service. Teaching duties will include but are not limited to large introductory courses in Islamic Studies. The selected candidate should have native or near-native fluency in Arabic, be prepared to contribute courses to the overall curriculum in Classical and Modern Standard Arabic, and be able to conduct instruction in Arabic in advanced classes, along with proficiency in a second language of Islamic cultural tradition. Candidates are expected to contribute to the diverse graduate programs in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington. Those who possess some expertise in other disciplines (e.g., Comparative Religion, Anthropology, Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature, etc.) are also encouraged to apply. Candidates should have completed the requirements of a Ph.D. by the start of the appointment.

Please send a curriculum vitae, statement of research and teaching interests, three letters of recommendation, and samples of writing and publications, to Review of applications will begin October, 2012 and continue until the position is filled. The University of Washington is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. The University is building a culturally diverse faculty and staff and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and covered veterans.

Thursday, October 18th
Oren Hayon, Rabbi at Seattle Hillel: "Rabbi Judah and the Caesar: Unlikely Stories about an Unlikely Friendship." Sponsored by the UW Classics Dept. 12:30 PM, PACCAR Building, room 290, University of Washington campus.

July 1
Prof. Jim Wellman's research on megachurches in the Pacific Northwest was featured in an article in Perspectives, the newsletter for the College of Arts and Sciences. The complete article can be found by linking here.

June 2012
The Comparative Religion Program welcomes Prof. Mark Smith (Political Science), as an adjunct professor in the Jackson School of International Studies.

May 15
2012 Boren Undergraduate Scholarship
University of Washington junior, Tim Litts, a Junior in Near Eastern Studies & Comparative Religion major, was awarded a Boren Undergraduate Scholarship with a full year of funding to study Arabic at the American University in Cairo. He has a love for languages and hopes to join the State Department in the future. Tom’s complete profile can be found at:  One hundred and sixty-one Boren awards were offered from a pool of 1014 applications. 

April 23

     Ed Smith
(MA program) has received a FLAS for a summer Mandarin course. Originally an alternate, Ed but received a notice last Saturday that he had been selected. His plan is to take the intensive course at UW this summer.

March 29
Congratulations to Comparative Religion faculty member, Christian Novetzke, has received a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar Fellowship for his research, The Brahmin Double: Religion, Language, and Performance.

Comparative Religion Graduates: Where are they now?!

     Jennifer Callaghan (MA Comparative Religion/Michael Williams/Cabeiri Robinson). Jen starts her exam year in the PhD program at Northwestern next fall 2012, and expects to be "dissertating in a little over a year".

     Milhoud Amine Tais (MA Comparative Religion/Jaffee) heads fully funded to Georgetown University's Arabic and Islamic Studies Department PhD program this fall!

      Joseph Marino
(MA Comparative Religion/Tokuno) was accepted into the Buddhist Studies PhD Program, Department of Asian Languages and Literature, UW, a with 4-year scholarship.

     Lindsey DeWitt (MA Comparative Religion/Tokuno) is writing her PhD dissertation in Buddhist Studies PhD Program, Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA. She received 4-year scholarship when she was accepted.

     Heather Blair (MA, Comparative Religion) earned a Ph.D. (Harvard) and is now teaching at Indiana University in Bloomington. She's particularly interested in the creation and maintenance of sacred places and lay religious practices.

     Doug Ober (MA, Comparative Religion/Tokuno). This is Doug's 2nd year at the University of British Columbia's Ph.D. program in Asian Studies where he was accepted last year with a full fellowship. 

     Brad King (MA, Comparative Religion/Walker/Williams) is in the Ph.D. program in Religion at the University of Texas specializing in the field of early Christianity.

     Alex Kocar (MA, Comparative Religion/Williams/Walker) is in the Ph.D. program in Religion at Princeton, specializing in the field of early Christianity.
     Kyle Bond, (MA, Comparative Religion/Tokuno/Jaffee) has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at Princeton University's Department of Religion and is the recipient of the Princeton University Fellowship 2012. Last year he was awarded The Japan Foundation Grant for Japanese language studies and, in 2011 the US Department of Education Grant for Japanese language studies.

     Jennifer Callaghan (MA, Comparative Religion) is in the Ph.D. program at Northwestern University's Religious Studies Department.

     Things are going splendidly at Rice for Michael Heyes (MA, Comparative Religion/Tokuno/Williams). Mike's publications (some forthcoming) include: “Review of Victorian Occultism and the Making of Modern Magic: Invoking Tradition.” Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft; (2009) "Magic East and West: A Refutation of Pasi's Eighth Thesis." Societas Magica Newsletter (22). He will present "Sympathetic Suffering: Alleviating Suffering through the Life of St. Margaret," International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 2012. He was awarded a Mellon Foundation Summer Research Grant (2010). Additionally, he's taught Religion in Fiction and Film and Magic and Magicians in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Mike is President and Founding Member of the Rice Organization for the Study of Gnosticism, Mysticism, and Esotericism (2011).

    Last summer Milli Haase returned to work at the Tel Dor excavation in Israel again- this time as staff, and with funding from the Samis Foundation.

     David Coblentz (MA Comparative Religion/Williams) is in the UW History Ph.D. program in ancient history.

     Laura Bush (MA, Comparative Religion/Tokuno) is writing her Ph.D. dissertation in Communications at the UW while working in the UW's Human Subjects Department.

     Katie Corcoran (MA, Comparative Religion/Wellman) loves the UW Sociology program where she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation. She's studying the sociology of religion and working with Steven Pfaff and James Kitts. Katie was awarded the Best Student Paper Award by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: “Religion and the Acceptability of White-Collar Crime: A Cross-National Analysis.” With David Pettinicchio and Blaine Robbins (2011), the Best Graduate Student Paper Award by the American Sociological Association, Rationality and Society section: "Religious Human Capital Revisited: Testing the Effect of Religious Human Capital on Religious Participation” (2011) and Otto Larsen Dissertation Award (Sociology Department, University of Washington, 2010-2011) and the Annual Excellence in Teaching Award (Sociology Department, University of Washington, 2010-2011). She and Steve have a forthcoming article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of religion and are working on another article together. She also has three other articles and some encyclopedia entries that are either published or forthcoming. Katie has taught Relig 254 American Religion, SOC 357 Sociology of Religion, SOC 494A Sociology of Education, and SOC 494D Sociology of Organizations. She is currently working with Jim Wellman on an article that draws on his American megachurch project.

     Lance Jenott (MA Comparative Religion/Williams/Jaffee) graduated from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in the Religions of Late Antiquity in January 2011. Since 2010 he's been teaching part-time for Princeton’s department of Religion, including courses on biblical apocalyptic movements, Christian Ethics, history of ancient Christianity, and introduction to the New Testament. In 2010 he and his doctoral supervisor, Elaine Pagels, published an article “Antony’s Letters and Nag Hammadi Codex I: Sources of Conflict in Fourth-Century Egypt,” in the Journal of Early Christian Studies 18.4 (2010): 557–589. And in Fall 2011 his first book was published, The Gospel of Judas: Coptic Text, Translation, and Historical Interpretation of the ‘Betrayer’s Gospel’ (Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity 64; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011).

      Sasha Prevost (BA, Comparative Religion/Pauwels) is currently completing her Masters of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School and will graduate in May 2012. In the course of her studies there, she has received a FLAS and a research grant from the Harvard South Asia Institute for language study and research in Lucknow, India. She has also been actively training and working in interfaith chaplaincy for the last two years.



Feb. 22
This just in: The Religious Studies Project, in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions and with some support from the University of Edinburgh, launched in January 2012. This website and podcasting project, features weekly audio interview with leading scholars of Religious Studies (RS) and related fields (e.g. James Cox, Armin Geertz, Carole Cusack, Donald Wiebe and Graham Harvey) speaking on novel approaches and important scholars and methodologies of Religious Studies in the 21st Century. Future interviews include Grace Davie, Jay Demerath, Callum Brown, Linda Woodhead and many more.

Also to be featured: weekly articles from postgraduate students and other scholars on the themes of the interview that week and resources and articles relevant to teachers and students of religion in the modern world.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute please contact

Twitter: @ProjectRS
Facebook: The Religious Studies Project
iTunes: The Religious Studies Project

Feb. 16, 2011

Congratulations to the Eugene and Marilyn WEBB SCHOLARSHIP winners for 2012: Kathryn Lundgren (undergraduate) and Edward Anthony Smith (Graduate). This award made possible through the generosity of Prof. Eugene Webb and his wife, Marilyn, is based solely on merit and is the only scholarship awarded in the Comparative Religion Program

December 2011
Cabeiri Robinson's book, Body of the Victim, Body of the Warrior has been accepted for publication by the University of California Press.

October  2011
Professor emeritus, Eugene Webb, has just had the Chinese translation of his book, Eric Voegelin: Philosopher of History, published. It was translated by Cheng Qing. Beijing: Jilin Publishing Group Ltd., 2011. Click here for the web site.

September 22, 2011
The International Security and Foreign Policy Program of the Smith Richardson Foundation will award grants through its annual competitions for junior faculty and doctoral students at U.S. institutions. For information on eligibility and application, please visit the website of the International Security and Foreign Policy Program visit.

September 21, 2011
The Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University, in collaboration with
the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, invites applications for
a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the field of
American Religion with a focus on ethnicity and race. For more information please visit the flyer.

September 20, 2011

Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation and True Buddha Foundation co-sponsored the 2010 Lotus Scholarship, a special project, to support Buddhist Studies. Recipient UW Comparative Religion graduate student, Joseph Marino, has been practicing Buddhism for nine years and is passionate about teaching Buddhism to undergraduates at the university level, and believes that teaching Buddhism, and religious studies in general, can open a student’s mind to news ways of seeing the world. Joseph’s research focus is Esoteric (Vajrayana) Buddhist literature, art, and ritual performance, and he has studied living practice in China and Tibet. For the complete conversation please visit Foundation news An excerpt follows:

Question: Describe your greatest accomplishment so far while in pursuit of your degree in Buddhist Studies.

Joseph’s answer: My teachers have been generous and have given me many opportunities to learn. While my favorite accomplishment is completing a pilgrimage across the Kumano mountains in Wakayama, Japan, I am most proud of the language study I’ve done, as it has opened lots of doors for me. Particularly, I am studying Japanese and Sanskrit. Reading Buddhist texts like the Divyavadana in Sanskrit has been greatly rewarding.

September 2011

"As the US becomes more multicultural, multireligious, more diverse, (an air of) certainty becomes even more critical for evangelicals to maintain their identity," stated Prof. Jim Wellman in an article that appeared in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and several other local newspapers. The article focused on the growth that Seattle's Mars Hill Church has been experiencing recently.

August 2011

Graduate student Kyle Bond received an $11,000 scholarship from Japan Foundation to be applied to his language study at Stanford-Berkeley Japanese Language School in Yokohama. He is very excited and appreciative. He is already in Japan.

Prof. Daniel Chirot published two books over the course of the year, "Contentious Identities: Ethnic, Religious, and Nationalist Conflicts in Today's World" (New York and London: Routledge, 2011) and "How Societies Change"[completely rewritten edition of a book originally published in 1994] (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011).

July 2011

Check this out: Prof. Jim Wellman and newly minted Comparative Religion grad student, Randy Thompson just published, “From the Social Gospel to Neoconservativism: Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. Volume 7, Article 6. The link is :



EVENTS 2010-11

OCT. 14, 12:30-2 PM, 12:30-2 PM in Thompson Hall, room 317: Prof. Joel Walker, "Monks, Martyrs, and the Formation of Armenian Christian Tradition"

OCT. 28, 12:30-2 PM, 12:30-2 PM in Thompson Hall, room 317. Prof. Joel Walker, "In the Land of St. Nino: Gender, Narrative, and the Christianization of Medieval Georgia"

FEB. 8, 2011, 7:30 PM Kane Hall Room 210 - ANNUAL LECTURE IN RELIGION AND CONTEMPORARY LIFE co-sponsored by The Center for Global Studies, "Holocaust, Armageddon, and the Clash of Civilizations"
      This talk will focus on forms of religious militancy propelling belief in an inherent and inevitable clash between what is called the "Judeo-Christian" West and Islam. It also shows how debates over the Holocaust, and accusations that Israel, Islam, Arab leaders or peoples are Nazi-like in ideology or in practice has mixed in with religious scenarios regarding the return of the Messiah or Mahdi and a final, cataclysmic war with the Antichrist or Dajjal. The talk pays particular attention to how such themes drive American public opinion as well as anti-American rhetoric. "The Clash of Civilizations," Sells concludes, risks becoming a "self-fulfilling presumption." Its advocates presume to know the nature Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the civilizations they help shape, to see into the affinity between Judaism and Christianity and reveal the incompatibility between Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds. Religious themes, symbols, and rituals fuel such rhetoric--even in the case of those who present themselves as secular or as religious skeptics.

Michael Sells teaches at the University of Chicago. His latest book, The God of War: America in a World of Religion, is forthcoming with Knopf.



The selection committee for the Webb Scholarship awarded the 2010 award to graduate student Kyle Bond. The committee were impressed not only by Kyle’s exceptional academic record and excellent faculty recommendations, but also by his ability to critically assess complex texts and discern connections between very different intellectual traditions. These qualities were amply demonstrated in his paper “Zen and the Question of Nature: Buddha is Nature, Nature is Buddha, and the meaning of Buddha-Nature is Time”.

THE TEL DOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG, ISRAEL for application and complete information.
From July 5 to August 12, the University of Washington Tel Dor Archaeological Program will resume its field school excavation at Dor under the director of UW Professor Sarah Culpepper Stroup. Students who successfully complete the course requirements of the Field School will receive 12 credits (either graded or C/NC) from the University of Washington in either Classics (CLAS) 399, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) 399, or Archaeology (ARCH) 270. These credits can be counted toward a major in these programs.

The UW Team will continue excavating, under the instruction of Prof. Stroup and the D4 staff, the impressive and archaeologically-rich Hellenistic and late Persian period buildings on the south side of the Tel (‘Area D4’). This area consists of a fascinating complex of large public buildings likely connected with Dor’s focus as a center of coastal Mediterranean trade and industry.


Program Coordinator, Loryn Paxton
Thomson Hall, room 433
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4835

Graduate Advising, Paula Milligan
(206) 543-6001

Student Advising, Linda Iltis
Transfer credits from another university to UW, inquire about learning abroad programs etc
(206) 543-6001