Religious Studies Events Fall 2013

Fall 2013

The Faces of Cao Mo: "Fact" and Meaning in Early Chinese Historiography a lecture with Andrew S. Meyer, Brooklyn College CUNY

Friday, December 6, 2013
RI Hall 108

Cao Mo was immortalized as the first of the noble "Assassin Retainers" in the Records of the Historian by Sima Qian circa 100 BCE.  Before that, however, Cao's career in literature was quite erratic. During the Warring States (481-221 BCE) Cao Mo appeared variously as a low-born but sage advisor to rulers or as a surly ruffian whose word could not be trusted.  Relying on transmitted and recently archaeologically discovered texts, Andew Meyer will explore the conflicting depictions of Cao Mo and what they can teach us about the craft of historiography in early China.  

Andrew S. Meyer graduated from Brown as an East Asian Studies concentrator in 1989, and eanred his PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilization from Harvard in 1999.  He has lived in China for four years and in Japan for one.  He is the co-author (with Harold Roth, John Major, and Sarah Queen) of The Huainanzi: A Guide to Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China and the author of The Dao of the Military: Liu An's Art of War.  He is currently Associate Professor of History at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.



Brown University Reception at the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature

hosted by Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey and Professor Saul Olyan 

Conference Dates: November 23-26, 2013
Reception Date: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 9-11pm
Renaissance Baltimore HarborPlace Hotel,
Maryland E - 5th Floor

Sponsored by the Department in Religious Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies.  For more information about the meeting or the American Academy of Religion or the Society for Biblical Literature, please click the links below.

The American Academy of Religion
The Society for Biblical Literature 
Meeting Information

What is Religious Studies? Dinner with Professor Andre Willis
Questions about Religious Studies? Professor Andre Willis? Life, the Universe, and Everything? Come ask your questions!

Andre WillisAndre Willis

Wednesday, November 13th
Seminar Room, Rm 101
Shirley Miller House, 59 George Street

All Religious Studies concentrators and prospective concentrators invited!  RSVP to Tina, no later than noon, Monday, November 11, 2013.


Late Antiquity: Whether We Like It or Not
a lecture by Christian Wildberg, Princeton University, with a reception to follow.

Wednesday, October 30 @ 5:30pm
RI Hall 108

Presented by "Corresponding Landscapes: Rleigious and Cultureal Exchange in the Post-Classical Mediterranean," a Graduate International Colloquium sponsored by the Office of International Affairs and the Departments of Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Classics, Religious Studies, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. 

Dinner with Professor Cladis: Everything You Wanted to Know About Professor Cladis (and Religious Studies) But Were Afraid to Ask

Mark CladisMark CladisWednesday, Oct. 23 @ 5:30pm
Seminar Room (101), Shirley Miller House, 59 George Street

All Religious Studies concentrators and prospective concentrators invited!  RSVP to Tina, no later than noon, Monday, Oct. 21st.   


Improper Intimacies and the Cunning of Secular Power
with Mayanthi L. Fernando, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, October 22
Salomon 203

How does the public/private distinction so central to secular-liberal democracy map onto the secular state's regulation of sex and religion?  Focusing on contemporary France, this talk analyzes how political and legal practices aimed at securing secularity by renderin both sex and religion private paradoxically compel Muslim women to reveal in public the innermost details of their sexual and religious lives.  That dual incitement to hide and to exhibit, and the grim consequences of exhibiting that which must be hidden, constitute what might be the cunning of secular power.  

Mayanthi L. FernandoMayanthi L. FernandoMayanthi L. Fernando is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She is primarily interested in the intersection of religion, politics, sexuality and secularity.  Her first book, The Republic Unsettled: Islam, Secularism and the Future of France will be out in 2014 with Duke University Press).  She has recently begun a second project that examines the nexus of sex, religion and secularism, and in particular the French state's regulation of Muslim women's sexual and religious intimacies.   

Sponsored by the Religion and Internationalism Project, the Department of Religious Studies and the Cogut Center for the Humanities.


Torture and Media: Do Spy Shows Affect Torture Policy?
Stephen BushStephen Busha talk by Religious Studies Professor Stephen Bush on Modern Day Torture Policy and the Influence of the Media Today

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Wilson 309
*Primarily intended for Brown Undergraduates
Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies 

"Birth Control: Is it Moral? Margaret Sanger and Changing Views of Contraception."Marie Griffith, Washington University, discusses a chapter of her new book, Christians, Sex, and Politics: An American History. To obtain a draft of the chapter, please email

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
4:00-6:00pm in Wilson 101 

Marie GriffithMarie GriffithMarie Griffith is the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis and is currently the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics.  She is the author of God's Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (1997) and Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (2004).  She is also the editor of Women and Religion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Powerand Performance (co-edited with Barbara Diane Savage, 2006); Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States (co-edited with Melanie McAlister, 2008); and American Religions: A Documentary History (2007).  Her forthcoming book, Christians, Sex and Politics: An American History is an anaylsis of sexuality debates in twentieth-century American Christianity.

Sponsored by the Religion and Internationalism Project, the Department of Religious Studies and the Cogut Center for the Humanites.

The Spectacle of Toleration Conference:  October 3-5, 2013 at Salve Regina and Brown Universities

No person shall be any wise molested: Religious Freedom, Cultural Conflict, and the Moral Role of the State 

The Conference marks the 350th anniversary of the 1663 Rhode Island Charter and features academic panel presentations, including 40 paper presentations on topics ranging from politics/law, toleration within history, toleration in modern times, and tolerartion and freedom within the context of various religions.  Presentations will include:

  • "How Special was Rhode Island? The Global Context of 1663 Charter" by Evan Haefeli, Columbia University
  • "The Cult Scare and the Shifting Politics of American Religious Freedom, 1975-1985" by Tisa Wenger, Yale University
  • "A Free Market of Religion? Toleration, Disestablishment and the 'Naturalness' of Religious Pluarlism" by Paul Firenze, Brown PhD '13, now teaching at Providence College  

The conference is open to the public.  It costs $75 for one day, or $150 to attend all three days.  There are 2 keynote presentations which are free to the public with pre-registration

  • Thursday, Oct. 3 @ 7pm: Opening Event at Salve Regina's Bazarsky Lecture Hall - "Toleration: Its Nature and Moral Justification" by Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago.
    To register visit: 
  • Saturday, Oct. 5 from 7-9pm: Closing Event at Brown University's Manning Chapel - A panel discussion focusing on how issues of religious tolerance are playing out in today's world featuring Morgan Grefe, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society; Maura Jane Farrelly from Brandeis University; and Stephen Marini from Wellesley College.  To register visit:

The conference is a collaborative project between the Newport Historical Society, the Rhode Island Historical Society, the John Carter Brown Library and Brown University, George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, the Pell Center and Salve Regina University.  It is supported by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the partner institutions.  For more information on this conference or to register, please visit

"Sulamith and Eusebia: A Musical Exegesis on Judaism, Christianity, and Unity in Variety" a lecture by Yael Sela-Teichler, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

September 26, 2013
Pembroke Hall 202
172 Meeting Street

Co-sponsored by Religious Studies, Music, Judaic Studies, German Studies, and the Cogut Center for the Humanities.   

Graduate Student Breakfast

Monday, September 9, 2013
Seminar Room (101), Shirley Miller House 

A welcome back gathering for current and new graduate students.  Note the date was moved to accomodate the Jewish holiday.

Welcome Back Party!

Monday, Sept. 9, 2013

Join the Religious Studies Department in welcoming back current students, faculty and friends, and also introducing the new members of our community. Come share food, conversation and fun, as we celebrate the start of the new academic year!