Upcoming Events

Graduate Student Conference: Religion and Difference: Negotiating Otherness from Ancient to Contemporary Worlds

Keynote Speaker: Courtney Bender, Columbia University

March 16 & 17 | Pembroke Hall, Rm 305

For more information, please check out the conference website.

The Deep, Insurmountable Darkness of Love: Contemplative Practice in a Time of Loss, Douglas E. Christie, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles


Monday, April 9, 2018 | 5:30pm | List Arts Center, Room 120 (64 College St.)

The thirteenth century Flemish mystic Hadewijch of Brabant articulates a searing, fierce, and often bewildering vision of love.  To open oneself to love is to risk being drawn into an abyss, a "deep, insurmountable darkness." The lovers becomes a wanderer, an exile, lost.  Even to the extend of finding oneself completely forsaken.  In this talk, Christie will consider what it meant for Hadewijch and other late medieval mystics to incorporate this vision of love into a sustained contemplative practice.  Christie will consider also its possible significance for those engaging in contemplative practice today, especially in response to experiences of absence, exile and loss.

Douglas E. Christie is a Professor and Chair in the department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is the author of The World in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism and The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes for a Contemplative Ecology, both published by Oxford.  From 2013 to 2015, he lived in Cordoba, Argentina where he helped to found the Casa de la Mateada study abroad program.  He is currently at work on a book entitled The Dark Silence, which explores how classic apophatic mystical traditions might help us address the sense of overwhelming darkness that is such a deep part of this contemporary historical moment. 

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Contemplative Studies Initiative.

Faith in Paper: Printed Talismans and Inscribed Oaths in Premodern Japanese Religion, Max Moerman, Barnard College, Columbia University

April 12, 2018 | 5:30pm | Petteruti Lounge, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center

This presentation examines the articulation of religion within the social domain through an analysis of the ritual, legal, visual, and material culture of oaths insribed on printed talismans produced at temples and shrines in premodern Japan.  Such talismans were affixed to buildings to protect them from fire and burglary, worn on persons to protect them from all range of misfortune, and burned and digested while taking an oath.  The veracity of these oaths was often demonstrated in ordeals such as plunging one's hand in boiling water or grasping a rod-hot iron.  Their most common use, however, was in the writing of contracts.  This ruch bu largely unstudied body of material will be explored for what it might reveal about the relationship between religious, legal, political, and economic practices.  

Sponsored by the Departments of East Asian Studies, History, History of Art and Architecture and Religious Studies.

The Curious Case of a Vietnamese Priest at the (18th-century) Portuguese Court with George Dutton, Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA 

April 13, 2018 | 2pm | Religious Studies Seminar Room

In 1796, Father Philphe Binh and three companions set sail from Tonkin via Macau for the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.  Their mission? To persuade the Portuguese ruler, Prince Regent Dom Joao, to invoke his papally granted authority to appoint a bishop to their homeland.  This presentation, based on Prof. Dutton's recently published book, A Vietnamese Moses (UC Press, 2017) explores the background to their unlikely mission to Europe, and the ways in which it revealed persistent linkages between the Vietnamese Catholic world and the Portuguese realm.  Products of Portuguese Jesuit missionary initiatives that began in the early 1600s, these men represented a community whose roots lay in a particular Christian tradition, one they sought to preserve even as the Portuguese presence in Vietnam faded, and the Jesuits were disbanded.  Father Binh would spend the rest of his life in Lisbon, pursuing his mission bot also adapting to his new home, and leaving a remarkable written legacy that reflected his deep commitment to Vietnamese Catholicism and the Jesuit Order from which it stemmed.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Southeast Asian Studies Initiative. 

New Testament & Early Christian Studies Day

A day for scholars in the field from area colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Tufts and Boston University, gather to discuss issues in the field.  For more information, please click here.

April 22, 2018 | 1:30pm | 85 Waterman St., 015

Religious Studies End of Year Celebration: "The Art & Politics of Urban Praise" with Josef Sorett, Columbia University

May 1, 2018 | 4pm | Location RI Hall 108

Join the Department for it's annual end of year celebration.  Immediately following the lecture at 4pm, good food and great conversation will be had in the Department, at 59 George Street.