Fall 2019

Fall 2019 Events

September 13, 2019 | 2-4pm | McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

James McHugh, University of Southern California presents a lecture "The History of Alcohol & Drugs in Pre-Modern South Asia." Hosted by Visiting Assistant Prof. Finnian Moore-Gerety, Brown University.

James McHugh is associate professor of Religion at the University of Southern California.  He studies the cultural and material history of pre-modern India.  He works on classical and early medieval Indian materials, mainly working with Sanskrit texts.  His first book, "Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture." (Oxford University Press, 2012) is about the sense of smell and the use of aromatics in South Asian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  

Sponsored by the Center for Contemporary South Asia in the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs. 

September 24, 2019 | 5:30-7:00pm

Religious Studies Welcome Back Party 

A kick off to the new school year, with good food and great conversation. 
Friends and family welcome. 




October 3 & 4, 2019  | Full Schedule: www.atthemarginsconference.com 

At the Margins: Interconnections of Power and Identity in the Ancient Near East 

“At the Margins” is an interdisciplinary conference bringing together scholars studying the Near East and Egypt to rethink the dichotomy between antiquated terms such as “core” and “periphery” and instead to explore lived realities in the margins of central authority. The borderlands of hegemonic entities within these regions pressed against each other creating cities and societies with influence from several competing polities.  The peoples, cities, and cultures of these borderlands present a unique lens by which to examine how states controlled and influenced the lives, political systems, and social hierarchies of these subjects (and vice versa). Due to their inherently porous nature, frontier zones are difficult to define and often result in asymmetric encounters between polities. Additionally, the distinct traditions and experiences of areas beyond the core will be explored, for their own sake and their own distinct ways of life. It remains imperative that today’s historians and social scientists understand the ways in which these cultures developed, spread, and interacted with others along frontier edges. Such concepts to be examined are: terminology used when discussing empire, core, periphery, borderlands, and frontiers; conceptualization of space; practices and consequences of warfare, captive-taking and slavery; identity- and secondary state-formation; economy and society; ritual; diplomacy and the negotiation of claims to power.

As an intersectional approach between multiple disciplines, this conference will bring together professionals from archaeology, religious studies, history, sociology, and anthropology to work on new explorations of the frontier. We encourage participants to consider new frameworks for understanding such regions, applying concepts such as practice and identity. Through this conference we aim to open new pathways in research, deepen already existing research, and promote wider collaboration among specialists. Furthermore, this conference will promote study of the ancient world in the field of frontier studies.

October 4, 2019 | 2-4pm| McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

Andrea JainAndrea JainA lecture by Andrea Jain, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, "Peace, Love, Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality."  Hosted by Visiting Assistant Professor Finnian Moore-Gerety, Brown University. 

Andrea R. Jain, Ph.D., is associate professor of religious studies at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014).  She received her doctorate degree in religious studies from Rice University in 2010.  Her areas of research include religion under neoliberal capitalism; global yoga; South Asian religions; the intersections of gender, sexuality, and religion; and theories of religion.  Her second monograph, Peace, Love, Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. 

Sponsored by the Center for Contemporary South Asia at the Watson Institue for International and Public Affairs. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019 | 12-1:30pm | Pembroke Hall, Rm 305

Book Launch: Prayers for the People: Homicide and Humanity in the Crescent City 
Featuring the author, Rebecca Louise Carter, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at Brown University.
Also featuring commentary from 

  • Lisa Pina-Warren, Director of Victim Services, Nonviolence Institute, Providence, RI 
  • Reverend Linda Watkins, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI 
  • Laurence Ralph, Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Center on Transnational Policing, Princeton University
  • Andre C. Willis, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University

Presented by the Center for the Study of Race & Ethnicity in America (CSREA), the Department of Anthropology and the Urban Studies Program. 

October 10 & 11, 2019 | Brown University

Day 1: 10/1 | 1-5:30pm | Grant Recital Hall
Day 2: 10/11 | 9am-4:30pm | Granoff Centr | Fishman Studio

Spirit Sounds: A Symposium on Religion & Spirituality in Black American Music
Featured Artist: Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, 10/11 | 7:30pm | Granoff Centr, Martinos Auditorium
Tickets: Free to students | $10 Brown Faculty and Staff | $20 General Public (SOLD OUT)

These events are made possible through support from the Brown University Humanities Initiative Programming Fund, Marshall Woods Lectureshipps Foundation of Fine Arts, Brown University Pembroke Center for Research on Teaching and Women, Brown University Dean of the Collge, Brown University Department of Music.

October 16, 2019 | 5:30-7:00pm| Annmary Brown Memorial (21 Brown Street)

A lecture with Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University, "Imagining Time in Early Modern India: Persian Chroniclers and Their Interpreters"

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities. 


October 19, 2019 | 10am-5:00pm | 20 Washington Place Auditorium |RISD

"Race and Environment in the United States: African American & Native American Perspectives" 

A day long symposium featuring lectures and conversations with:

Carolyn Finney, PhD
Storyteller, performer, cultural geographer.  Former professor at UC Berkeley and University of Kentucky. Former actor (NY and Los Angeles).  Author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014).

Linda Hogan, MA
Poet, playwright, environmentalist, and writer (Chickasaw).  Former Professor, University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Okalahoma. Author of Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World(1995).

Mark Cladis, Ph.D
Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department, Brown University.  Research relates to areas of environmental justice, indigenous ecology, and radical aesthetics (dedicated to social justice); and religion, democracy and the environmental imagination.

Azzura Cox, MLA
Landscape Architect, Gustagson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), Seattle.  Olmsted Scholar in "Race, Remembrence, and Landscape." Focus on the power of lanscape to shape and reflect collective social narratives.  Bacground in the worlds ofeducation and policy reform, publishing and curation. 


  • Christopher Roberts, SEI Fellow, RISD; Africologist and African American Studies
  • Elizabeth Hoover, American Studies, Brown University (Mohawk and Mi'kmag)
  • NJ Unaka, Architecht, Wentworth
  • Elizabeth James-Perry, Marine Scientist (Wampanoag)
  • Matthew Shenoda, Associate Provost, Social Equity and Inclusion, RISD
  • Jonathan Highfield, Post Colonial Literature, RISD

Co-sponsored by RISD's NCSS Undergraduate Concentration (NCSS), Divison of Liberal Arts, Office of Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI), Division of Architecture and Design, Department of Landscape Architecture.

October 23, 2019 | 5:30pm | Friedman Hall Rm 101

Lecture with Jacqueline Stone, Professor of Religion, Princeton University 

"When the Lotus Went Underground: The Nichiren Buddhist Fuju Fuse Movement and Its Persecution in Early Modern Japan."

Japan's political leaders in the late 16th century and early 17th century sought to break the independent power of Buddhist temples and subsume them within their new administrative order.  This policy particularly threatened the Nichiren sect, whose teachings place the Lotus Sūtra above the authority of worldy rulers.  Forced to choose between doctrinal compromise to ensure institutional survival or principled resistance and martyrdom, the sect split, and the hardline fuju fuse ("neither receiving nor giving") faction was outlawed and driven underground.  Their story illuminates major shifts in religion-state relations at the start of Japan's early modern period.

Sponsored by the East Asian Studies Colloquium and the Department of Religious Studies.

November 7, 2019 | 8:00pm | Salomon 001

"In Between" A one man play directed by Elena Araoz. 

The Hebrew Progam in Judaic Studies and the Arabic Program in CLS invite you to join them for this semi-autobiographical one man show written and performed by Ibrahim Miari that portrays the complexities and contradictions inherent in Palestinian-Israeli identity.  On the precipice between two cultures, stands Miari, son of a Palestinian-Muslim father and a Jewish Israeli mother.  He recalls his childhood in Israel and provides us with a window into the complexities and contradictions that define his life "in between" two worlds.

Sponsored by the Program in Judaic Studies, the Cetner for Language Studies, the Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. 

November 24, 2019 | 8-10pm | Marriot Marquis - Pacific 16 (First Level) | 333 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA

Brown University Reception at the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature
Featuring a fete to Prof. Susan A. Harvey from her students in release of their new publication in her honor, The Garb of Being: The Embodiment of Holiness in Late Antique Christianity.

Presented by the Department of Religious Studies & the Program in Judaic Studies.