The Academic Study of Religion in the U.S. (Boesel, Todd)
The GDR colloquium, now entering its fifth year, is intended to provide an inclusive and expansive space of intellectual exchange among the faculty and students of the Division. The topics chosen are ones that we believe to be relevant across and beyond the various areas and disciplines represented within the Division, although they will be relevant in different ways (and perhaps also to different degrees) to each of us. The challenge and fun of the task is, first, to step out of our disciplinary enclaves and discover a common ground of interest and, second, to take note of ways in which we are shaped by our disciplines. Theoretical, hermeneutical, and methodological questions will often be our focus.
The colloquium, which meets three times per semester, ushers students into the interdisciplinary character of the study of religion, which is a particular emphasis at Drew. Attendance is required of first and second year students; more advanced students are also invited and indeed encouraged to attend. Yet it is not a “class” offered by faculty to students but a conversation to which students and faculty alike are privileged to be invited. Sometimes we will learn most by daring to speak up; at other times we will learn most by remembering to listen. We will all enter from different points and at different levels. But enter we must, for the conversation is only what we make of it!
For each colloquium, there will be a modest reading assignment, chosen by the facilitators (typically two faculty members from different disciplines, working with one or two PhD students). Last year’s topics were: interdisciplinarity; ecotheory and animality; theories of race; childhood studies; poststructuralist and postcolonial theories; and globalization.