The 12th Annual Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium, which took place February 7-10, 2013, proposed an exploration of a variety of threats to our common life. How might theology advance the “common good” of the human community and the planet in the face of widespread economic failures, climate change, and ecological degradation, amidst increasingly divided and shrill conversations in the public sphere? TTC thus sought to investigate what role political theology—before and after its secularization—plays in both the formulation of a vision of the common good and a plan for fair distribution of “goods” among us…Read featured article by Natalie Williams, GDR Graduate Student.
Although Drew’s Graduate Division of Religion no longer houses an official Liturgical Studies Area, both the students who are completing their doctoral work for this degree and graduates of the program have been creating quite a stir. Recently Professor Heather Elkins graciously gave of her time in order to contextualize the creation and closing of this notable doctoral program…Read featured article by Shelley L. Dennis, GDR Graduate Student Intern.
Liturgical Studies student Michael Sniffen has been making the news in recent months for his involvement in the Occupy Sandy relief efforts, while at the same time writing his dissertation and serving as pastor of St. Luke and St. Matthew on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. Heavily influenced by process and liberation theology, Michael understands the gospel of Jesus Christ to be a prophetic word of freedom, reconciliation, and radical welcome in a world fraught with division and oppression. He perceives his vocation as witnessing to the presence of Christ in the midst of life’s challenges and difficulties…Read featured article by Shelley L. Dennis, GDR Graduate Student Intern.
Completing a doctorate in liturgical studies in 2010, Drew graduate Neal Presa has wasted no time finding ample outlets for the passions fueled by such rigorous study. In July of 2012 he was elected Moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), making him the highest elected office in the 1.9-million member church…Read featured article by Shelley L. Dennis, GDR Graduate Student Intern.
When he arrived on the Drew campus in 1995 to begin his doctorate in Theological and Religious Studies at the Graduate School, Morris Davis, or Morrey as most people call him, had no idea he would one day become the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Seminary. Dean Davis notes that his decision to pursue doctoral studies was motivated by very personal reasons…the pursuit of answers to persistent questions he’d had. “That was fuel for me to just dig into things and not worry too much about the other end,” he notes…Read featured article by Shelley L. Dennis, GDR Graduate Student Intern.
Since earning his PhD in theology in 1965 Charles McCollough has flourished as an artist and an author. This summer saw the publication of his eighth book, The Non-Violent Radical: Seeing and Living the Wisdom of Jesus. Sculpting in clay, bronze, wood, and stone, McCollough articulates a dense post-colonial understanding of the wisdom of Jesus’ sayings in the gospels in words and images…Read more about McCollough’s latest publication.
After receiving her Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion at Drew University in 2004, Dr. Mary Nyangweso Wangila spent several years teaching in a variety of locations prior to receiving an endowed professorship at East Carolina University. As the J. Woolard and Hellen Peel Distinguished Professor in Religious Studies, Dr. Wangila continues to flex her intellectual muscles, examining the interplay between religious and other sociological forces upon issues related to women’s and human rights, such as female circumcision, domestic violence, and the effect of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa on women…Read more about Dr. Wangila.
Drew has much to celebrate at AAR this year! Kicking off the excitement, the November meeting of the American Academy of Religion marks the close of Otto Maduro’s term as president of the Academy. Among his presidential duties, Professor Maduro chose the theme of the annual meeting. While Dr. Maduro describes the theme as “little more than an informal magnet, not mandatory for program units,” he acknowledges that it “affirms the importance of a certain topic.” That topic—Migrants’ Religions Under Imperial Duress—reflects not only Otto’s area of passion, but also the vibrancy of activist scholarship at Drew…Read more about Drew at the AAR/SBL.
Drew mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Adelaide Ruth Afi Boadi, who died on September 11, 2012, after a seven month battle with cancer. Having overcome many prior adversities in pursuit of her PhD, Adelaide had hoped to graduate in May 2012; sadly, this was not to be. Adelaide was a woman of enormous gifts, fierce determination, great generosity, and boundless faith. Her vitality of spirit graced our community during her time with us and will continue to do so beyond her death…Read more about Adelaide Boadi.
On September 11 and 12, in celebration of the work and legacy of Professor Ada-Maria Isasi-Diaz, Father Roy Bourgeois delivered a series of lectures on topics that were at the center of Dr. Isasi-Diaz’s concerns, research, writing, and teaching–“The Contemporary Struggle for Women’s Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church,” “Marielitos: Cuban Exiles in U.S. Prisons,” and “The School of the Americas: A U.S. Training Camp for Latin American Dictators and Torturers.” Audiences were deeply moved by the power of his prophetic voice and the witness of his fight for justice…Read more about Father Bourgeois’ visit to Drew.
Even as any sense of the “common” and its “good” has become questionable, so has hope of political solutions to the globalization of ecological crisis and economic injustice. What role does political theology—before and after its secularization—play in the formulation of the shared good and the sharing of goods? How does the much discussed ‘return of religion’ or ‘postsecularity’ reconfigure political theory and practice? What ideas are emerging out of recent transgressive and transformational local practices and assemblages? How might a transdisciplinary theological discourse support the fragile potentiality of a new ecopolitical planetarity—of “a world of becoming”?…Read more about the upcoming Twelfth TTC.
On June 1 and 2, 2012, nine Drew graduates returned to campus for a Wabash Center-sponsored gathering—not a conference, not a workshop, but a chance to talk. The primary aim of the gathering was to discover what challenges graduates who hold teaching positions face, how well we are preparing them, and what we could do better. That aim was certainly met: the five participating Drew faculty members learned even more than we anticipated about our graduates’ teaching roles and contexts, many of which are very different from our own—undergraduate classrooms, heavy teaching loads, lack of institutional support for scholarship, complex institutional politics. (OK, not entirely different!)…Read featured article by Virginia Burrus, GDR Chair and Professor of Early Christianity.
On Friday, May 11, 2012, ten students in the Graduate Division of Religion (GDR) at Drew University joined faculty from Drew Theological School, family members, and friends in Craig Chapel for a doctoral hooding ceremony that conferred on them the university’s highest degree: the Ph.D. Entering to musical accompaniment provided by Assistant Professor of Church Music Mark A. Miller, they sat down as students. But as their names were called by their doctoral advisers, they rose as colleagues….Read featured article by Eric Johnson-DeBaufre.
Continuing a tradition of excellence, GDR students received a number of awards and distinctions this year. On April 24, 2012, GDR student Yong-Sup Song presented the results of his dissertation research in his lecture as the recipient of the Edward L. Long Peacemaking Fellowship for 2012. Song’s lecture, “Violence, Sin, and Narcissism in the Los Angeles Uprisings of 1992: African American and Korean American Conflict or White Racism?,” drew on a dissertation that Dr. Traci West described as offering a powerful “ethical analysis of the role of police violence and the mainstream mass media” in the Los Angeles riots…Read featured article.
Each year, the Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures feature distinguished scholars and theologians who energize the shared community of the Drew Theological School and the Graduate Division of Religion (GDR). This year’s lecture series, entitled “The Global Bible: Why People and Place Matter,” highlighted the tensive connection between two phenomenon in our present historical moment: global/universal and local/particular….Read featured article by Dong Sung Kim, PhD student in Hebrew Bible.
What to do with a PhD in Religion and Society from Drew? At first I did the conventional thing and lectured in religious studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Then, I returned to local Church ministry in the United Methodist Church where I found I had to submerge most of what I had learned in order to prevent my sermons from becoming too unwieldy. (I discovered quickly that parishoners have limited tolerance for “on the one hand/on the other hand” kind of ponderings…) That season of ice berg academic teaching might have gone on forever, except that my beloved husband got a back ache, soon diagnosed as stage four cancer, which culminated in his early death…Read featured article by Mary Maaga.
The topic of TTC XI, which ran from September 29 through October 2, was “Divinanimality: Creaturely Theology.” The neologism of the main title was borrowed from Jacques Derrida, whose philosophical work on animality, together with that of other prominent theorists, notably Donna Haraway, has catalyzed the emergence of a transdisciplinary endeavor variously termed “animal studies,” “animality studies,” or “posthuman animality studies.” TTC XI was conceived as an attempt to triangulate these novel reflections on humanity and animality with reflections on divinity…Read featured article by Stephen D. Moore, Professor of New Testament.
Each year incoming students to Drew University’s Graduate Division of Religion (GDR) conclude orientation week with a walking tour of New York City. Now in its third year, this tour is an annual reminder that scholars attend not only to scholarly methodology—but to simple, human truth...Read featured article by Wade Mitchell, PhD student in Theological and Philosophical Studies.
Queer scholarship and queer theory are becoming burgeoning sites of academic creativity, and Drew University’s Graduate Division of Religion (GDR) is at the forefront of this work. Following in the footsteps of last years’ participants, Peter Mena and Sara Rosenau, this year Drew students Jake Erickson and Natalie Williams were awarded the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Summer Institute Fellowship for scholars of religion working on LGTBQ issues of queer hermeneutics, writing, advocacy, varieties of justice, and religious pluralism…Read featured article.
In early August, the two of us along with Dr. Virginia Burrus traveled to Oxford University, where we joined other scholars in conversation about late ancient Christianity. Since its inception in 1951, the International Patristics Conference, which meets every four years, has provided opportunities for scholars to present their work to a critical, but sympathetic audience…Read featured article by Jennifer Barry and Peter Anthony Mena, PhD students in Historical Studies.
My first year of doctoral work ended in fairly typical fashion. A deluge of papers and readings made the last month of courses exciting, nail-biting, and very rewarding. As May gave way to June, I celebrated with friends and family of those graduating from Drew while beginning work as a research assistant for Professor Terry Todd. My research revealed the complex relationship between politics, gender, sexuality, and trans-national conservative evangelicalism in the late 1970s. This narrative added yet another storyline to an already multifaceted historiographic account of the Religious Right’s ascendancy in the United States. My summer had officially begun in a key of scholarship…Read featured article by L. Benjamin Rolsky, PhD student in Historical Studies.
In 1999, I received the MPhil in Theological and Religious Studies from Drew’s Graduate School. Since I was writing my dissertation on early American Methodism, I needed to travel to repositories in distant places. The Edwards-Mercer Prize enabled me to visit the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England. While searching for correspondence from English Methodist Jabez Bunting, I discovered original documents written by John Wesley, apparently torn from his journal…Read featured article by Daniel F. Flores, Drew University alumnus.