Congratulations to the following student award winners from Duke University units in 2020.   African & African American Studies   John Hope Franklin Award for Academic Excellence: Elizabeth DuBard Grantland Karla FC Holloway Award for University Service: Beza Gebremariam Mary McLeod Bethune Writing Award: Jenna Clayborn Walter C. Burford Award for Community Service: Kayla Lynn Corredera-Wells   Art, Art History & Visual Studies… read more about Student Honors and Laurels for 2020 »

All my humor is based on destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, I’d be standing in the breadline—right in back of J. Edgar Hoover.”    -Lenny Bruce “Humor is just another defense against the universe.” -Mel Brooks On the evidence of what Lenny Bruce and Mel Brooks proclaim, humor is mercifully entangled with disaster. Each comedian conveys the sentiment in broadly existential terms, but we may put the matter in equally apt political form: humor is a life line in dark,… read more about Religion and Humor in the Time of Pandemic »

Last week’s killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani has raised a number of legal and strategic questions for which there seem to be no consensus, including among Duke faculty. Charles J. Dunlap Jr., a professor of the practice of law and executive director of the law school’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, said President Donald Trump’s directive to kill Soleimani was “lawful self-defense” as authorized by the United Nations Charter, not an unlawful assassination. “Because Soleimani was engaged in… read more about Killing of Iranian Commander Raises Legal, Strategic Questions »

While a graduate student at Santa Clara University in California, Jonathan Homrighausen became fascinated by a hand-written, hand-illustrated version of the bible in the school’s collection. It was a copy of the Saint John’s Bible, commissioned in the late 1990s by Saint John’s University in Minnesota to bring the bible with contemporary flourishes and interpretation to a modern audience. It was created by a team of scribes and artists who wrote the bible’s text by hand while illuminating it with colorful visuals. Along… read more about The Bible As You've Never Seen It Before »

UN Must Investigate the Killing of Protesters in Iran Friday, 29 November 2019   A group of prominent Iranians have appealed to the United Nations to take immediate action on Iran and appoint a commission to investigate the human rights violations in the country during the recent nationwide protests.  The letter, signed by prominent Iranian academics, lawyers, doctors, journalists, and human rights activists based in the United States, Europe, Canada, India and Iran, also urges… read more about UN Must Investigate the Killing of Protesters in Iran »

Congratulations to the recent graduates of the Ph.D.!  The Graduate Program in Religion graduated nine Ph.D. students in the period from September 2018 - May 2019.  September: Kara Slade (CTS, Advisor- Willie Jennings); Marvin Wickware (CTS, Advisor Willie J. Jennings); David Smith (NT, Advisor - Joel Marcus). December: Diana Abernethy (HB/OT, Advisor - Stephen B. Chapman); Yael Lazar (R&M, Advisor - Leela Prasad). May:… read more about A New Crop of Ph.D.s » (RNS) — Shopping at Walmart a few years ago, David Morgan saw a statuette of Santa Claus praying on one knee before a cross and knew he had to have it. Morgan, a professor and religious studies chair at Duke University who studies religion, culture and media, was amused by the pious Santa Claus, whose costume derives from Thomas Nast’s 1860s Harper’s Weekly cartoons and Coca-Cola ads starting in the 1930s. He doesn… read more about Is Religious Kitsch Offensive? The Answer is in the Eye of the Beholder »

Duke's own Prof. Marc Z. Brettler was recently granted an audience with Pope Francis on March 27. He and Duke alumna Amy-Jill Levine co-authored “The Jewish Annotated New Testament”, first published in 2011. As Levine is teaching in Rome at the moment and Brettler was to give a lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the circumstances allowed for this momentous occasion to occur. Together, the presented a signed copy of their work to the pontiff. Their book is meant for Jewish… read more about Prof. Marc Z. Brettler Given Papal Audience »

Duke's own Leela Prasad has officially accepted the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship. Leela will conduct ethnographic research in Maharashtra, India, a state that collaborates with NGOs to run a “Gandhi Study Program” in its prisons. Her goal is to study how ex-prisoners exposed to Gandhi’s writings during prison-time incorporate Gandhian principles and practices into their post-prison life. She plans to write a  book that will explore how meaning is installed into being human at the margin, and how the figuration… read more about Prof. Leela Prasad Receives Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship »

By Duke Global staff Prasad’s study examines prisoners who are exposed to writings on compassion, non-violence and freedom through a voluntary Gandhi Study Program in Maharashtra(link is external), a state in India. The program is run by a collaboration between the state government and nongovernmental organizations. The participants can also volunteer for a service project after release. Through the work, Prasad plans to connect educational initiatives in American prisons with those in India to exchange… read more about What Can Prisoners Learn From Gandhi? »

Special shout out and congratulations to our very own Leela Prasad, recipient of the 2019 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring!!! Congratulations! :) *** January 14, 2019 The Graduate School has announced the recipients of its 2019 Dean's Awards recognizing outstanding efforts in mentoring, teaching, and creating an inclusive environmentfor graduate education at Duke. The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on Wednesday, March 27. Here's a look at this year's recipients. Profiles on the winners… read more about 2019 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring »

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is recognized as one of the great poets of 20th century European modernism. From 1921-1926, he lived in southern Switzerland, in a region called the Valais. Following the completion of the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, Rilke began to work in both French and German. A collection of French poems addressed to the landscape of Valais, Quatrains Valaisans, was published in 1926. In May of that same year, Rilke sent his publishers an arrangement of German language… read more about From Notebooks & Personal Papers - Rainer Maria Rilke (Author) David Need (Translator) »   Vatican officials lingered over images of Balenciaga evening coats, Madame Grès capes and the Schiaparelli gown embroidered with the keys of St. Peter, pieces that clearly referenced the familiar silhouettes of their ecclesiastical and monastic garments, but flipped past the more risqué looks. Ultimately, they agreed to lend 41 items from the Sistine Chapel sacristy to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met would have been grateful for even… read more about High church meets high fashion: How Catholic style took over the Met »

Beloved faculty member Hwansoo Ilmee Kim has accepted an offer at Yale. Yale has created a new position in Korean Studies. An alumnus donated $3 million for an endowment specifically for Korean studies. There is also an endowment of $1.5 million in the Department of Religious Studies that can be used for developing East Asian Buddhist studies. With these resources, Dr. Kim hopes to lay the groundwork for Korean studies, as well as for Korean Buddhist studies, during his remaining career.  During the last 9 years, Kim… read more about Beloved Faculty Member Accepts New Position »

Dear Old Duke: The Meyers By Bre Bradham | 02/13/2018 Dear Old Duke will be a multi-part photo essay series made up of photographs from decades past pulled from The Chronicle's files and re-created with faculty members and administrators still at the University. What's changed in their lives and at Duke since the original photos, told in their own words, will accompany each picture. Through their stories and images, we'll take a glimpse at the history of the University and the people who have long been a… read more about Dear Old Duke: The Meyers »

Congratulations to David Morgan, Leela Prasad, Mark Brettler and Hwansoo Kim for the recently published article: "Entanglement and the Future of Religious Studies" Entanglement and the Future of Religious Studies David Morgan, Leela Prasad, Marc Brettler, and Hwansoo Kim Duke University Drawing by SKM. Abstract: This paper describes a series of four events on the theme of entanglement, convened by Duke University's… read more about Entanglement and the Future of Religious Studies »

Congratulations to Richard Jaffe and his initiative's members, Holly Rogers (CAPS), Denise Comer (Thompson Writing Program), and Moria Smolski (Psychiatry), Mindfulness Across the Disciplines, having been awarded an Intellectual Planning Grant for 2018. read more about Congratulations to Professor Richard Jaffe and his Mindfulness Across the Disciplines initiative member »

Congratulations to Professor Mona Hassan! We are delighted to announce that Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History, has been selected to receive the AAR's (American Academy of Religion) Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Historical Studies category. read more about Professor Mona Hassan's book: Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History will receive award »

Position Announcement Early Christianity   The Department of Religious Studies within Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University invites applications and nominations for a position in the study of Early Christianity, at the rank of (tenure-track) Assistant or (tenured) Associate Professor. Candidates with expertise in any aspect of Early Christianity in the late ancient world (ca. 3rd to 10th century) are encouraged to apply.  The successful candidate will be familiar with critical… read more about Position Announcement - Early Christianity »

Kalman P. Bland (1942–2017), a longtime member of the American Academy of Religion, was professor emeritus of religious studies at Duke University, amateur violist, conversationalist extraordinaire, and embodiment of the Platonic ideal of thoughtfulness. Kalman received his BA in philosophy from Columbia University, his PhD in medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy from Brandeis University, and his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He began teaching at Indiana University before… read more about In Memoriam: Kalman P. Bland (1942-2017) »

Kalman P. Bland, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Religious Studies, Duke University, died on July 15, 2017, in Chesterfield Royal Hospital in Derbyshire, UK. He became seriously ill while traveling with his partner, Annabel Wharton, in Italy and England; doctors identified a tumor on the pancreas as the cause of the complications that led to his death. read more about Mourning the Loss of a Beloved Professor »

What makes this sixth-century Chinese object, the Cosmic Buddha, exceptional are the detailed narrative scenes that cover its surface, representing moments in the life of the historical Buddha as well as the Realms of Existence, a symbolic map of the Buddhist world. A laser passing over the surface of an object produces a digital scan made of millions of measurement points. These data can be manipulated in a variety of ways to reveal new information and advance research. Image courtesy of Smithsonian’s Digitalization… read more about A 3-D digital scan throws a Buddha statue's carvings into sharp relief »

This week’s episode explores how Judaism engages modern biblical scholarship which is often hostile to that tradition. Our guest is Marc Z. Brettler, Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Judaic Studies, Duke University. He is the author and editor of several important books including The Jewish Study Bible, The Bible and the Believer, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and How to Read the Bible. read more about B4NP Podcast Episode 13: "On Being a Jewish Biblical Scholar" »