Santa Clara University

Religious Studies department

News & Events


Religious Studies News & Events

Religious Studies News & Events

  •  Living Religions Collaborative

    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015

    Elizabeth Drescher (Religious Studies) and Philip "Boo" Riley (Religious Studies) have been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching & Learning in Religion & Theology for a yearlong collaborative consultation with congregational practitioners from Silicon Valley churches and journalists from Religion News Service aimed at developing a collaborative pedagogy of living religions for a media rich, digitally-integrated, religiously diverse world. The project seeks creative ways to bring the language and logic of new media into classrooms and congregations while also enriching the theological depth of reporting on religion as it is lived in congregational communities and the lives of undergraduates.

  •  Muslim-Buddhist Relations in Burma Today

    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015

  •  Graduate School Info Session

    Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015

  •  Encountering Trauma in the Bible

    Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015
  •  Wildlife Trafficking and Animal Conservation in Southeast Asia Today

    Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015

  •  Welcome Roberto Mata

    Wednesday, Sep. 9, 2015

  •  AIMES Banquet

    Monday, Jun. 15, 2015

      On May 28, a banquet and reception were held in honor of students enrolled in AIMES (SCU's interdisciplinary program in Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies). Attendance at this evening event (which welcomed students and faculty from across campus) was good; enrollment in AIMES has now reached a total of 20 students.

    Elijah Reynolds and David Pinault present Arabic studies award to AIMES graduating senior Dale Taylor

      Falafel (the best in the Bay Area), hummus, and tahini provided sustenance; undergrad Yasmeen Wanees D.J.'ed a brilliant master-mix of music by the likes of Fayrouz and Umm Kulsoom. Enough to bring back long-ago memories, all this, for anyone who's ever spent a hot summer night sipping mint tea outside Ali Baba's café in the dirty neon glow of Cairo's Tahreer Square.

      Program director David Pinault (Religious Studies) and AIMES faculty colleague Elijah Reynolds (Modern Languages) presented certificates (lettered in Arabic calligraphy) and book awards to five graduating AIMES seniors: Rachel Axelrod (Excellence in Middle Eastern Studies); Alex Bittner (Excellence in Islamic Studies); Yasmeen Wanees (Excellence in Advanced Arabic Studies); Dale Taylor (Excellence in Intermediate Arabic Studies); and John Lund (Recognition of Service Abroad in the Middle East). Upon graduation in June, Dale and John will also be commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the US Army. Lieut. Colonel John Tiedeman and other officers in the teaching cadre of SCU's ROTC program attended our AIMES event to applaud what these students have achieved.

      Recognition was also given to AIMES students who will be traveling abroad this summer: Ashraf Hammad (Arabic language study in Morocco); Dale Taylor (a home stay and Arabic language study in Jordan); and Lindsey Allen and Brooke Latham (both of whom will be serving in Tanzania and Uganda as fellowship recipients in affiliation with SCU's Global Social Benefit program). Our prayers go with them all for safe travels this summer.

  •  Sister Helen Prejean Visit

    Monday, Jun. 15, 2015

    On April 13, Sister Helen Prejean visited the department's "Catholic Social Thought" section during the course of her stay for the second annual Dean's Leadership Forum. To make the most of her visit, the class read several articles on capital punishment and the Catholic tradition, including some essays Sr. Helen had authored connecting the death penalty to societal wounds such as racism, poverty and a culture of violence. Sr. Helen shared her personal journey of involvement very candidly with the class, tracing the narrative recounted in the award-winning Dead Man Walking and the recalling her visit with Pope John Paul II to discuss Catholic teaching on capital punishment.

    Sister Helen Prejean speaks to class on capital punishment and the Catholic tradition.

    She captivated the students with her insights and courage, and they seemed delighted and a bit surprised by her thoroughgoing warmth, humor and no-nonsense approach. Sr. Helen spoke directly about the Dzhokhar Tszarnaev trial then underway, which she would go on to testify at regarding her impressions of Tszarnaev's remorse several weeks later in light of her visits with him.

    The most memorable line she delivered was to caution that no one should be "freeze framed into the worst act they ever committed." This was a fitting note to sound for themes of the Catholic social thought course and Jesuit education more broadly. Sr. Helen delivered a public campus lecture that evening and had conversation with Paul Crowley, S.J. during the Q&A that followed, and she joined Martin Sheen in conversation with the campus community the following night.

  •  Annual Spring Reception

    Monday, Jun. 15, 2015

      The Religious Studies Department gathered in Adobe Lodge for the annual spring reception on Wednesday, May 20. As always, it was a relaxing and enjoyable pause in the rush towards the end of the school year.

    Jonathan Homrighausen ('15) receives an award during the annual reception.

      We celebrated the near-completion of another year, honored our graduating majors and minors, welcomed the new members of Theta Alpha Kappa, presented awards, and enjoyed an Italian-themed dinner and conversation with one another. Beyond the general celebration, two highlights characterized the evening. The first was Sally Vance-Trembath's musings on her vocation as a theologian.

      In a beautifully evocative reflection, Vance-Trembath spoke of growing up on the prairie--the simple but lush grasslands that cradled the Mississippi River in Iowa and framed the important places she knew as a child: parks, the cemetery where her father was buried, and the outdoor theater where she came to know and love Shakespeare. The strong prairie grass, Vance-Trembath shared, is a metaphor for her vocation: "a sturdy creature that took a long time to bloom and that survived many attempts to crowd it out and even kill it." she related the power of liturgy, of community, and of mystery that guided and sustained her vocation, nurtured in her family and its own story of loss and hope. A similar power was in the theater, which nurtured her desire to learn and her path to college and the professorate. In each place, a strong sense of community carried her along.

    Amia Nash, Professor Teresia Hinga and RS guest attend the spring reception.

      The other highlight was the reflections of graduating majors and minors, who spoke movingly about their experiences in the department. Many spoke of their unexpected turn to the department, swayed by a transformative classroom experience with an inspiring teacher who taught them to think in new ways and sustained by mentors who shepherded their growth and curiosity as majors and minors. In a time when it is easy to be cynical about higher education, especially in the Humanities, this year's graduates reminded faculty why they teach and provided evidence that the future is in good hands!

  •  Kudos to our Majors and Minors

    Monday, Jun. 15, 2015

    Religious studies Majors and Minors are out accomplishing amazing things. Here are some examples of what they have been up to this spring:

    Jonathan Homrighausen presented a paper on the significance of Francis' famous encounter with Sultan al-Kamil in Egypt during the fifth crusade at the spring meeting of the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion, which Santa Clara University hosted. Homrighausen was the only undergraduate who presented a paper at the meeting.

    Regina Fields directed and had a lead part in a staged reading of the play "The House That Will Not Stand," which included a conversation with the playwright, Marcus Gardley.

    Ian Layton was a leader of the Immigration Week activities, including the Border Wall, which highlighted the issue of immigration for the campus community.

    Gina Pasquali had her artwork featured at the Senior Art Show, titled "Realms of Intimacy: Personal Introspections of Briar Wren and Gina Pasquali" at the University Fine Arts Gallery.

    Three students also won awards for the most outstanding essays in their Pathways:
    Amia Nash in Global Health
    Susan Lewin in Paradigm Shifts and the Nature of Human Knowing
    Anthony Ferrari in Sustainability

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