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Department ofAnthropology

Mary Hegland

Mary Hegland

Professor Emeritus

Mary Elaine Hegland's field work has been in the Middle East and South Asia: Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. She has also worked among Iranian Americans in the Bay Area of California and involves students in research projects among people of Iranian and other Middle Eastern backgrounds in the Santa Clara area. Dr. Hegland’s publications deal with the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979; women and gender in religion and politics in Iran; change and continuity in an Iranian village; and women and gender in Shia Muslim rituals in Pakistan. Currently, Dr. Hegland is conducting research about aging and the elderly in Iran and among Iranian Americans in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. She also plans to study women and gender and family hierarchy and dynamics as related to aging and the elderly in Tajikistan. Professor Hegland retired in June 2020.

In the News

Sharing my experiences and insights into my first few months as an LSB fellow!

David Gray

David Gray’s new book, The Buddhist Tantras: A Guide, was just released by Oxford University Press. The book was his primary project while on sabbatical in 2021-2022.

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan presented a paper on October 6th entitled "Shah Walī Allāh of Delhi’s Hawāmiʿ and Islamic reform in South Asia '' at a conference "Muslim Intellectual History in Mughal South Asia" at Berkeley. In addition, he gave a paper at the Annual Conference on South Asia in Madision, WI entitled "Reconstructing Sufi Space in Delhi ca. 1550-1760: The rise and fall of the Kushk-i Narwar Mahalla". It looks at the emergence (and eventual destruction) of a Mughal-era neighborhood that grew up in a graveyard in Delhi where Naqshbandi Sufis provided various services including healing, dream interpretation and prognostication. Daniel also served as a discussant for a panel looking at Urdu print culture at a symposium entitled Printing Religion in South Asia. Finally, Daniel Morgan’s article, “Letter writing as the mingling of souls: Remote knowledge exchange among eighteenth-century Naqshbandis” was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Kevin Chaves

Kevin Chaves presented a paper at the Society for Ricoeur Studies conference in Toronto over the weekend. The paper was titled “Cyberspace and the Hermeneutics of Utopia: Narrative Practices between the Myth of Science and Science Fiction.”

Eugene Schlesinger

Over the summer, Gene Schlesinger completed an initial draft of his next book, a study of the theme of salvation in the thought of the French Jesuit, Henri de Lubac — whom he learned, along the way, received an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara in 1969, furiously looking at revising it, and hoping to have it submitted for peer review by the end of the year. The book was positively reviewed by Thomas Rausch in the December 2023 issue of Theological Studies. Rausch described it as a "fine...careful study of de Lubac’s writing....important for [its] contribution to both soteriology and ecclesiology. He was also interviewed for an article in Santa Clara Magazine, which focused on sacrifice. They discussed his research on the theme, and the way in which sacrifice has been weaponized as a tool for abuse and how it can be rehabilitated as a positive resource in personal and religious life. Properly understood a sacrifice is a gift, and gifts can never be demanded or coerced, only freely given.

In addition, Gene spent October 12–14 in Baltimore for an in-person meeting of the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. The focus was on crafting reports and resolutions for our General Convention, which will meet in summer 2024. This includes a proposal of full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, a proposal for a limited sharing of ministries with the Presbyterian Church (USA), steps towards a full communion agreement with the United Methodist Church, and educational materials on best practices for Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian relations. In addition, as part of his editorial responsibilities for The Living Church (one of the longest running Episcopal Church periodicals), specifically for its online journal, Covenant, Gene led a retreat/seminar for its regular contributors. The shared text and the focus of discussion was Henri de Lubac's Scripture in the Tradition, a text that's near and dear to Gene’s heart, having recently published a monograph on him, and regarding his theology of spiritual exegesis of Scripture as the best entry-point into his thought. The group consisted of folks ranging from academics to bishops to parish priests and lay people.

David DeCosse

The Ethics Center congratulates David DeCosse, Director of Religious and Catholic Ethics, who was a member of two teams of National Catholic Reporter writers that recently won awards from the Catholic Press Association. DeCosse is a regular contributor to the National Catholic Reporter, author of several books about conscience and Catholicism, freedom, country and Catholicism, and he produces regular articles and commentary for the Ethics Center.

Chris Tirres

Chris Tirres delivered the distinguished 2022 John Dewey Memorial Lecture, which was recently published in Education and Culture. The lecture pays tribute to the healing power of borderlands spirituality. A visually-rich video of this lecture is offered through the John Dewey Society website. In addition, Chris attended the American Academy of Religion conference in San Antonio, Texas, where he offered a critical commentary on two books that extend the influential tradition of liberation theology in the Americas: Alejandro Nava’s Street Scriptures: In Between God and Hip-Hop and Raúl Zegarra’s A Revolutionary Faith: Liberation Theology between Public Religion and Public Reason.

image of Haruka

Haruka Umetsu Cho

Congratulations to Haruka Umetsu Cho! She recently visited the RS Office with her new baby, Jeremiah.

Frederick J. Parrella

Frederick J. Parrella (Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies) has published a new book, The Idea of the Church: Historical and Theological Perspectives, with Mercer University Press. The book presents an historical sketch of how the Church defined itself in its two millennia. These self-definitions—in Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, the medieval and modern papacy, and the 20th century—are as diverse as its history. Popes Innocent III, Pius IX, and Francis are microcosms of different ecclesiologies. Likewise, the Protestant Church’s self-understanding in the writings of Calvin and Zwingli varies significantly from that of Barth and Tillich. The Catholic Church’s ecclesiology at the Council of Trent—the “perfect society”—and at the Second Vatican Council—“people of God”—are dissimilar in both style and substance. In the twentieth century, the “century of the Church,” ecclesiology became, in the words of Henri de Lubac, the “meeting place of all mysteries.” This book will give the theology of the church an historical context, and prepare the Christian community for future self-reflection.

Christina Atienza, O.P.

Christina Atienza, O.P. has been appointed by the Board of the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies to serve as the book review editor for the peer-reviewed journal Buddhist-Christian Studies, published annually by the University of Hawai'i Press. The journal presents articles on comparative theology and historical comparisons between Buddhism and Christianity, conference reports, and book reviews.

Bryson White

On November 29th, Bryson White’s article, “HIStory against the World: Religion, Black Iconicity, and the Haunting Stretcher Photos of Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur,” co-authored with James Hill in the journal Religions was published. The article examines how Michael Jackson’s 1984 stretcher photo and Tupac Shakur’s 1994 stretcher photo scramble the disciplinary boundaries surrounding the academic study of religion. Drawing inspiration from Manning Marable’s concept of Blackwater, this study explores the complexities of black iconicity’s relationship to black suffering in the modern world.


Rachel shares her learning experiences while interning at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara.