Religion & Culture Forum

A Scholars' Roundtable on Religion and Healthcare | September Issue


The September issue of the Forum explores the place of religion and the academic study of religion vis-à-vis the healthcare debate. In light of Congress’s ongoing effort to reform the US healthcare system, we have invited a handful of scholars of religion to discuss the role of religion in the broader national conversation about health and healthcare as well as the potential contribution(s) of scholars of religion to this national dialogue. Over the next few weeks, we will publish essays by scholars from different subfields in the study of religion on various aspects of the debate surrounding healthcare. At the end of the month, Ray Barfield (Duke University) will conclude our roundtable with a final response to the contributors. We invite you to join the conversation by sharing your thoughts and questions in the comments section.

Posted essays:

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Mark Lambert is a PhD student in Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His scholarship focuses on the theological complexity of medieval attitudes about leprosy, specifically, how Franciscan theologians conceived of leprosy in eucharistic terms. By linking this approach to the eucharistic theology of Father Damien of Molokai, he hopes to address the ongoing stigmatization of illness, whether Hansen’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or mental illness.



Courtney Wilder (PhD ’08) is Assistant Professor of Religion at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. She teaches in the areas of Christianity, philosophy, and Bible. Her interests include the work of mid-twentieth-century Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, contemporary interpretations of the Bible, and theologies of the body, including feminist, womanist, liberation, and disability theologies. Her book Disability, Faith, and the Church: Inclusion and Accommodation in Contemporary Congregations was published by Praeger in 2016.




Philippa Koch (PhD ‘16) is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, where she teaches courses on religion in America, health and the body in American religions, and sexuality and religion. She is currently revising her book, “Persistent Providence: Healing the Body and Soul in Early America,” for publication, and her work has previously appeared in Church HistoryNotchesThe Atlantic, and Sightings. Her article, “Experience and the Soul in Eighteenth-Century Medicine,” Church History (2016) received the Sidney E. Mead Prize from the American Society of Church History. Her research has been supported by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Martin Marty Center, and the Francke Foundations in Halle, among others.



About the Forum

The Martin Marty Center's Religion & Culture Forum is an online forum for thought-provoking discussion on the relationship of scholarship in religion to culture and public life. Each month the Marty Center, the research arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School, invites a scholar of religion to comment on his or her own research in a way that "opens out" to themes, problems, and events in world cultures and contemporary life. Scholars from diverse fields of study are invited to offer responses to these commentaries.

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The Religion & Culture Forum is edited by Joel A. Brown, Divinity School PhD student in Religions in America. Emily D. Crews, Divinity School PhD candidate in the History of Religions, was the previous editor.