Upcoming Events

For more events information:


Persons with a disability who need an accomodation to attend a Divinity School event, please call Sandra Peppers in advance: 773-702-8219.

The Reformation Then and Now: Lectures by Ralph Keen and Susan Schreiner

February 21st, 2018 | 4:30pm | Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)

The Ethics Club presents Cornel West: “The Examined Philosophy of Cornel West” 

(Saturday) February 24th  | Rockefeller Memorial Chapel | 4:30-7pm (times tentative, please see below)

In 1993, Dr. Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University, published his groundbreaking book, Race Matters. It became a national bestseller and made him a household name. To accompany the book's 25th-anniversary re-release, West has written a new introduction reflecting on the progress of race matters and the current political and moral climate in this country. The event will focus on how we can draw upon West's work to respond productively to today's political and moral climate. 

More information: https://tinyurl.com/yb3fhc3q

In collaboration with UChicago Office of Civic Engagement, The Martin Marty Center, The Center for Race, Politics, and Culture.

Senior Fellows Symposium
February 27, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room (1st floor)

The Philosophy of Religions and the Early Christian Studies Workshops presents Niki Clements: On "Foucault's Christianities"
Wednesday, February 28 | 4:30pm |  Swift 208
Niki Clements  is Watt J. and Lilly G. Jackson Assistant Professor of Religion at Rice University. She works at the disciplinary intersection between the history of Christian practice, philosophy of religion, and religious ethics. She specializes in Christian asceticism and mysticism in late antiquity, highlighting its resources for thinking through contemporary ethical formation and conceptions of the self. She is currently completing the first comprehensive treatment of the ethical thought of John Cassian (c.360-c.435), a late antique Catholic architect of Latin monasticism doctrinally marginalized for his optimistic views on human agency. Engaging Michel Foucault's late work on ethics-which sees Cassian as a crucial inaugurator of modern disciplinary subjectivity-she critiques the conceptual limitations that Foucault's philosophical categories impose on his reading of Cassian, late antique Christianity, and the study of religion. She also pursues a transdisciplinary approach with cognitive neuroscience to argue that ethical formation integrates consciousness, embodiment, and affectivity. She is the volume editor for Mental Religion: The Brain, Cognition, and Culture, as part of the forthcoming Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks.

Public lecture by Nicolas Meylan: "Mad Love: Myth, Kingship, and the Dissolution of the State"

Monday March 5, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

 Nicolas Meylan, Senior Lecturer in History and Anthropology of Religions at the University of Geneva and Senior Lecturer at the University of Lausanne will give a public lecture entitled "Mad Love: Myth, Kingship, and the Dissolution of the State"

Nicolas Meylan received his PhD from the University of Chicago. His research involves the political uses of religious categories both in medieval Scandinavian literature and in the productions of scholars of religion. He has created and taught a range of courses on medieval Scandinavia, on the history of the study of religion, and on the methodology of comparison and has been actively involved in the administration and development of the history of religions curriculum at the University of Lausanne.  His first book, Magic and Kingship in Medieval Iceland (2014) addresses the issue of the use of religious discourses for political purposes. A second book is on mana, an Oceanic word borrowed into the early study of religion where it became a general category denoting supernatural power (Mana: A History of a Western Category, 2017). Current book projects involve medieval Iceland.

The 2018 Brauer Seminar: Roundtable on Religion, Gender and Sexuality
March 7, 2018 | Swift Lecture Hall, 3rd floor 

Public lecture by  Jalane Schmidt: "Our Lady of the Slaves: Marian Devotion in Cuba, Race, and Revolution"

March 13, 2018 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room 

A public lecture on the representation and veneration of the Virgin Mary in Cuba.

The 2018 Alumnus of the Year Lecture by Mark G. Toulouse 
Thursday April 18, 2018 | 4:30pm | Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)

Grappling with the "Global Ethic": Religious Perspectives on Global Issues

A two-part conference—one academic, the other practical—tackling global social issues using the resources of numerous religious traditions and of the Global Ethic (the signature document of the Parliament of the World's Religions).

Conference: Global Christianities
Wednesday April 25, 2018 | Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)

PAST EVENTS, Winter 2018

Wednesday Lunches for the Winter Quarter begin on January 10th with Brian Inman and Shaz Razul of The Office of Civic Engagement. 

Religion and Religious Expression in the Academy and Public Life

January 17th, 2018 | 4:30pm | International House (1414 E 59th St)

A panel discussion with Ross Douthat of The New York Times; William Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic studies and director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University; Geoff Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School; William Schweiker, the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics at The Divinity School; and Laurie Zoloth, Dean and Margaret E. Burton Professor at the Divinity School 

Moderated by Williemien Otten, Professor of Theology and of the History of Christianity, and Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion

Wednesday Lunch:  “PATHS for PhDs: Defying the ‘Jobs Crisis’ in the Humanities” with Courtney Wiersema, PhD, UChicagoGRAD
January 17, 2018 | 12noon | Swift Common Room 

Public Lecture by Christopher Allison, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Humanities Core, University of Chicago: "Protestant Relics: Capturing the Sacred Body in Early America.”

Monday January 22, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

Christopher Allison works at the intersection of early American history, material culture, and religious studies.  His current research is focused on role of relics in American Protestant communities.  His book manuscript, Protestant Relics: Capturing the Sacred Body in Early America, 1750-1877 is a study of escalating material devotion towards the bodies of vaunted Protestant people in America and beyond.  His previous work has taken up the history of credit reporting, early American black abolitionism, transatlantic intellectual exchange, gender and conversion in early American urban spaces, and the role of memory in the American reckoning with slavery.  He is also interested in innovative historical methods of analysis and teaching, from the use of GIS technology to map the past, to using objects as historical evidence in the classroom.  He has spent most of his life divided between the United States, Canada, Germany, and Albania.

Allison received his PhD in the History of American Civilization at Harvard in 2017. He has recently published on relics found at Jamestown and has a forthcoming essay on portraiture and history in the 50thth Anniversary book for the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian.  He has received fellowships from the Center for American Political Studies and the Warren Center for American History at Harvard, the American Antiquarian Society, and Yale University. He is an award-winning teacher, most recently awarded the ABLConnect Teaching Innovator Prize for active-learning lesson design. 

Wednesday Lunch:  Tabitha Isner, “Running for Congress in Alabama as a Minister and a Democrat”
January 24, 2018 | 12noon | Swift Common Room 

Public Lecture by Philippa Koch, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Missouri State University: "Persistent Providence: Healing Body and Soul in Early America"

Monday January 29, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

Koch’s main research interest is the history of religion in America, with a focus on colonial America and the Atlantic world. In her book project, Persistent Providence: Healing Body and Soul in Early America, she examines how Christian communities responded to sickness and epidemics in a context of ever-new medical and scientific developments. Her teaching on health and body brings this research to the modern world, exploring the connections between past and present and the continuing relevance of the themes of medicine, body, sexuality, and emotion in American religion.

She has received fellowships from the Francke Foundations, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School and has received prizes and awards from the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania and American Society of Church History. Her work has appeared in Church History, The AtlanticNotches, and Sightings. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School. 


Public lecture by Un Hey Kim: "Post-human Embodiment and Christian Ethics of Becoming: Focusing on Incarnational Humanism."
Tuesday January 30, 2018 | 4:30pm | Swift 208

Un Hey Kim is Associate Professor of Christianity and Culture at Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in South Korea. She is also the President of the Korean Society of Christian Ethics. Her published books and articles include "Theology of Life and Christian Culture" (Seoul, Korea: Qumran Publishing, 2006), "Public Theology" (Yeyoung Communication Press, 2009), "Migrant Mission and Theology" (Seoul, Korea, Korean Presbyterian Press, 2011) and "Christian Ethical Culture in Postmodernity" (Seoul, Korea: The Christian Literature Society of Korea, 2015). She graduated from the Presbyterian College and Theological Society (Mdiv), Drew University (STM) and Claremont Graduate University (PhD). Her major areas of study are theology, ethics, and culture.  

Public Lecture by Sonia Hazard, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College: "America's Cargo Cult: How Joseph Smith Discovered Printing Plates and Founded Mormonism." 

Thursday February 1, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

Sonia Hazard’s areas of specialization include religion and media; visual, material, and sensory culture; material texts and book history; antebellum evangelicalism; and theory and method, especially new materialism and posthumanism.

Hazard’s book manuscript, “The Touch of the Word: Evangelical Cultures of Print in Antebellum America,” is a reception history of evangelical popular print media. It reconstructs the material spaces, practices, and affects that defined the everyday encounter with proliferating religious tracts and books. Her research has been supported by several fellowships, including the Mellon Dissertation Fellowship at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Greenfield Dissertation Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, and the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Her writing appears in Religion and Society and Church History. Hazard earned her PhD in Religion from Duke University.



Religion in the Frame: six-day exploration of religious ideas, themes, and conflicts as depicted in films. Presented in collaboration with Facets Multimedia. After each screening, Gretchen Helfrich – a member of both the Facets Board and the Martin Center Advisory Board – will talk with a Divinity School faculty member to explore the religious content of each fllm, deepening the audience's engagement with the material. 

January 28 to February 2, 2018 | All screenings are at Facets, 1517 West Fullerton Avenue in Chicago at 6:30pm (note: Elmer Gantry on Sunday January 28th will screen at 6pm). No registration is required. This event is open to the public; a suggested donation of $10 can be offered at the door. 


Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 1pm-8:30pm | University Club of Chicago

Conference: Interpreting Faith, Nation, and Academy: on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Martin Marty Center (and Martin Marty's 90th birthday). 

And, the Martin Marty Center 20th Anniversary Celebration

Public Lecture by Kathryn Gin Lum, Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at Stanford University: "The Heathen World and America's Humanitarian Impulse"

Monday February 5, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

Kathryn Gin Lum is Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department, in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and History (by courtesy) at Stanford. She is also Assistant Professor by courtesy, of History and affiliated with American Studies and Asian American Studies. Her teaching and research focus on the lived ramifications of religious beliefs; she specializes in the history of religion and race in America.

Professor Gin Lum’s first book, Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2014), asks how widespread belief in hell influenced Americans’ perceptions of themselves and the rest of the world in the first century of nationhood. Her second book project, a co-edited volume (with Paul Harvey), is The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2018). She is currently working on a third book, tentatively titled The Heathen World and America’s Humanitarian Impulse, under contract with Harvard University Press.

Professor Gin Lum received her PhD in History from Yale. She is the recipient of the Annenberg Faculty Fellowship, awarded to outstanding junior faculty, and the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Humanities and Sciences, First Years of Teaching.

Public Lecture by Sarah Dees: "The Materialization of Native American Religions: Cultural Science in an Era of Assimilation"

Tuesday February 6, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

  Sarah Dees, Visiting Assisting Professor, Department of Religious Studies at Northwestern University, will give a public lecture entitled " The Materialization of Native American Religions: Cultural Science in an Era of Assimilation."

Dees is a scholar of American and Indigenous religious history and culture. She received her PhD from Indiana University in 2015. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Materialization of Native American Religions: Cultural Science in an Era of Assimilation, which is based on her dissertation “The Scientific Study of Native American Religions, 1879-1903.” This project describes the history and legacy of government-funded research on Native American religions, arguing that academic discourse on Indigenous religion has justified legal restrictions on Native American religious practices. Additional areas of interest include the commodification and appropriation of religion, popular culture, science and healing, materiality, and contemporary museum practices. 

Dr. Dees has taught courses on Indigenous religions, race and religion in America, religion in museums, and religious freedom and discrimination.

Public Lecture by David Amponsah: "Enchanted Geography: India in the West African Popular Imagination."

Thursday February 8, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

David Amponsah, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri, will give a public lecture entitled "Enchanted Geography: India in the West African Popular Imagination." Amponsah is a historian of religions in Africa and its diaspora. He received his PhD from Harvard University. His teaching and research concerns are guided by an interest in exploring the ways in which religion engages with various human institutions. His current book project examines the currency of Indigenous religion on political, social, and moral formations in colonial and postcolonial Ghana. He is particularly interested in how statecraft has been enacted, contested, and negotiated through the state’s suppression and appropriation of Indigenous religion. This project highlights the inherent paradox in how the state morally and culturally stigmatized indigenous religious beliefs and practices, in an attempt to perform certain conceptions of “modernity” and Christian morality, yet, at the same time, appropriated indigenous religious rituals and symbols. This interdisciplinary work combines religious, cultural, and legal histories with analysis of indigenous epistemologies.

Apart from African religious history, other research and teaching interests include Indigenous religions; African Diaspora (including African American) Religions; Religion and Colonialism; Christianity in the Global South; Religion and Cultures of Health and Healing; and the Anthropology of religion.

Public Lecture by Stephanie Frank: "Australian Aborigines, the French Revolution, and the Niqab Ban: Durkheim’s Ambivalence About Symbols and its Legacy For Theorizing Religion in Contemporary Politics”

Monday February 12, 2018 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room

Stephanie Frank, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago, will give a public lecture, entitled “Australian Aborigines, the French Revolution, and the Niqab Ban: Durkheim’s Ambivalence About Symbols and its Legacy For Theorizing Religion in Contemporary Politics”

Frank's work centers on the intellectual historical valence of secularization and more particularly on the problem of the persistence of theological tropes and arguments in discourse that codes itself as ‘secular.’ She received her PhD from the University of Chicago. She has published on topics from the theological antecedents of Abbé Sieyès’ political theory in the French Revolution to Carl Schmitt’s reading of Hamlet, in journals from Telos to History of European Ideas. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, including Oxford, Frankfurt, Montréal, and Antwerp. Her current project is a book considering the methodological divergences between Durkheim and Mauss as they took shape over the first years of the twentieth century as exemplifying two different critiques of religion. It is part of a broader project considering the disciplinarization of the French social sciences as the institutionalization of a secularization narrative--and the implication of the category of secularization in disciplinarity more generally. Dr Frank trained for many years as a classical pianist; she has also published short fiction.



Public lecture by Sumner B. Twiss: “On the Legacy of Christian Ethics in Comparative Religious Ethics:  Some Personal Reflections.”

Monday February 19th 2018 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room

Sumner B. Twiss is the Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion at Florida State University, where he holds a joint appointment between the Department of Religion and the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, and he is also Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Brown University, where he served on the faculty for thirty years and as department chair for twelve years. He is the co-author or co-editor of seven books (as well as a contributor to them), and the author of over sixty published articles in the areas of comparative religious ethics, biomedical ethics, philosophy of religion, global ethics, intercultural human rights, and the comparative study of just war. He is former co-editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics (2001-2011) and the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (1995-2001), as well as former senior editor of the book series Advancing Human Rights (2003-2008). He is currently completing three additional book projects: Religion and Public Policy: Human Rights, Conflict, and Ethics (co-editor, with R. Petersen and M. Simion, and contributor; forthcoming from Cambridge University Press); Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent (co-editor, with P.C. Lo, and co-author of three chapters; forthcoming from Routledge); and The Practices of Global Ethics: Historical Developments, Current Issues, and Future Prospects (co-author with F. Bird et al). His recent teaching has focused on such topics as: Confucian moral and political thought; crimes against humanity and international criminal justice; the law and ethics of torture; religion, politics, and genocide; and the history and ethics of humanitarian intervention.