Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School. Join us!
Wednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition started many decades ago. Midday on Wednesdays when the quarter is in session, our student chef and lunch crew prepare a delicious vegetarian meal and serve it while guests listen to a talk – by a University faculty member, a representative of a community organization, an author, or a guest from further afield. All are welcome (you do not have to be affiliated with the Divinity School or even the University). Cost is just $5. Sign up in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes these talks focus on various aspects of religion in public life or the academic study of religion, but topics have addressed everything from halal cooking to the germ biome to birds in ancient Egypt to language loss in Siberia to empathy in rats. Sit at any table and join the conversation: the programs provide a unique opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to engage one another.
Once a quarter we offer a Dean's Forum, which invites a faculty member to discuss one of his or her recent works, with formal response from several Divinity School colleagues.
Lunch itself is a vegetarian meal (a vegan option is available by prior request) and typically includes bread, salad, a main course, dessert, and drinks. Wednesday lunches take place from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Swift Common Room, and cost $5 at the door. Email
to reserve your space. We have a very limited number of extra spaces available for each lunch, but you are welcome to take your chances as a walk-in.
Winter Quarter, 2019
January 16: Simeon Chavel, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School, on "The Art of Finger-Pointing Between Assyrian Kings and Their Gods"
January 23: Kim Sasser and Jeffrey Turco, the 2018-2019 Martin Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion's Senior Fellows.
Kim Sasser is an Associate Professor at Wheaton College, where she has taught and published on magical realism, postcolonial literature, and global Anglophone literatures. She's working on a project called Texts and Tongues: Literature in Pentecostal Perspective, which explores literature and literary theory in relation to Pentecostalism/charismatic Christianity and its historical analogues.
Jeffrey Turco is Associate Professor of German, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature at Purdue University. His scholarship has examined questions of religious conflict, conversion, and co-existence, particularly at the intersection of the Germanic cultures of Europe and medieval Christianity. In the Marty Center he's working on a project focused on the intersection of religious, literary, and proverbial language in Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales.
January 30: TBA
February 6: Ellen Haskell, Director of Jewish Studies and the Herman & Zelda Bernard Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at UNCG.
February 13: Susan Schreiner, Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology interviewed by PhD student Mark Lambert.
February 20: Jenny Trinitapoli, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Associated Faculty in the Divinity School.
Professor Trinitapoli's training and background is in two areas: social demography and the sociology of religion. Bridging these two fields, her work features the demographer’s characteristic concern with data and denominators and an insistence on connecting demographic processes to questions of meaning. She's written extensively on the role of religion in the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but religion permeates her research, even when it isn’t present as a variable. Since 2008 she has been the principal investigator of Tsogolo la Thanzi (TLT)—an ongoing longitudinal study of young adults in Malawi.
Autumn Quarter, 2018
David Nirenberg, Dean of the Divinity School and the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor, will open the season.
Divinity School Professors Dwight Hopkins (Alexander Campbell Professor of Theology) and Willemien Otten (Professor of Theology and the History of Christianity and Director, Martin Marty Center) will discuss details of the upcoming conference: Political Theology: Promise and Prospects (Nov. 7-9). In recent years political theology has made a name for itself as an area worthy of separate attention, as current developments in the US and across the globe have made scholars more aware of the need to reflect on the intersection of religion and politics, theology and justice. This richness of the field, of which Prof. Hopkins is a trailblazer and Prof. Otten a new convert, makes it attractive for current and future scholars of religion, and opens it up to debate with religious leaders.
A Dean's Forum on The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny by Prof. Alireza Doostdar, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion. Divinity School Profs. Sarah Hammerschlag and Dan Arnold will offer responses. Read more about Prof. Doostdar's work, and his book.
Profs. Sofia Torallas-Tovar (Professor of Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) and Christopher Faraone (the Frank Curtis Springer and Gertrude Melcher Springer Professor in the Humanities, and Professor in the Department of Classics) on their Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society project, “Transmission of Magical Knowledge in Antiquity.”
An interview with Wendy Doniger conducted by Seema Chauhan.
Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College. Her research and teaching interests revolve around two basic areas, Hinduism and mythology. Her courses in mythology address themes in cross-cultural expanses, such as death, dreams, evil, horses, sex, and women; her courses in Hinduism cover a broad spectrum that, in addition to mythology, considers literature, law, gender, and zoology. Prof. Doniger has taught at UChicago almost forty years – and she has authored over forty works, including three Penguin classics. She will retire from teaching later this year.
Seema Chauhan is a PhD student in the History of Religions. Her key areas of concentration are mythology, the history of Hindu traditions, and South Asian philosophical thought. Under the supervision of Professor Doniger, Seema aims to reconstruct the intellectual history of Hindu and Jaina traditions during the early and medieval periods by attending to Sanskrit narratives that dramatize and problematize key tenets of religious thought and practice.
Sarah E. Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Ethics and the Director of Doctoral Studies, will lead a panel of students who presented their work at the recent conference of the American Academy of Religion, and also discuss the process of submitting a proposal – and how to think about it.