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Lectures & Campus Events

A Clash of Islams: Sufism and Salafism in the Caucasus 

Invited Lecture by Dr. Alexander Knysh (University of Michigan) 

1 February 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm 

Vanderbilt University - Center for Second Language Studies Room 003 (Furman Hall) 

Dr. Knysh's talk will explore the vicissitudes of Sufism's recent history in the Muslim republics of Russia's Northern Caucasus, and shows how Sufism's status as a "mainstay of the international social order" (per Marshall Hodgson) has come under critical scrutiny as well as verbal and physical attacks from a variety of quarters. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-Sufi discourses have been motivated by its former and recent social, political, and cultural prominence in Muslim societies. The most potent challenge to Sufism's doctrinal and devotional dominance has come from various Salafi ("fundamentalist") movements. Does this "clash of Islams" represent a re-enactment, in Muslim communities worldwide, of the Protestant Reformation?

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Classical and Mediterranean Studies, the Department of History, the Program in Jewish Studies, the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies, the Department of German, Russian & East European Studies, and the Center for Second Language Studies.

The talk is free and open to the public.


Theology, Class, and Intersectionality

Vanderbilt Divinity School

27 January 2018 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Divinity School G23

Join us for a special session of the Theology, Economic, and Labor course taught by Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger and Dr. Joerg Rieger. Panel participants will include Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas (E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair in Ethics and Society, Associate Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University), Dr. Jeremy Posadas (Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Austin College), and Dr. Santiago Slabodsky (Florence and Robert Kaufman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Associate Professor of Religion, Hofstra University).

The discussion is free and open to the public.

To RSVP please email Dr. Rieger at j.rieger@vanderbilt.edu


2018 Spring Signature Workshop Schedule

Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Vanderbilt University, Kissam Center C210 Multi-Purpose Room

Inclusive Excellence 101: Unconscious Bias - A New Look at an Old Dynamic! 

- 24 January 2018 - 3:00pm

- 4 April 2018 - 11:00am

- 16 May 2018 - 11:00am

Inclusive Excellence 201: Everyday Bias

- 21 February 2018 - 11:00am

Inclusive Excellence 401: Mindful Communication across Diverse Groups

- 14 March 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

To register, visit www.vanderbilt.edu/equity-diversity-inclusion.


Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan

Asian Studies Program

23 January 2018 - 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Vanderbilt University, Kissam Center C216

Please join us as a delegation of the "Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan," headed by Former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Fujisaki, visit Middle Tennessee to share their stories of Japan today through grassroots exchange. Delegation members will take part in exchanges with local communities, discuss important factors of the future of the U.S.-Japan relationship, and talk about recent positive development in Japan. Since the program's launch in 2014, 19 delegations have visited 34 states and 66 cities throughout the U.S.

For further details, please visit the official website or Facebook

Delegation members include: Ichiro FUJISAKI (Delegation Leader), Liu XIAOYAN, Hayato SAWA, and Asako KATO.

For information on the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville, please email info@nv.mofa.go.jp or call 615-340-4300.

This is a free, public event.


A VHS State of the Field Discussion with Gregory T. Cushman (University of Kansas)

Vanderbilt History Seminar 2017-2018: WATER

22 January 2018 - 3:10pm

Vanderbilt University, Sarratt 216/220

Join VHS for a discussion of Cushman's book, Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History. A short paper accompanies the talk and is available in Benson 227. Vanderbilt University's Paul Kramer will serve as commentator. The 2017-2018 VHS Series directors are Jefferson Cowie and Ruth Rogaski.


Archaeological Perspectives on the 19th Century "Illegal" Slave Trade Along the Rio Pongo, Guinea

Presented by the 'Africa at a Crossroads' Trans-Institutional Program 

6 December 2017 - 3:10pm to 5:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center Auditorium

Talk to be given by Kenneth Kelly, Professor (Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina). Reception to follow. 

Co-sponsored by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.


Cultures in Clay: The Shaping of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations

Divinity Library Opening Reception

6 December 2017 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Divinity Library 

The exhibit is curated by Dr. Annalisa Azzoni, Dr. Doug Knight, Serena Jarvis, Jonathan Redding, Michael Sekuras and Charlotte Lew.


Asian Hydro-Histories in the Longue Durée

Vanderbilt History Seminar 2017-2018: Water

4 December 2017 - 3:10pm

Vanderbilt University, Sarratt 216/220

Talks to be given by Benjamin Cohen (Historian of South Asia, University of Utah) and Ruth Mostern (Historian of China, University of Pittsburgh).  Commentators will be Professors Ruth Rogaski and Samira Sheikh of the Vanderbilt University Department of History.

Discussion will be based on pre-ciculated papers available in the Department of History, Benson 227.  The Vanderbilt History Seminar 2017-2018 Directors are Jefferson Cowie and Ruth Rogaski.


"A Principle of Incompleteness" with Fred Moten & Stefano Harney, authors of The Undercommons 

Lecture: 29 November 2017 - 4:30pm, Wilson 103

Open Seminar: 28 November 2017 - 4:00pm, Buttrick 123 

Vanderbilt University

Pre-circulated readings available in the Benson 4th Floor lounge, or by email at aprincipleofcompleteness@gmail.com

Made possible with generous support from the department of English and Adrican American and Diaspora Studies; the Office of Inclusive Excellence; the Owen School of Management; Jefferson Cowie, James G. Stahlman Professor of History; Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities; Vera Kutzinski, Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of English; Hortense Spillers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor; and Cecelia Tichi, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English. 


Student Research Workshop

13 November 2015 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Commons Center Room 349

Sponsored by the "Africa At A Crossroads" Trans-Institutional Program


The Evolution of the Legal Subject in Classical Hindu Law

Vanderbilt Legal History Colloquium 2018/2018

13 November 2017 - 12:15pm to 1:45pm (Lunch served at noon)

Vanderbilt University, Buttrick 123

Talk to be given by Donald Davis of the University of Texas at Austin. 

Discussion will be based on a pre-circulated paper. To reserve lunch and request a copy of the paper, contact Christen Harper at c.harper@vanderbilt.edu.

The Vanderbilt Legal History Colloquium series is sponsored by the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science and directed by Professor Sarah Igo.


Nostalgia for the Future: A Documentary Film on Indian Modernity, the Making of the Citizen, and the Architecture of the Home (2017 - 54 Minutes)

9 November 2017 - 4:10pm

Vanderbilt University, Cohen Memorial Hall 203

The screening will be followed by a panel session with directors Avijit Mukul Kishore and Rohan Shivkumar, with responses by Professor Heeryoon Shin (History of Art) and Professor Akshya Sazena (English).

Sponsored by History of Art, Cinema and Media Arts, Asian Studies, Political Science, and History.


Circles of Jewish Life: Changing Family Formation and Jewish Connectedness among America's Younger Jews

Jewish Studies Lecture Series

9 November 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Vanderbilt University, Buttrick 123

Talk to be given by Sylvia Barack Fishman, Brandeis University. Lunch provided. 

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Religious Studies.


On Writing: Imagining the Very Small and the Long Ago

Presented by The Writing Studio

9 November 2017 - 4:15pm

Vanderbilt University, Alumni Hall Lounge Room 100

What is the role of the imagination in academic writing? Whether researching nanoparticles, Chinese military history, or Japanese Buddhist practices, scholars use creative thinking in their work. Join us for a conversation with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Janet MacDonald, Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies Peter Lorge, and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Bryan Lowe as they discuss their creative processes in relations to their recent writing projects.

On Writing is free and open to the public.


Music, Migration and the New African Diasporas

The "Africa at a Crossroads" Trans-Institutional Program

8 November 2017 - 3:10pm-5:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center Auditorium

Talk to be given by Patricia Tang, Associate Professor of Music in the Department of Music and Theater at MIT. 

Reception to follow.

Cosponsored by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.


Never in this World a Victim Like Me: What Disabled Veterans Can Teach Us About the History (and Future) of American War

MHS Hot Topic Lecture Series

7 November 2017 - 1:00pm-2:30pm

Vanderbilt University, Sarratt 216/220

Talk to be given by John M. Kinder, Associate Professor of American Studies within the Department of History at Oklahoma State University.

Co-sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. 


The Complex Sex: Intersexuality in Pre-Modern Islamic Legal Texts

Vanderbilt Legal History Colloquium 2017/2018

6 November 2017 - 12:15pm to 1:45pm (Lunch served at noon)

Vanderbilt University, Buttrick 123

Talk to be given by Indira Gesink, Baldwin Wallace University. Discussion will be based on a pre-circulated paper. To reserve lunch and request a copy of the paper, contact Christen Harper at c.harper@vanderbilt.edu.

The Series is sponsored by the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science and is directed by Professor Sarah Igo.


The Restless Resource: Medieval Europeans and Water

Vanderbilt History Seminar 2017-2018: Water

6 November 2017 - 3:10pm 

Vanderbilt University, Sarratt 216/220

Talk to be given by Paolo Squatriti, University of Michigan, with comments by William Caferro of Vanderbilt University. Discussion will be based on pre-circulated papers available in the Department of History, Benson 227. 

VHS Directors: Jefferson Cowie & Ruth Rogaski

Click here for further information. 


Teaching from and for the Margins in These Troubled Times: A Conference on Radial Love Politics and Critical Pedagogy 

3rd Biennial Conference of the Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (SRER)

27-29 October 2017 

Vanderbilt University, Divinity School

Conference Plenary Speakers: Emilie M. Townes, Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Laura S. Levitt, David Kyuman Kim

Click here for further information.


Of Marginal Identities and Heterotopic Saints: Lived Religion in the Borderlands

2017 Cole Lecture Series

26 October 2017 - 7:00pm

27 October 2017 - 10:00am 

Vanderbilt University, Benton Chapel

To be delivered by Daisy L. Machado, Professor of American Religious History at the Union Theological Seminary.

Sponsored by the Divinity School.


Against Continental Disunity: Writers on a Constitution for Europe

26 October 2017 - 5:10pm

Vanderbilt University, Buttrick 123

A talk given by Paul Michael Lützeler, Rosa May distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Max Kade Center at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Additional Workshop offered by Dr. Lützeler - Transforming Humanities: A Conversation the Future of German Studies (27 October 2017 - 11:30am, Furman 123).


Contested Origins: Brazilian Pentecostalism Among Nikkei "Return" Migrants in Japan

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

26 October 2016 - 12:00pm 

Vanderbilt University, Robert Penn Warren Center Seminar Room

A talk by Dr. Suma Ikeuchi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. 

The event is presented by the Brazilian Reading Group. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in the Congo

23 October 2017 - 3:10pm to 5:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center Auditorium

A talk given by Yolanda Covington-Ward (University of Pittsburgh), with reception to follow.

Sponsored y the "Africa at a Crossroads" Trans-Institutional Program. Co-sponsored by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.


Don Quixote in a Day

21 October 2017 - 9:30am to 4:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Wilson 126

Vanderbilt Speakers: Edward Friedman (Spanish and Portuguese/Comparative Literature) and Kristen Mendoza (English). Guest Speaker: Cory Duclos (Colgate University).

Prior reading of Don Quixote is not required. Lunch will be provided to those who register by email to rpw.center@vanderbilt.edu by October 18.

Sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.


ReLACS 2017

Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies & the Divinity School

19-20 October 2017

Keynote Address: 19 October, 4:10pm in 203 Cohen Memorial Hall, Vanderbilt University

By Stephen J. Davis, Professor of Religious Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University: "The Archaeology of Early Christian Monasticism: Evidentiary Problems and Criteria."

Participation is open to all scholars and students interested in Late Antiquity broadly defined. Those planning to attend should use the following link register: https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/news/relacs2017.php. The full event schedule, including the Professional Seminar, "Introduction to the Cairo Geniza," and the Works in Progress Workshop can be found at the link as well.  Please contact David Michelson with any questions. There is no cost to attend and lunch will be provided for all those who register. The event is additionally co-sponsired by the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Religious Studies, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Department of History, the Department of History of Art, and the Program in Jewish Studies.


Crying like a Protestant: Dublin Jail, 1640

19 October 2017

Vanderbilt University - Sarratt 2126/220

Talk to be given by Peter Lake (Department of History, Vanderbilt University). Discussion will be based on pre-circulated papers available in the Department of History, Benson 227.


Meanings and Implications of the Holocaust

Relevant Religion 2017: A Wednesday Evening lecture Series on West End with Jay Geller, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Culture, Vanderbilt University

18 October 2017 - Sherith Israel

25 October 2017 - Blakemore UMC

1 November 2017 - West End Church of Christ

8 November 2017 - Sherith Israel

All events start with dinner at 5:30pm. $10 for the entire series (dinners included).


New York Times Best-selling Author Nathan Englander

"Dinner at the Center of the Earth: A Reading and Discussion"

5 October 2017 - 11:30am to 2:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Buttrick 123

Co-sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies, the Program in Creative Writing, and the Department of History.


Beyond the Horizon: 21st Century Global Security and Risk

Chancellor's Lecture Series 2017-2018

3 October 2017

Reception - 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Ingram Hall Lobby (Blair School of Music)

Lecture - 6:30pm to 7:30, Ingram Hall (Blair School of Music)

Tickets are required for the lecture. They are free and available on a first-come basis. There is a limit of 4 tickets per person, and they must be picked up at the Sarratt Student Center Box Office.  For hours of operation, please call (615) 343-3361.


The Foreign Language Edge: Vanderbilt and Beyond

3 October 2017

Information Fair 11:00am to 1:00pm, The Commons Center Rooms 235-237

Panel Discussion - 7:00pm to 8:00pm, Furman 114

Sponsored by the Center for Second Language Studies, the College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt Language Departments, Global Education Office, English Language Center, Career Center, McTyeire International House, the Martha Ingram Commons.


The Program in Jewish Studies

"The Travels of Rosey E. Pool Through the Deep South, 1959-60"

3 October 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Vanderbilt University, Black Cultural Center Auditorium

Lonneke Geerlings, Free University of Amsterdam

Lunch provided

Co-sponsored by African American and Diaspora Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and the Fisk University School of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.


Robert Penn Warren Center Group for Premodern Cultural Studies Seminar

"The Prophet Unmanned: The Male Prophetic Body in Ezekiel and Daniel Paul Schreber"

2 October 2017 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Warren Center Seminar Room

Rhiannon Graybill, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Program Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Rhodes College

Lunch will be served before the talk, with time for questions and discussion afterwards.


Veritas Forum

"Encountering Evil: Vanderbilt Faculty Discuss Suffering"

18 February 2015

Vanderbilt University, Langford Auditorium

Moderator: Paul Lim

Panelists: Scott Aikin, Sandra Barnes, Nancy Lin, Keith Meadow, David Weintraub

For more info information, click here.

Cancelled due to inclement weather; may be rescheduled for a later date.


Nancy L. Clark

Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture

3 February 2015

Vanderbilt University, Community Room - Jean & Alexander Heard Library

Sponsored by the Vanderbilt University Office of the Provost.

For more information, click here.


Rana Dasgupta

Seeing the World From Delhi: A Discussion on Writing from the Post-Western World

26 March 2014 - 12:10pm

Vanderbilt University, 189 Sarratt Student Center

Sponsored by the Curb Center, the Asian Studies Program, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Department of English, and the Department of Religious Studies.


Rana Dasgupta

Global Folktales: Tokyo, Bulgaria, Delhi

A literary conversation with Ben Tran, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and English

25 March 2014 - 4:00pm

Vanderbilt University, Yamada Room

Sponsored by the Curb Center for Art Enterprise and Public Policy, the Asian Studies Program, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Department of English, and the Department of Religious Studies. 


In God's Land / Kadavulin Nilathi

Film Screening and Discussion

29 October 2013

Vanderbilt University, 201 Alumni Hall

Sponsored by the Department of History, Asian Studies Program, Department of Religious Studies.


Reading Communities, Reading Scripture, Reading Responsibly: A Symposium in Honor of Daniel Patte

6 April 2013

Vanderbilt University, 129 Divinity School

For more information, please visit the symposium homepage.


Buddhism After the Tsunami

The Souls of Zen 3/11 Japan Special

Film Screening and Discussion

11 March 2013 - 4:30pm

Vanderbilt University, 203 Cohen Memorial Hall

Panelists include Helen Auer, Yoshikuni Igarashi, Bryan Lowe, and Takashi Suzuki.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Asian Studies Program, and the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies Cooperation.


Jimmy Yu, Department of Religion, Florida State University

"Buddhist Blood Writing and Agency in Early Modern China"

Colloquium on Religious History

15 January 2013 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Vanderbilt University, Tillet Faculty Lounge

Sponsored by Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

Co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies.


Julia K. Murray, University of Wisconsin

"The Cult of Confucius and the Shrine of His Robe and Cap"

Norman L. & Rosella J. Goldberg Lecture Series

8 November 2012 - 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Vanderbilt University, 203 Cohen Memorial Hall

Sponsored by the Department of the History of Art and co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Program.