This year’s Religion Department Annual Lecture will feature our new senior colleague in Religions of the African Diaspora, Professor Margarita Guillory.
New Faculty Spotlight
Margarita Simon Guillory
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
What is your educational background?
Rice University: Ph.D. Religious Studies (2011); University of Saint Thomas: Master of Theological Studies (2005); Texas Southern University: Teacher Certification in Physical Sciences (2001); Emory University: B.A. in Chemistry with a minor in African-American Studies (1995)
What will you be working on this academic year?
I’m currently working on my second book, Africana Religion in the Digital Age, which considers how African Americans utilize digital interactive media, such as the internet, social media, mobile applications, and gaming, to forge new ways to express their religious identities. Also, I’m teaching a new course at the University called “Religion and Hip Hop.” This course offers students the opportunity to examine the variety of ways religion finds expression in the dynamic cultural medium of hip-hop.
What drew you to your field of study?
I’m a second-career academician. After graduating with a degree in chemistry, I taught high school science for almost a decade. However, during my early 30s, I made a decision to pursue an advanced degree in religion. Why? Simply this, I have always been fascinated with how religion functions in the everyday lives of individuals, particularly those living in impoverished communities like that of my childhood neighborhood in Alabama.
What excites you the most about working at CAS? What has been most rewarding?
My appointment began in September. During this brief time, I have had the great fortune of teaching intellectually bright students with diverse backgrounds. Their varying experiences have enriched class discussions about religion in exciting ways.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Traveling with my family, writing poetry, and collecting Black Americana art.
April Hughes has been chosen for an East Asia Career Development Professorship at Boston University.
This is a prestigious award that includes research funds for three years. The professorships are funded by a generous alumnus of Boston University.
Totaling over 250 million people spread out across more than 91,200 square miles, greater Bengal is a region of the world rich in history, culture, and literature. With 189 million speakers, Bengali is the seventh most spoken language in the world, yet it is only taught at a few universities in North America and Europe. This one-day roundtable brings together scholars in the humanities and social sciences to discuss the state of Bengal Studies today. Some have argued that Bengal has historically received more academic attention than other regions of South Asia, while others argue that it is most often overlooked. What are the facts and why has this subfield of South Asian Studies achieved the ambiguous status that it now holds? The greater New England area is fortunate to be the home of a significant cluster of scholars who conduct research in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. Thirteen of these scholars will participate to discuss critically where we stand today and what might be done to elevate the profile of Bengal Studies in the future, not only locally, but nationally and internationally as well.
Sugata Bose, Harvard University
Brian Hatcher, Tufts University
Elora Chowdhury, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Nusrat Chowdhury, Amherst College
Lina Fruzzetti, Brown University
Ayesha Irani, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Nazli Kibria, Boston University
Frank J. Korom, Boston University
Sarah Lamb, Brandeis University
Golam Mathbor. Monmouth University
Dwaipayan Sen, Amherst College
Nafisa Tanjeem, Lesley University
Sufia Uddin, Connecticut College
Generously funded by the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia, and the Office of the Associate Dean for the Social Sciences at Boston University.
With funding from the Crafoord Foundation and SASNET, Frank Korom and his colleague Jan Magnusson at Lund University have organized an international conference to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who work within South Asia. The goal was to bring together one scholar who works in each country of the region to compare notes on how religion and nationalism work hand in hand in these post-colonial societies. The proceedings will eventually published in a first of its kind volume employing the “new comparativism” currently emerging within anthropology and other fields. For more information, see the attached PDF.
Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture emeritus in the Department of Religion is being honored with an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities by Hebrew University. The honorary degree is presented to those who have delivered remarkable service to Hebrew University, exhibited scholarly or creative achievement, or whose efforts have made a noteworthy impact on humanity or the State of Israel. Congratulations Paula!
Professor Stephen Prothero, author of many books on religion and American culture and teacher of such popular courses as “Death and Immortality” has been awarded the C. Allyn Russell and Elizabeth V. Russell Professorship for Religion in America.
C. Allyn Russell began his 26-year career at Boston University in 1961, focusing on the history of religion in America. In 1982 he received the Metcalf Cup. Prothero, who just won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanites in their Public Scholars program (and appeared on both the Daily Show and the Colbert Report in their time), has been one of the major contributors to the national discussion about American religion.
Frank Korom discussed “Folklore and how it evolves” with host Aimon Fatima on Folk Beats in Islamabad.