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Frank Korom engages in dialogue with Bradley Jay about folk religion and other matters on WBZ’s Jay Talking.

December 14th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

Tune in here:

Black Gods of the Asphalt author Onaje Woodbine finalist for the PEN/ESPN Award

December 6th, 2016 in Uncategorized.


Onaje X Woodbine has been named to the longlist ( for the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing for a book he wrote based on his PhD Dissertation in the GDRS. Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball, which was published by Columbia University Press in May 2016 is the only book on the longlist not published by a trade press. Onaje, who is now on the Philosophy & Religious Studies faculty at Phillips Academy Andover, also adapted the book for a stage play, which was produced at Andover in May and at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in June.

The book has been covered in the New York Times

and the Boston Globe

and on ESPN

and NPR’s “All Things Considered”

Other books on the longlist include Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X and the New York Times bestseller American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise. The winner of the award, which honors books that are “of a biographical, investigative, historical, or analytical nature and of the strongest literary character,” will be announced in February.

Anthony Petro & Heather White in The Daily Free Press

December 6th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

BU community discusses sexuality in religion, politics

Heather White and Anthony Petro discuss the ties between religion and sex in the United States during a conversation Monday evening in the College of Arts and Sciences. PHOTO BY JESS RICHARDSON/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Heather White and Anthony Petro discuss the ties between religion and sex in the United States during a conversation Monday evening in the College of Arts and Sciences. PHOTO BY JESS RICHARDSON/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

More than 50 students gathered in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences Monday afternoon for a conversation about the history of religion, sexuality and LGBT rights in America.

The talk, “Reforming Sex: Religion and Politics in Modern America,” was organized by BU professor Stephen Prothero, who teaches a class on religion and politics at BU. He opened the discussion with a disclaimer. read more….

Anthony Petro & Heather White: “Reforming Sex: Religion and Politics in Modern America”

November 29th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

Monday, December 5th,  5:30PM


Kecia Ali to speak at BU Saudi Cultural Club event Dec. 3rd

November 29th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

“Male Authority in Islamic Jurisprudence: Qiwama and Wilaya”

bu-saudi-cultural-clubWhat are قوامة and ولاية in Islam? and how are they applied in today’s world?

Professor Kecia Ali will give an overview of these two premodern Islamic legal concepts that were fundamental to the development of Muslim rules governing marriage and the mutual rights of spouses.
She will also discuss the ways contemporary Muslim women scholars and activists have sought to reinterpret and challenge the understanding and application of these concepts in vastly changed contexts.

Professor Ali is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University and the author of Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam (Harvard 2010) and Sexual Ethics and Islam (2nd edition, Oneworld 2016).

Seats are limited. Please RSVP!

So much for American exceptionalism: Stephen Prothero

November 18th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

The U.S. is now part of a global pandemic that threatens religious pluralism and minority rights.

I went to a conference in Venice last month on the rise of strongmen, alt-right populists, and ethnic and religious nationalists in India, Turkey, Western Europe and the United States.  An economist from Rome worried about the ways in which skyrocketing economic inequality was fueling these trends. A sociologist from Paris observed how rising Islamophobia was driving young women in France to take up arms with the Islamic State terrorist group. A former Italian ambassador fretted about the growing influence worldwide of “peddlers of reactionary utopias.” more….

Stephen Prothero & Kecia Ali in BU Today

November 10th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

President Trump: What Will He Do?
BU experts weigh in on portents of 2016 election

Donald Trump claimed victory Tuesday in the presidential election; BU experts offer their views on what his presidency might mean. Photo by Getty Images

Donald Trump claimed victory Tuesday in the presidential election; BU experts offer their views on what his presidency might mean. Photo by Getty Images


Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences

The election revealed on one level what we already knew—that the country is deeply divided over the culture wars question that has bedeviled us since the beginning of the republic: Who is and who is not a true American? Many white voters turned their back on a Democratic Party that for two decades has turned its back on the working class, staking claim to their Americanness by voting for a candidate who would exile Muslims, Mexicans, and African Americans from the American family. Read more…

Muslim Americans

Kecia Ali, Associate Professor of Religion, CAS; past president, Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics

Trump’s victory bodes extremely ill for American Muslims, not only for what damage he may do while in office, but also for what it says about the majority of white Americans. The conjoining of racism, sexism, and Islamophobia in his campaign rhetoric was unprecedented. By loudly and proudly espousing sentiments, policies, and acts that had previously been off-limits in polite political circles, he opens the way for government officials and private citizens to do the same, with increasing impunity. Read more…

“Muslim Thought and Practice in South Asia: New Practices and Directions”

October 19th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

We are pleased to announce a very exciting upcoming conference here at Boston University to be held on October 27th and 28th:

Flyer copy[3]

Thursday, October 27th (5:15pm): Keynote Address by Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University, on “Islam in Modern South Asia: Continuity and Change since the Early 20th Century India”

Location: 121 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02215

Friday, October 28th (10:00 – 5:00pm): Panel Discussions

Tolerance and Pluralism
Translation and Historiography
Ethics and Materiality
Location: 147 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02115, Room 202

A full schedule of events is attached.

Campus map and directions:

This event is supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities, Muslim Studies, CURA, and AIPS, and is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to by Monday, October 24th.

BUCSA Director’s Seminar and EAAF Talk Event: Prof. April D. Hughes

October 18th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

Maitreya’s Terrestrial Paradise: Medieval Mural Paintings at Dunhuang

Thursday Oct. 20, 2016 12:15-1:30 pm 

at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, 121 Bay State Road
HUGHES, April EAAF poster for 10.20.16[2]

The Department of Religion mourns the loss of Elie Wiesel.

July 18th, 2016 in Uncategorized.


Yesterday, on the second day of the month of Sivan in the year 5776 (July 2, 2016), on a Sabbath, Elie Wiesel passed away in his Manhattan home. He was 87 years old. He is survived by his wife Marion, his son Elisha, a step-daughter, and two grandchildren. As colleagues and students of Elie Wiesel who taught at Boston University from 1976 until 2013, we are deeply saddened by his passing. We are also humbled by these many years of his regular presence on campus, his teaching and his friendship. This is a great loss for Boston University and the greater Boston area, where many felt they had a special connection to the author, speaker, and “witness to humanity” that he was.

The fact of his passing was transported around the world almost instantaneously, and one can read about his life and work in the many obituaries that have begun to appear. The world remembers him as a Holocaust survivor who felt compelled to bear witness and did so in exemplary ways. As Joseph Berger writes in the New York Times, Elie Wiesel filled a void; his memoire Night, appeared at a time when trauma and survivor’s guilt plagued the victims and denial silenced the perpetrators. As Michael Berenbaum notes in the Forward, Elie’s literary voice helped to transform victims into witnesses and allowed the children of perpretrators to confront the past.

With international recognition came visibility and greater responsibility. As a Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel spoke out for Soviet Jewry and used his visibility to draw public attention to atrocities and human rights violations on every continent.

Elie Wiesel joined BU in 1976 where he served as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Religion. He retired from this position in 2013, a year after after the death of BU president John Silber, who had brought him to BU. Elie gave his last public annual lectures in the fall of 2012, shortly after Silber’s death. During his time at BU, Elie Wiesel taught every fall, two courses on Literature and Memory. Only once in thirty five years of teaching did he teach a course on the Holocaust and he disliked it so much, he never tried again. Elie’s long-time assistant Martha Hauptman was the one who fielded student applications and vetted the teaching assistants. Taking a course with Elie Wiesel was the highlight of many students’ experience at Boston University. Students described their experience in his classroom in essays that were published in 2014 by the Elie Wiesel Center under the title Take a Teacher, Make a Friend: Students Write for Elie Wiesel. The contributors to this volume include a German Catholic theologian, a computer engineer and his daughter, a rabbi and a classics professor, a poet and a cantor, a professor of medicine and a speech pathologist, a professor of Italian literature and another rabbi, a theater director and a medievalist, a professor of constitutional law and a singer, a physicist/science editor and a thanatologist, a self-declared groupie and a scholar of Hasidism, two doctoral students (one from China) and another historian. This range speaks for itself.

At Boston University, Professor Wiesel held faculty positions in Religion and Philosophy and he lectured to the CAS Core Curriculum. But it is the title of Professor in the Humanities that indicates what his teaching was about. When the late John Silber brought Elie Wiesel to BU, he brought not just a prolific author but an eminently humane voice to Boston, to teach us and the wider community something about the humanities that required the special qualifications that he saw in Elie Wiesel.

Part of this legacy at BU is the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. The fact that it exists is a testament to the friendship between Elie Wiesel and John Silber, who had been Boston University’s president for only five years when he persuaded Elie to join. Their friendship not only brought Wiesel to Boston, but kept him here for all these years, and it finally persuaded him to link his name indelibly with the University. Our task now is to live up to Elie’s legacy and follow his example of an existential commitment of the teacher to bearing witness, to bring to life the joy of Jewish text and tradition, and to make sure we remember the Holocaust, to speak for victims everywhere and don’t allow ourselves to be silenced. We are proud and humbled to have known Elie Wiesel as a colleague and friend. May his memory be for a blessing!

Michael Zank
Director, The Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies