News & Upcoming Events: August 30, 2016

The Department of Religion is pleased to welcome guest speaker Dr. Donovan Schaefer on September 12-14, 2016. Dr. Schaefer will give a public lecture entitled “You Don’t Know What Pain Is: Animal Religion and the Violence of Confinement,” on September 13, 2016 in Anderson 216.  The event will begin at 4:05pm and include a discussion period after the lecture up to 5:20pm.  After a reception, Dr. Schaefer will join Professor Bron Taylor’sReligion and Nature Graduate seminar focusing the rest of the evening on evolutionary theories purporting to explain religious perceptions, beliefs and practices.  Dr. Schaefer is also keen to meet with interested faculty and graduate students over lunch on Wednesday, which will be held at 12:30pm in Anderson 117.

Dr. Schaefer is the departmental lecturer in science and religion at Trinity College at the University of Oxford. He earned his B. A. in the interdisciplinary Religion, Literature, and the Arts program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where he was born. His master’s and doctoral degrees are from Syracuse University in New York. After completing his doctorate, he held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Haverford College and, while there, co-founded the Religion, Affect, and Emotion group at the American Academy of Religion with Prof. M. Gail Hamner. His book, Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power (2015) challenges the notion that religion is inextricably linked to language and belief, proposing instead that it is primarily driven by affects.

For more information on Dr. Schaefer’s please visit his website at: If you plan to attend the lecture or lunch discussion on Wednesday, please contact Amanda Nichols at

Professor Richard Madsen (Sociology, UC San Diego) accepted the department’s invitation to give a Delton Scudder Public Lecture in the fall of 2016. The lecture is tentatively scheduled for October, and he will be talking about the growth of Christianity in contemporary China. It is organized by Professor Mario Poceski, who is a contact person for queries about the event.