News & Upcoming Events: September 9, 2016

News and Upcoming Events

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 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, please contact Amanda Nichols at

Professor Richard Madsen (Sociology, UC San Diego) accepted the department’s invitation to give a Delton Scudder Public Lecture, tentatively scheduled for October 27, 2016 at 5:00pm. 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.


Professor Terje Ostebo has been invited to lecture at the US Diplomatic Course for the Foreign Service and USAID staff at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, October 11-13, 2016. The course is organized by the International Law and Policy Institute.

Last January, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, which was founded at UF, held its 10th Anniversary meeting back here in Gainesville.  The Society’s next meeting, with the theme “Mountains and Sacred Landscapes,” will be held in New York City, April 20-23, 2017, in cooperation with the India China Institute at the New School.  The deadline for proposal submission is October 10, 2016, and the CFP is at Scholars interested in the intersection of religion and nature are especially encouraged to apply.


Professor Whitney Sanford’s chapter on Food and Agriculture was published in the Rutledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology. Edited by John Grim, Willis Jenkins, and Mary Evelyn Tucker. (Rutledge Press, 2017.)

Professor Terje Ostebo published an article “Muslims in the Aftermath” in Aftermath: The Fallout of War – America and the Middle East (ed. Carol McCuster), 2016. This is the catalogue for the Harns Museum photo exhibition with the same name.

The latest issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, founded and edited by Professor Bron Taylor, has been published. This time, Professor Robin Wright ably served as a special issue editor, and an author of several contributions to it.  The issue theme was Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Spirituality, and the Future of Humans in Nature. This issue began with a forum at UF in 2013 and appeared this summer in the JSRNC 10.3.

Ken Chitwood (PhD student, Americas) recently published two reviews. The first is of Gabeba Baderoon’s Regarding Muslims: From Slavery to Post-Apartheid in the Journal of Religion in Africa from BrillThe second is a review of Karoline P. Cook’s Forbidden Passages: Muslims and Moriscos in Colonial Spanish America, which was featured in the AAR’s Reading Religion series. You can read the latter review here.


In 2015, Professor Bron Taylor was invited by faculty and administrators at the University of Bergen to submit a grant proposal to the European Research Council’s Advance Grant program ( and provided with a seed grant to develop the proposal. On September 1, 2016, Taylor submitted a 2.5-million-euro proposal titled “Investigating the affective, cognitive, religious, and spiritual dimensions of anthropogenic environmental change and the bases for pro-social and pro-environmental behavior.” According to the ERC, Advanced Grants “are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are already established research leaders with a recognized track record of research achievements,” and the competition “is open to researchers of any nationality who intend to conduct their research activity in any Member State or Associated Country.”


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites students pursuing the Ph.D. to apply for dissertation fellowships for the spring or summer terms of 2017.  They expect up to twelve fellowships to be available, and they will provide students with a stipend of $7,000 per term and a waiver of tuition fees.  Departments may supplement the dissertation fellowship if they wish, but the intent of the awards is to free students from the demands of a teaching assistantship so that they can complete their dissertations.  This year there will be a separate category of small awards.  These will be selected from among those who apply but do not receive the full awards, and whose dissertation project can be completed with a small award.  The small awards will not include a waiver of tuition fees. In order to be eligible to hold a fellowship, students must have already been admitted to candidacy before January 1, 2017. One copy of each proposal must be submitted to the Dean’s office by October 7, 2016.  Please submit proposals to Professor David Hackett by September 30, 2016.
The proposals should include:
1. Cover sheet (available on the web:
2.  A 1- to 2-page description (single spaced) of the dissertation project and the work to be conducted with the dissertation fellowship. (These fellowships can be used to fund travel to archives.)
3.  Two letters of endorsement from the faculty, with one being from the chair of the dissertation committee.