Group Title: Connections : a newsletter for the Department of Religion at the University of Florida
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Language: English
Creator: Department of Religion, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Religion, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Spring 2006
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A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida Spring 2006

by David Hackett
T his fall will mark 60 years since Delton
Scudder was hired to create a depart-
ment of religion at the University of Florida.
In October, every former and retired faculty
member, graduate of our master's program,
and alumnus of our undergraduate major
will be invited to come home to Gainesville
and join the rest of us here in this celebration
of the many years of our life together. The
events will include a ceremony to honor our
former and retired faculty, an invited lecture,
and a reception. Who we are today owes a
great deal to those who have gone before us.
We invite each of you to join us in recogniz-
ing both our community of memory and our
community of today (see "Celebrating the
Department's 60th Anniversary," page 5).
Also in the fall, our graduate program
will be at full strength with the arrival of a
fourth class of doctoral students. More than
three years ago, we inaugurated a three-
track graduate program intended to pioneer
specializations at the cutting edge of the
religious studies discipline. As discussed in
the Spring 2005 newsletter, the Religion
and Nature program draws on faculty both
within the department and across the uni-
versity to create a new field of study at the
intersection of religion, nature, and society.
The fall 2005 newsletter highlighted the
innovative approach of the Religions of Asia

From the Chair....................................... .. 1
The Religion in the Americas Program...... 2
Americas' Graduate Students.................... 3
Religion and Nature Conference................ 4
New Faculty.................................. ............. 4
Recent Publications................................. 4
Mark Your Calenders................................ 5

program where Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim,
and other Asian religious traditions are stud-
ied in their transmission and interaction as
they move across and beyond Asia. The focus
of this issue is the Religion in the Americas
track, which builds upon the strengths of
department faculty, and the Center for Latin
American Studies to investigate the broad
diversity of religious cultures in the Americas
from a hemispheric perspective.
The origins of the Religion in the
Americas program might be traced to devel-
opments over the past twenty years in the
study of religion in North America that
have moved us beyond a focus on European
Christianity in the United States to a grow-
ing interest in the historic and continuing
effects of European colonization, the trans-
Atlantic slave trade, and indigenous religions
upon religious practices in the Americas.
When Anna Peterson joined our faculty
in 1993, she was among the first of a new
generation of religious studies scholars who
recognized and engaged this shift toward
the Americas. Trained in social ethics at the
University of Chicago, her first book exam-
ined religion and politics in Central America.
In 1994, we hired Manuel Vasquez whose
important work on the modernization of the
Brazilian church was soon followed with col-
laborative studies, with Anna Peterson and

Focus on Retired Faculty:
Harold Stahmer ........................................ 5
Alum ni U pdates.......................................... 6
Department Hosts Visiting Lecturers......... 7
Alumni Lecture Fund............................. 7
Stay in Touch............................................ 8
Sports: The Bog Frogs
Spring Off the Lilly Pad............................. 8

... ... /'
;" 4 `.

others, on the globalization of religion in the
Americas. As Anna and Manuel have expand-
ed their scholarly agendas, they have been
joined just this year by Robin Wright, an
internationally known scholar of indigenous
religions in the Amazon, and Jalane Schmidt,
whose research and teaching focuses on the
religions of Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin
America. Together, these faculty are now
actively developing a doctoral track that
particularly engages ethics, globalization,
indigenous religions, and the African Atlantic
diaspora in the Americas. Along with my
own specialty of North American religions,
the work of Zoharah Simmons on American
Islam, and related faculty interests, as well
as the burgeoning research agendas of our
graduate students, we are together exploring
this new field of study.

INOins Issu

ny re-mapping of the field of religious studies would place the borderland state of Florida
t the center of a new hemispheric perspective. Florida itself was once a Spanish colony
and remains an historic home to indigenous peoples, the oldest continually inhabited African
settlement in what is now the United States, and some of the oldest Christian missionary
outposts. Today it hosts a mobile, trans-cultural, immigrant population from throughout
the Americas. The University of Florida is, in turn, home to one of the best Latin American
Studies Centers in the country with faculty throughout the college involved in research that
spans the Americas. As the field of American religion increasingly shifts from a Eurocentric
to an Americas perspective, our faculty and graduate students are creating a new program of
study better aligned with the past and present reality of religious life in Florida, the United
States, and the Americas.

Faculty Research Drives the Program

Anna Peterson teaches and conducts
research in two main areas: Religion in
the Americas and Religion and Nature.
Within the Americas,
her focus is on the
interactions between
religion and politics
in Latin America. Her
first book, Martyrdom
and the Politics of
Religion (SUNY, 1997),
examined the role of
progressive Catholicism in political violence
and resistance in El Salvador. With Manuel
Vasquez and Philip Williams, she co-edited
Christianity Globalization, and Social Change
in the Americas (Rutgers University Press,
2001), a comparative study of Latino and
Latin American congregations based on col-
laborative research in El Salvador, Peru, and
the U.S. Her second major interest is social
and environmental ethics. She has pub-
lished a number of articles in those fields, as
well as Being Human: Ethics, Environment,
and Our Place in the World (University of
California Press, 2001). Her new book, Seeds
of the Kingdom: Utopian Communities in the
Americas (Oxford, 2005), explores the ways
that religious ethics are embodied, articulat-
ed, and transformed in agrarian communities
in Latin America and the United States.

Manuel Vasquez's first
book, The Brazilian
Popular Church and
the Crisis ofModernity
(Cambridge University
Press, 1998), explored
the effects of democ-
ratization and late
capitalism on grassroots
progressive Catholicism in Brazil. Vasquez
also co-edited (with Anna Peterson and

Philip Williams), Christianity, Social Change,
and Globalization in the Americas (Rutgers
University Press, 2001). In Globalizing the
Sacred: Religion Across the Americas (Rutgers
University Press, 2003), which he co-
authored with Marie Friedmann Marquardt,
he explores the interaction between reli-
gion and these globalizing processes. In
Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life
in America (AltaMira, 2005), co-edited with
Karen Leonard, Alex Stepick, and Jennifer
Holdaway, he assesses the impact of post-
1965 migration on the religious arena in the
U.S. Currently, Vasquez is co-directing with
Philip Williams a study on religious plural-
ism, space, and power among Brazilians,
Mexicans, and Guatemalans in Florida, sup-
ported by the Ford Foundation. He is also
working on a book for Oxford University,
which moves the study of religion away from
classic hermeneutic approaches and belief,
texts, ideas, and theologies, and focuses on
performance, embodiment, and emplace-

Robin Wright is an
anthropologist of reli-
gion who joined our
department this year
after spending the past
two decades at the
University of Campinas
in Brazil. Much of
his research has been
among the surviving indigenous peoples of
the Amazon and their encounter with non-
indigenous peoples. His many publications
include Cosmos, Self and History in Baniwa
Religion:for Those Unborn (Texas, 1998) and,
co-edited with N.L. Whitehead, In Darkness
and Secrecy: The Anthropology ofAssault Sorcery
and Witchcraft in Amazonia (Duke, 2004).
Dr. Wright is currently working on bring-

ing his research on the religions of native
South American peoples to a larger audience
through audiovisual material and narra-
tive myths. In particular, he is working on
projects that will communicate the creation
myths of the Baniwa people as well as their
understandings of sickness and curing, and a
bibliographic project that explores differences
and similarities in cosmologies among the
Arawak-speaking peoples.

Jalane Schmidt joined
our faculty this year
from Harvard where she
developed her interests in
religions of the African
diaspora, Caribbean, and
Latin America. She is
currently revising her dis-
sertation for publication
while on a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at
UNC-Chapel Hill. Tentatively titled "Cuba
and the Politics of Festivity," Dr. Schmidt's
book looks at 20th century festivals devoted
to Cubas patron saint, the Virgin of Charity.
Through her own theory of festivity, she
examines how the performance of religious
festivals reveals shifts in 20th-century Cuban
national identity with regard to race, religion,
and political ideology. Together with Robin
Wright, she hopes to build connections
between our department and scholars and
practitioners of indigenous and African dias-
pora religions from throughout the Americas.

page 2 Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

page 2

Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

ItPAeris' G (Ada Stud]nts

David Hackett is an
historian of American
religion. His first book,
The Rude Hand of
Innovation: Religion and
Social Order in A I
New York 1652-1836
(Oxford, 1991),
explored the historical
relationship between religion and society in
one early North American community. He
is editor of the widely used reader Religion
andAmerican Culture (Routledge, 2nd ed,
2003). Dr. Hackett is currently exploring
the relationship between men's religious
lives in Freemasonry and their participation
in organized religious life in Freemasonry
andAmerican Religious History (Princeton).
While serving as chair of the department, he
is also responsible for the North American
Religions core courses for the Americas doc-
toral program.

Department members at the Latin
American Studies Association annual
meetingin SanJuan, Puerto Rico, March
14-18, 2006: Robin Wright, Manuel
Vasquez, Sean O'Neil, Hilit Surowitz,
Shreena Gandhi, Jalane Schmidt,
David Hackett, and in front Gayle
Lasater. Not pictured: Anna Peterson.

Shreena Gandhi received her B.A. in
Religion from Swarthmore College
and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity
School, where she focused on American
religious history. Her interests include
religions of the Americas, Hinduism
in diaspora, and the study of mate-
rial culture and religion. She is cur-
rently researching the material culture of
Hinduism in the Americas.

Gayle Spiers Lasater received a B.A.
in prli,. .p..1.. ,with a minor in
International Relations at the University
of West Florida and followed this with an
M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean
Studies from Florida International
University. Her academic interests include
religion and politics in the Americas,
western monotheism in the Atlantic
New World, the interaction of Christian
missions in the Americas, and religion
and the environment. Ms. Lasater is
also a researcher with Dr. Vasquez's Ford
Foundation's immigrant religion project,
"Latino Immigrants in Florida: Lived
Religion, Space, and Power."

Sean O'Neil received a BA. in English
and History from the University
of King's College in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, Canada and holds a Masters in
International Affairs-Latin American

Studies from Ohio University. Prior to
coming to UF, he taught high school
world and American history in Bogota,
Colombia and was an instructor of
Spanish language and Latin American
history at North Greenville College in
Tigerville, South Carolina. His interests
include convergent Christianities in the
americas, religious ethics, religion, and
globalization, the history of Christianity,
religion, and politics in the Americas,
and pneumacentric religions in the

Hilit Surowitz received an undergradu-
ate degree from the University of Florida
in Religion and Political Science and fol-
lowed that with a Fulbright Fellowship to
study the religious and social integration
of Israel's Ethiopian Jewish community.
She subsequently earned a master's
degree from the Department of Religion
at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
and taught primary and secondary school
in both Israel and South Florida. Her
research interests include Caribbean
religion and religion in diaspora. Hilit
is particularly interested in the trans-
Atlantic social and religious networks
established and maintained by European,
North African, and Caribbean Jewish
communities and their role in defining
community identity.

Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Re

on at the University o- Hc

RIeligini 411(6 Natur Cofefece

This April the department hosted the
first annual conference of the newly
formed International Society for the
Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture
(ISSRNC). Spearheaded by Bron Taylor,
the conference boasted an impressive
program, including keynote presenta-
tions from Carolyn Merchant of UC
Berkeley, Stephen Kellert of Yale's School
of Forestry, and Kocku von Stuckrad,
from the University of Amsterdam, one of

Europe's leading cultural historians..
The theme for this first gathering
was "Exploring Religion, Nature, and
Culture." Over 150 scholars from over
twenty countries converged on Gainesville
to develop this theme through disciplines
as diverse as biology, crlin..l.. ,-, cogni-
tive science, anthropology, sociology,
indigenous studies, traditional ecological
knowledge, ethnobotany, forestry, political
science, and religious studies.

The truly interdisciplinary nature of
this first conference and of the Society in
general promises to provide an interactive
setting for scholars who do not often have
the opportunity to exchange ideas within
the focused confines of the academy. For
more information about the conference,
or about the Society, please visit www.reli- Membership
applications are available online.

We are delighted to announce the hiring of two new faculty members.
Robert Kawashima is currently Dorot A. Whitney Sanford is currently Associate
Assistant Professor in New York University's Professor in the Department of Philosophy and
Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Religious Studies at Iowa State University. She
Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from
Literature from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. Dr.
Berkeley in 2001. Dr. Kawashima's work situ- Sanford's research and teaching areas are religion
ates the Hebrew Bible within both the ancient and nature and the religious traditions of South
Mediterranean world and the literary and Asia, particularly north Indian devotional tra-
intellectual history of Western Civilization. His editions. Her forthcoming book, Invited to the
first book, Biblical Narrative and the Death ofRhapsode, was published Dance: Hindu Narratives ofAgriculture and Environmental Discourse,
by Indiana University Press in 2004. This appointment will be shared examines how narratives of agriculture provide patterns for human
with Jewish Studies. relationships with the land.

Seeds of the Kingdom:
Utopian ComIniunities i,
(Oxford, 2005)
I n r i, l.,r-p1 ll.. ..l .. -r... In1
'KI ii tlr.r. .,, rl',. ...p ,. I ... I I t
two very different communities, one inhab-
ited by impoverished former refugees in
the mountains of El Salvador and the other
by Amish farmers in the Midwestern U.S.
What makes these groups stand out among
advocates of environmental protection,
political justice, and sustainable develop-
ment is their religious orientation. They
aim, without apology, to embody the reign
of God on earth. The Salvadoran com-

I the Amjericas

S1.11-1, 1 I ', ...,, ,.l .l In I \R.. ,i ,n C I rkI..IIc
- .,1 *il rkl l r v l. rl. r l l r J-, i..ll', r,.
to Anabaptist tradition. Peterson offers a
detailed portrait of these communides' his-
tory, social organization, religious life, envi-
ronmental values, and agricultural practices.
By examining the process by which people
struggle to live according to a transcendent
value system, Anna sheds light on both the
actual and the potendal place of religion in
public life.

ring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

page 4

60th Anniversary Celebrati
This coming fall will mark the 60th
year since Delton Scudder founded
the department of religion in the fall of
1946. Since that time, dozens of faculty
members and hundreds of undergraduate
majors have called the department home.
On Thursday, October 19th of this
coming fall, we are inviting home all of
you who have taught and studied in the
department throughout our sixty-year
history. Already such beloved former
and retired professors as Barry Mesch,
Austin Creel, Richard Hiers, Hal Stahmer,

Michael Gannon, and Sam Hill have
responded enthusiastically to our invita-
tion, and we are hoping that Azim Nanji,
Patout Burns, Taylor Scott, Dennis Owen,
and others may also attend. Every under-
graduate major and every graduate of our
master's degree program will be invited.
They will be joined by our advisory board
members, current faculty, and members of
the current UF administration in an event
to commemorate our past, celebrate our
present, and imagine our future.
We will gather at 4 p.m. that day

for a ceremony honoring our former and
retired faculty followed by an invited
lecture and a gala reception. The next
day, plans are afoot for some common
conversation among all of us as we share
memories, tour the department's new (as
of 2003) facilities in Anderson Hall, and
discuss the department's present activities
and future visions.
So please mark your calendars and
plan to be with us for this grand coming
together of our department community
on Thursday, October 19th, 2006.

Harold Stahmer retired from our faculty in
1995, yet remains an active member of our

department community.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Harold Stahmer
received his BA. from Dartmouth where
he was a student of the social philosopher,
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. Hal, then a
Methodist, spent a year after Dartmouth
at the German Benedictine Abbey of
Maria Laach to learn German and Church
Latin. He received his M.Div. from Union
Theological Seminary, NY, and wrote his
thesis under Reinhold Niebuhr on the 1916
correspondence between Eugen Rosenstock-
Huessy and Franz Rosenzweig. He received
his Ph.D. from Cambridge, where he wrote
about language in Martin Buber's writings.
It was Hal's background in civil rights
that brought him to UF in 1969, from
Columbia University where he had been
professor of religion at Barnard College and
Columbia and Director of the Harvard-
Yale-Columbia Program that prepared gifted
students from historically black colleges for
graduate and professional careers. During
his Columbia years, Hal had co-founded the
Rockland County Committee on Religion
and Race, the Rockland County chapter of
the A.C.L.U., and served for ten years on the
National Committee on Church and State
of the A.C.L.U. In March 1965, he marched
with Dr. King in Selma when James Reeb,
the Unitarian minister, was killed. In 1982,
Hal was arrested in Washington D.C., while
protesting apartheid in South Africa.
While Associate Dean at UF Hal cre-
ated and chaired Governor Reubin O'D.

Askew's 1971 Invitational Conference on
Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities
for the Disadvantaged that was held at the
University of Florida. The Carnegie Program
that involved the University of Florida
and Florida's four historically black col-
leges and universities was an outgrowth of
Governor Askew's Conference. In 1974, Hal
served on Governor Askew's Death Penalty
Commission that was co-chaired by former
governor Leroy Collins, whom Hal had met
in Selma in 1965. Hal was instrumental in
establishing the Women's Studies Program,
the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for
Gerontological Studies, and the Criminal
Justice Program.
In 1979, Hal returned to teaching as
professor of religion and philosophy. His
courses included philosophy of religion, his-
tory of Christianity, religion and poverty,
religion and aging, Latin American liberation
theologies, modern Jewish philosophies, and
seminars on speech and orality that focused
on Rosenstock-Huessy, Franz Rosenzweig,
Martin Buber, and Walter J. Ong, S.J.
Since his retirement in 1995, Hal has
remained active in the scholarly community.
He is a founder and member of the aca-
demic advisory board of the International
Franz Rosenzweig Society, was a Max
Planck Lecturer on Rosenstock-Huessy at
Goettingen, and the Nahum Glatzer Franz
Rosenzweig Lecturer at Boston University.
He has lectured at Harvard, Dartmouth,


h" -A

the universities of Kassel and Goettingen,
Moscow State University, and at the Jesuit
College in Cracow, Poland. In 1996, Hal
published "Lieber Pater Caesarius...Ihr
Martin Buber" (Dear Father Caesarius...Your
Martin Buber), a study of the correspon-
dence (1949-1964) between Fr. Caesarius
Lauer, a Benedictine monk from Maria
Laach, and Martin Buber. Hal is currently
working on a new edition of the 1916 war-
time correspondence between Rosenstock-
Huessy and Rosenzweig and a book about
the collaboration between Abbot Herwegen
of Maria Laach and the National Socialists
during Hitler's rise to power.
Hal is married to Paula Huessy Stahmer,
an attorney.

Sprig 206,Conectons A ewsette oftheDeprtmnt f Rligon a th Unverityof lor dap geI

Mark Your Calendars!

Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

page 5

Theresa Horton has a solo law practice in South Carolina. She
has recently joined the board of a contemplative ministry called
The Anchorage, which services upstate South Carolina.

Steve Prescott is establishing a new church in Warren County,
North Carolina. Fishing Creek Baptist Church is involved in
evangelism, literacy, a free medical clinic, and youth programs.
The church is intended to be biracial, informal, and welcoming
to all. Meanwhile, Steve is using his legal training. He has a full-
time position teaching Business Law at the local community col-
lege to provide income and benefits.

Johnny Zokovitch has established a Catholic Worker House in
Gainesville. He also works with Pax Christi USA.

Sun Chae this year edited the American Women's Studies course
for the Virtual Learning Community of the North Carolina
Community College system. She is also working to create a
Religion and Philosophy Faculty networking group for NCCC.

Mary Ann Fredericks is busy working with Parish Council
and various committees at Holy Faith Catholic Church in
Gainesville. She is also helping to care for her new grandson,
Daniel William. Her granddaughter Ashlee is currently a UF
Religion minor.

Omar Lateef graduated from medical school in 1999. He is
currently an Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and
Sleep Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago
where he serves on that hospital's ethics committee.

Phil Schwadel is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has recently published an
article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and has an
article coming out later this year in Review of Religious Research.

Graham Glover received his M.Div. in 1997 from Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently the Pastor of
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chiefland, Florida, and
a Ph.D. student in the University of Florida's Political Science
Department. Graham's dissertation is titled: "Answering
Liberalism: The Political Theology of Pope Benedict XVI." His
first child, Hannah Grace Glover, was born in May.

Charity S. Lanier received her J.D. from the University
of Florida in 1998. She is an Academic Dean at Florida
Metropolitan University.

Bhakti Cohen is working at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare as
a Children's Outpatient Therapist in Gainesville, Florida. She has
a part-time private practice at the Gestalt Center of Gainesville
where she counsels couples and families, specializing in pre-
marital counseling, faith-based issues, and families with children
with special needs. She recently became a Nationally Certified

Carolyn Kivler after serving in the Peace Corps now teaches
geography in an inner-city middle school in Jacksonville, Florida.

Aaron Alexander spent two years studying in a traditional
yeshiva in Jerusalem, before returning to UF to finish his B.A.
He then began rabbinical school in Los Angeles at the Ziegler
School of Rabbinic Studies. This spring, he will be ordained as a
Conservative Rabbi and will immediately assume the position of
Assistant Dean for the Ziegler School.

Allen Hamlin is completing his Master's in Theology at Dallas
Theological Seminary. He is writing his Master's thesis on
"Representations of YHWH in the Hebrew Bible."

Zane Altman is in the third year of an M.A. in Religious Studies
at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Zane focuses on
American Religions with an emphasis on new religious move-

Jay M. Allbritton works in Library East as archivist for the
Baldwin Library. He is working on a grant from the National
Endowment for the Humanities to catalogue 3,000 monographs
(children's literature books) from the 1870s and 1880s.

Jennifer Breman is working towards her Master's and Specialist's
Degrees in Counselor Education at the University of Florida. She
has two sons who are 3 and 19 months old.

Andy Anderson is interning at the Presbyterian and Disciples of
Christ Student Center in Gainesville, Florida. He is the worship
coordinator and program manager for the Student Center. Later
this year, he will move to Berkeley, California, to study at the
Pacific School of Religion.

page 6 Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

I Alumni Updates I

page 6

Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

DlC]parlmn H(sts \Vis iting Leicturers

This spring the department has been privileged to host a variety of visiting lecturers.
Robert Kawashima murals in cave shrines at Dunhuang, created between the 5th and 14th cen-
On Friday, January 13th, New York University Assistant Professor of Hebrew turies, are among the most spectacular surviving art works in the world. But
Bible Robert Kawashima spoke on "'Jacob Have I Loved, but Esau Have I what was their purpose? Dr. Wang explained the kind of world they invoked.
HalreI': Self anrl Other in Cenesis 1 2-5 "

A. Whitney Sanford
On Friday, January 20th, Iowa State University Associate Professor of
Hinduism, A. Whitney Sanford, gave a lecture on the myth of Balarama:
"From Balarama to Biotech: Hindu Narratives of Agriculture and Tropes of
Contemporary Agricultural Practice." Dr. Sanford explained the myth as an
attempt to construct a symbiotic relationship with the land and thus justify
an indigenous approach to agriculture.

Kocku von Stuckrad
On Monday, January 23rd, University of Amsterdam Assistant Professor
Kocku von Stuckrad gave a talk entitled "Ernst Haeckel and the Origin
of the Term 'ecology': Reflection on the Triangle of Scientific Darwinism,
Philosophical Monism, and the Devotion of Nature." In this lecture, Dr. von
Stuckrad explored the work of 19th-century philosopher Ernst Haeckel, who
invented the term "ecology," to suggest the various contemporary influences
that lead Haeckel to have a particular construction of an ethic of nature.

Nathaniel Barrett
On Friday, January 27th, Boston University doctoral student Nathaniel
Barrett gave a talk entitled "Nature is not Humane: Nature's Spontaneity and
the Limits of Moral Conduct."

Hanna Liss
On Friday, February 10th, Professor Hannah Liss from Germany's University
of Heidelberg presented a lecture "From Prophetic Speech to Holy Scriptures:
Literary Transmissions and the Search for Self Identity in Israel and Later

Eugene Wang
On Monday, March 6th, Eugene Wang, Gardner Cowles Professor of Art
and Architecture at Harvard, spoke on "Why Do Caves Need Murals?
Symbolic Cosmos in Cave Shrines at Dunhuang, Northwest China." The

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
On Saturday, April 1st, this dance ensemble from Bangalore in southern
India presented a program of Odissi dance sponsored by The Center for the
Study of Hindu traditions (CHiTra), the Center for World Arts, and the
Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

David L. Haberman
On Monday, April 10th, University of Indiana Professor and Chair, David
Haberman, gave a talk entitled "River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The
Yamuna River of Northern India." This slide presentation explored the reli-
gious meaning associated with this sacred river, drawing from both religious
texts and ethnographic fieldwork conducted over the past several years. This
lecture was sponsored by CHiTra.

Travis Smith
On Wednesday, April 12th, Columbia University Hinduism doctoral stu-
dent, Travis Smith, presented a lecture entitled "Center the Peripheries: Re-
Configuring the Sacred and the Social in Early 'Glorifications of Varanasi.'"
The city of Varanasi went from a merchant town to a religious center in a
matter of a few centuries. Using Puranic texts, specifically the Skanda Purana,
Mr. Smith, explained how this transition has been mythologically under-
stood, as a town of merchants to the home of Shiva and Parvati, thus giving
Varanasi a primordial origin.

Joyce Flueckiger & Sasikala Penumarthi
On April 3rd through 6th, Emory University Professors, Joyce Flueckiger
and Sasikala Penumarthi, gave a series of workshops on "Dance, Hinduism,
and Embodied Knowledge" in the Department of Theater and Dance and
the Department of Religion at the University of Florida. The lecture and
dance recital at the Keene Faculty Center was attended by almost a hundred
students and faculty members. The lectures and dances were based on a very
successful interdisciplinary course they teach at Emory University. Their visit
and programs were sponsored by CHiTra.

U Almi Le 1ctur Fu ndIU116

The Department of Religion hopes to provide students with academic
experiences that will offer perspectives on religion's role in our everyday lives.
We hope that through an Alumni Lecture Series and other activities both
students and alumni will gain insights from some of today's most brilliant
minds. These occasions will also offer the opportunity for today's classes to
connect with those who came before them.
Please consider a gift to the Department of Religion to support the
department's critical educational activities for those following in your foot-
steps. Please complete the form and return to the address below. Thanks for
your support!
David Hackett, Chair
dhackett -

Yes! I would like to support the Alumni Lecture Series! (Fund #00767)

Amount: (please circle)
$1000 $500 $250 $100 $50 $


Please choose a payment method:
Credit Card
Type: VISA MasterCard Discover
Exp. Date: /

Please make checks payable to UF Foundation, Inc.
City: State: ZIP:

Please complete the above form and return it to: College of Liberal Arts &
Sciences, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs, University of Florida
Foundation, Inc., PO. Box 14425, Gainesville FL 32604-2425

Sprig 206,Conectons A Nwsltte oftheDeprtmet o Reigin a th Uniersty f Foria pgeI

Spring 2006, Connections, A Newsletter of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida

page 7

T he next tme you're surfing the web, visit the department
I web site at It's a great way to keep in
touch with what is happening in the department. Also, alumni
are encouraged to participate in the department of religion
alumni list service. Alumni on this list may post and receive e-
mails to and from other alumni and the department. This service
is free, and you may unsubscribe anytime you wish. Those of you
who responded to our "getting in touch" letter we sent in July
are already on this list. For others who wish to subscribe, either
send an e-mail to or subscribe yourself
directly by sending an e-mail to alumni-religion-request@clas.ufl.
edu. In the body of your message, type: subscribe end. We hope
you will join us in conversation online!

The Bog Frogs
Spring Off the Lilly Pad!

T he "Frogs" seem to have found their level of play. After an
S underwhelming no win fall season in the "C" level coed league
at the Diamond Sports Park, the department's intrepid "Bog Frogs"
softball team started "E"
level league play with their
first ever win and, as of this
writing, are an even 2 and
2 going into the last half of
the spring season.

Games are Thursday
evenings-come out and

Thanks to graduate student Hilit Surowitz for gathering much of the information for this newsletter.


Department of Religion
107 Anderson Hall
P.O. Box 117410
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-7410
Telephone: 352-392-1625
Fax: 352-392-7395


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