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From the Director

By Jeanne H. Kilde
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Dialogue and visibility. If two words can characterize the Program in Religious Studies this past year, it is these. Our program has stepped into the limelight this year in new and exciting ways, contributing to the intellectual study of religion both in the academy and in the public sphere.

By Susan Gangl, Library Liaison for Religious Studies
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One of the best-selling books of all time is still making an impact on society in ways we often do not often realize. Quoted by pop singers and presidents, featured on Facebook, read in churches for centuries and, more recently, viewed on YouTube, the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is now enjoying its 400th anniversary. The occasion is being marked around the world, and the University of Minnesota Libraries recently sponsored several exhibits and a scholarly forum on campus, plus events at area institutions to mark the occasion throughout the Twin Cities.

Faculty News

Program in Religious Studies faculty members support the University of Minnesota's mission by advancing academic excellence with extraordinary education, breakthrough research, and dynamic public engagement.

The Dalai Lama Visits the University of Minnesota

Faculty Spotlight
By Ann B. Waltner
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The Dalai Lama appeared at a variety of public and private events in the Twin Cities last May. Two large public events at Mariucci arena were quite spectacular. The local Tibetan community, which numbers about 3,000 and is the second-largest in the United States, turned out in full force, temporarily transforming the basketball arena into a site of pilgrimage and homage.

Undergraduate News

Program in Religious Studies majors venture out into the job market

What can I do with a degree in religious studies? We hear this question frequently.

Like all liberal arts degrees, the religious studies major trains students in critical thinking and communications skills that are the foundation of most career paths. These include asking significant questions and identifying problems, developing logical interpretations, and identifying inherent biases in communication strategies.

Student Spotlight

By Derk Renwick
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Erik Heimark is a senior studying anthropology and religious studies. He studied abroad in Siberia last year in order to investigate the changing face of religious organization in regional attitudes and religious practices.

Why did you choose Siberia as a Study Abroad destination?

I chose to study abroad after hearing about a program in Russia that allowed undergraduates to design and carry out their own research. A friend of mine in the anthropology department suggested I apply for the Student Project for Amity among Nations (SPAN) program because she knew I was interested in Siberia. I had no idea I would be able to study abroad in Siberia when I started looking for foreign study programs in Russia. I wanted to study in a small region in southern Siberia on the border of Mongolia and Kazakhstan called the Altai Republic, but I did not think it would be possible. It worked out that I was able to study under a Russian graduate student in the Altai for a month. I was thrilled about how much I would learn from the experience of traveling with a Russian ethnographer and doing first-hand research.

Graduate Spotlight

By Nahid Khan
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Nahid Khan's research focuses on mainstream American newspaper coverage of American Muslims, and links together research in American journalism history and philosophy, American Muslim history, and sociology. Nahid discusses her role as the graduate assistant for the Shared Cultural Spaces: Islam and the West in the Arts and Sciences conference, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its program Building Bridges: The Muslim World and the Humanities.

Graduate Studies News

University of Minnesota's Religious Studies Graduate Minors share their research projects, special interests, and goals for the future

By Jack Delahanty
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Members of the Program in Religious Studies sponsored our fourth annual workshop for regional faculty and graduate students in religious studies on August 18, 2011, on the topic of the Apocalyptic.The workshop was attended by 35 scholars and co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology. Jack Delahanty is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology whose work focuses on the intersections between religion and sociology in the modern world.

Make a Gift to the Program in Religious Studies

A hallmark of the Program in Religious Studies is our interdisciplinary philosophy--students have the option to choose their own research topics, courses, and advisers from departments across the entire University. This philosophy extends to outreach and community programming for our undergraduate and graduate students as well. Our lecture series, the Roetzel Family Lecture in Religious Studies, is studentcentered, providing professional academic experiences for our junior scholars; and this year's brand-new Minnesota Religion and Society workshop was designed to provide a supportive, intellectual home for our diaspora of interdisciplinary religious studies graduate minors.

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