The University Record, July 1, 2002

Religious Studies Program Reborn

By Dana Ondrei Fair
News and Information Services

LS&A has released a report on its Religious Studies program, which has been under review for the past two years. The report’s plan, to be implemented this fall and reviewed in five years, calls for a multi-departmental oversight committee, postdoctoral fellows and an international religion conference.

“Our scholarly presence in the field of religious studies and the quality of our undergraduate programs in religion will be much stronger for the implementation of these recommendations,” said Shirley Neuman, outgoing dean of LS&A.

Over the next three years, three postdoctoral positions on religion will be created and linked with existing departments within the University, drawing on established department strengths. Called Religious Studies Fellows, these scholars will for three years be affiliated with units within the college and will collaborate on activities such as bringing in speakers and organizing interdisciplinary seminars.

The fellowship positions and corresponding departmental affiliations (in parenthesis) consist of: African Religions (Center for Afroamerican and

African Studies); African-American Religions (Center for Afroamerican and African Studies); European Christianity (History); Hindu Studies (Asian Languages and Cultures); Religions of North America (History, American Culture); and South Asian Islam (Asian Languages and Cultures, Near Eastern Studies).

“This new program will bring young, cutting-edge scholars of religion into the University on a continuing basis and generate interdisciplinary discussions of religion,” Neuman says.

In fall 2003, LS&A is making tentative plans to host an international religion conference, which will be organized by the Religious Studies committee. The event will serve as a visible and official kick-off for the Religious Studies program at U-M.