Spring 2024

Thursday, May 2                 4:00 PM               Fayerweather-115 (Paino)

American Scripture~ The Long Evangelical Fight for a Literalist Bible and an Originalist Constitution

Austin Lee Steelman~ Stanford University

Information flyer for Steelman Lecture


Earlier this year, former President Donald Trump advertised a “God Bless the USA” Bible aimed in particular at his evangelical supporters. It included key American texts like the US Constitution alongside the King James Bible. This pairing was far from accidental. In fact, it reflected a century of conservative evangelical ideology with an intense focus on literal scriptural texts, religious and legal, as the source of truth and moral guidance for American life. Austin Steelman’s work examines the long development of these ideas: biblical inerrancy, constitutional originalism, and the Christian nationalist intertwining of both from the early 20th century to the present. From the New Deal to abortion; school integration to school prayer, this talk focuses on the evangelical grievances against the Supreme Court that helped fuel the rise of the Religious Right and create a constitutional framework for the conservative movement in the mold of evangelical theology. 








2024 Moseley Prizes~ Invitation to submit

Deadline: 12:00 noon on Friday, April 19

Moseley Prize Description







Thursday, April 18               4:00 PM         Beneski-107, Paino Lecture Hall

Plastic Devotion: Innovation and the Technologies of Prayer


Rosary beads, mfg. plant, Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada lecture flyer
Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada is Associate Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College where she teaches classes on religion and masculinity, Catholics in the Americas, urban religion, and religions of Latin America. She is an ethnographer and her research focuses on material culture, contemporary Catholicism, and gender and embodiment. She is the author of Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an ethnography about masculinity and men’s devotional lives in a gentrified neighborhood in New York City. She is currently working on her second book project: Reinventing the Rosary: Innovation and Catholic Prayer. She is editor of the journal Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, co-chair of the Men and Masculinities Unit at the American Academy of Religion, and serves on the editorial board of the journal American Religion. She was chosen as one of the Young Scholars in American Religion at IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University and her B.A. in Sociology and Religion from Vassar College.

Tuesday, April 16                2:00 - 4:00 PM                        Chapin-201

Harvard Divinity School Information Session

Info session announcement








Tuesday,  April 9                  4:00 - 5:00 PM                         Chapin-108

Pastries in Pemberton returns!  All students are welcome!

Wednesday, April 3             4:30 PM          Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayeweather-115)

Film Screening:  The Mountain Path. A documentary of the filmmaker Edward A. Burger, followed by Q & A with the director.

You are warmly invited to join us for the screening of The Mountain Path, the latest documentary of the filmmaker Edward A. Burger,  followed by Q and A with the director.

Edward A. Burger lived in China for over twelve years and is one of the few foreigners to have lived and studied with the hermits of the Zhongnan Mountains. The Mountain Path recounts his personal journey, including the story of how he found his lifelong teacher and entered into the world of these dedicated recluses.

For more information: https://www.onemindproductions.com/themountainpath


Informational flyer of film screening event


Wednesday, March 27         4:30 PM            Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayeweather-115)

The 2024 Annual Willis D. Wood Lecture

Professor Kathryn Gin Lum, Stanford University

March 27, 2024 Lecture information














Tuesday, February 27      Pastries in Pemberton


Spring 2023

2023 Moseley Prizes Invitation

Information about the annual Moseley prize for seniors

Saturday, March 25             1:00 - 3:00             Majors Fair

Balloons and Students at the Religion Department table!
Major Fair- image of students


Major Fair- image of students

Wednesday, March 8               4:30                   Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather-115)

 The 2023 Annual Willis D. Wood Lecture 

Dr. Laurie Patton, President,  Middlebury College 

Image- Laurie Patton. Image- crowd of people.

(click on image for full view)

Wednesday, March 8                5:30 PM             Herter Hall- 601, UMass Amherst 

The Five College Faculty Seminar in Late Antiquity

 Ecology and Citizenship in Antiquity

   Kevin Corrigan, Emory University

Additional information

Monday, March 6                       4:30 PM              Pemberton Lounge (Chapin-108)

Cookies and the Religion Major

event date, time, and location

(click on image for full view)

Wednesday, February 22           4:30                 Paino Lecture Hall (Beneski - 107)

Increasing Inclusivity in Philosophy: Let's Finish the Job!

 Jay Garfield, Smith College

Garfield.  Galenus-Avicenna- Hippocrates

(click on image for full view)

Reception to follow.

Wednesday, February 8            5:30 - 7:00          Paino Lecture Hall (Beneski -107) 

Our Noonday Demon           

Niki Kasumi Clements, Rice University


Flyer with lecture details and image of Melancholy and of the guest lecturer

(click on the image for full view)

Fall 2022

Friday, September 2                   4:30 - 5:30            Pemberton Lounge (Chapin-108)

Religion Department Open House

Religion Open House~ Courses, Cookies & Cider


(click on image to enlarge)



Spring 2022


Tuesday, May 3        4:30 PM     Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115)

Ethnic Identity: Developing a Latina/o Identity

Silvia Pedraza, University of Michigan


Cuban and US Flags,


(click on image for full view)

Thursday, March 31           4:30 PM         Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115)

Edward Blum, San Diego State University

"War is all hell," claimed a Civil War general years after the war. But what made it hell? Or who made it hell? Professor Edward J. Blum explores visualizations of evil during the era of the Civil War to show how all types of Americans martialed evil to make their most poignant political and racial points.

Lecture flyer. Image of American flag, eagle biting snake

Thursday, March 3             4:30 PM            Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather-115)

The 2022 Willis D. Wood Lecture

Guest speaker: Duncan Ryūken Williams, author of American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War 



View the video recording of this lecture.



Past Lectures 

Spring 2020

This event has been canceled.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11      5:15 PM                              AMHERST COLLEGE, FAYERWEATHER 115 (PRUYNE)

Ethnic Identity: Developing a Latina/o Identity

Silvia Pedraza, University of Michigan

Though Latinas/os are now 18 % of the U. S. population, only recently have they come to the national spotlight, in the midst of a climate of hostility. 

In this talk, Prof. Silvia Pedraza argues that Latinas/os have become part of the U. S. through very different processes of incorporation, via very different histories that have been an obstacle in their way to developing a common sense of identity, of unity. 
At the same time, Prof. Pedraza argues that at present those obstacles that were there in the past are being overcome. Thus a community of culture is becoming a community of interest. 

MONDAY, APRIL 6                   7:00 PM                   AMHERST COLLEGE, BENESKI 107 (PAINO LECTURE HALL)

Eating the Flesh of our Mothers: Tibetan Buddhist Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Animal Ethics

Geoffrey Barstow, Oregon State University

Drawing on the idea of reincarnation—that we have all had an essentially infinite number of past lives—Tibetan Buddhists often claim that every creature you may meet was, at one point or another, your parent.  At that time they treated you kindly, keeping you safe, fed, and warm.  Now, they suggest, we should repay this kindness by treating all creatures with generosity and compassion.

Arguments like these would seem to suggest that Tibetan Buddhists should be, almost by default, vegetarian.  And yet this is not the case.  While some Tibetans were vegetarian, most were not.  Further, just as in the contemporary United States, the debates between anti-meat and pro-meat Tibetans could be fierce and acrimonious.  In this talk, Dr. Geoffrey Barstow will discuss Tibetan perspectives on meat-eating and animal ethics, exploring the reasons Tibetans gave for adopting vegetarianism, why those arguments didn’t always work, and some ways in which these Tibetan perspectives might influence contemporary debates over meat-eating around the world. 

MONDAY, MARCH 2               4:30 PM                                AMHERST COLLEGE, FAYERWEATHER 115 (PRUYNE)


Gushee flyer.jpg

Fall 2019





Nestor Medina Lecture

Spring 2019



Whiteness of Walden


Karen King Lecture



Phyllis Trible


Lama Rod Owens
Matthew Rarey


Major Fair -Student organized- March 25, 2023

Balloons and students at the Religion Department table.

Major Fair- image of students

Major Fair- image of students