Category Archives: Upcoming Events

March 6: Elsa J. Marty, “Stephen Bevan’s ‘Models of Contextual Theology'”

Monday, March 6, 6:00-8:00pm
Elsa J. Marty, “Stephen Bevan’s Models of Contextual Theology

Elsa will present an overview of and then lead a discussion about Stephen Bevan’s classic work, Models of Contextual Theology. Please read chapters 1-3 and the conclusion in preparation for the discussion.

The gathering will be hosted off-campus. Dinner will be provided. Please email for more information and a copy of the reading.

Call for Papers

The Global Christianities Workshop invites paper proposals for the 2016-2017 academic year.  This year, we will have a special focus on the relationship between the social sciences and constructive studies. We are especially interested in papers and presentations that explore or exemplify engagement with multiple methodological approaches in the study of Christianity. Graduate students and faculty members are invited to bring works in progress, so that they can benefit as much as possible from the group discussion.

Presentations can include portions of dissertation chapters or proposals, job talks, book reviews, pedagogical reflections, master’s theses, articles, conference papers, or other research. This year we are also looking for pairs of students to lead discussions on a common theme or object of study (e.g., gender, sovereignty, a particular denomination, Christianity in a particular region, etc.) from different methodological perspectives. So, for example, what sort of questions would an ethicist and an anthropologist ask about the role of Christianity in social movements in Central America? What can the two disciplines learn from each other? If you are interested in presenting at the workshop, please send a brief description of your paper/presentation and working title to:


May 17: SoJung Kim, “De-Orientalizing the Vernacular Theo-poetics of Beguines”

Tuesday, May 17, 12:00-1:15pm (Swift 208)
SoJung Kim: De-Orientalizing the Vernacular Theo-poetics of Beguines

Abstract: In this paper, I want to recalibrate Gayatri Spivak’s famous interrogation, “Can the subaltern speak?” for a certain occidental group of women: Beguines. 1) Can and do Beguines in late medieval Christianity speak? 2) In what ways are Beguines speaking within the context of the 13-14th centuries in late medieval Western Europe? This paper does not discuss the so-called “post-colonial theology” that rewrites the history of Christendom as an “imperial” and “colonizing” force. Nor does this paper generally describe who these Beguines were (biographies) and what they spoke (texts). Beguines’ biographical information and textual contents are indeed varied and ambiguous. Their geo-cultural locations were divergent and late medieval Western Europe was not homogenous. I employ the post-colonial inquiry about “Orientalized/subaltern wo/men,” because such inquiry can be useful in situating the plight of Beguines in relation to their use of plural vernacular tongues. In other words, this paper concentrates on the issue of how they speak (pragmatics), rather than what they speak (texts) and who they are (biographies).

Lunch will be provided.

May 5: Paul Lim, “Global Evangelicals and the Fight Against Human Trafficking”

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 12:00-1:15pm (Common Room)
Paul C.H. Lim, “Global Evangelicals and the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Snapshots from India, Korea and the US”

Paul C.H. Lim is Associate Professor of the History of Christianity at Vanderbilt Divinity School, specializing in Reformation- and post-Reformation Europe. His latest book, Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2012), won the 2013 Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history/theology by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. He has published two other books in that area: The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge, 2008); and In Pursuit of Purity, Unity, and Liberty: Richard Baxter’s Puritan Ecclesiology in Context (Brill, 2004). In addition, history of evangelicalism and global Christianities are his other foci of research. Currently, he is writing a book on the transformation of global evangelical attitudes toward and endeavors on eradication of human trafficking and structural poverty.

Co-sponsored by the Religions in the Americas Workshop. Lunch will be provided.

April 26: Hank Owings, “Rethinking Oikouménē: Protestantism, Intimacy, and the Transatlantic Black Novel”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 12:00-1:15pm (Swift 208)
Hank Owings, “Rethinking Oikouménē: Protestantism, Intimacy, and the Transatlantic Black Novel”

Abstract: Most critical theories of race present “race” as an arbitrary signifer and “racism” against peoples as a historical accident arising out of concerns for social community. In this paper, I challenge the assumption of “race” as historically accidental, and instead suggest that “race” arises out of affective concerns for bodily and physical uniqueness. Drawing on Homi Bhabha’s interpretations of Lacan and Fanon, I argue that “whiteness” generates “blackness” as an affective negation, and that “racism” is concerned with race largely in order to maintain physical separations and limit sexual possibilities. I illustrate this thesis by reading two African novelists working through the circumstances of “Blackness” in the United States, paying particular attention to the emphasis on space, sexuality, and Christianity in fictional “Black” communities. I ultimately hope to start thinking through racism as the result of anxieties about bodily intimacy within sexuality, kinship, and family, rather than perpetuating “racism” as an ideology that regulates sexuality, kinship, and family by consequence.

The paper should be read in advance. Please email for a copy of the paper. Lunch will be provided.

April 14: Syllabus Workshop with Garry Sparks

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 12:00-1:30pm (Marty Center Library)
Syllabus Workshop with Garry Sparks

In recent years, religion departments have increasingly sought faculty to teach courses on “Global Christianities,” yet there is no clearly established canon or structure for such a course. Instructors have many choices to make and questions to ask in their particular teaching contexts: How should one organize such a course — thematically, regionally, etc? What kinds of material should be included and omitted? What does one hope students will gain from such a course by contrast with other courses on religion at the introductory level, on the one hand, or more advanced topics in the study of Christianity, on the other? What is at stake in the title: Global vs. World? Christianity vs. Christianities?

This workshop, led by Divinity School alum Garry Sparks (PhD, 2011), will consider the practical challenges of teaching classes on Global Christianities (or analogous formulations) in various different institutional settings. Participants will also have the opportunity to workshop draft syllabi of their own. If you would like to have a syllabus (or a segment thereof) workshopped, please email it in advance to Otherwise, participants should simply bring a draft course description and a list of potential readings you might use for such a class of your own design.

Garry Sparks, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, received his Ph.D. in Theology from the Divinity School in 2011. His research and teaching interests focus on anthropological (socio-cultural and linguistic) and ethnohistorical understandings of theological production in the Americas, particularly among indigenous peoples. His areas include histories of Christian thought, theories of religion and culture, Native American religions, and religion in Latin America. He specifically attends to the periods of first contact between Iberian mendicant missionaries and indigenous Mesoamericans as well as current religious movements like liberation theologies, “Indian” theology (teología india), Latin American Protestantisms, and the revitalization of indigenous traditionalism (such as Maya Spirituality or kojb’al). Since 1995 he has done human rights work with and conducted fieldwork and language study among the K’iche’ and Kaqchikel Maya of Guatemala.

Co-sponsored by the Craft of Teaching. The workshop counts as an Arts of Teaching Workshop. Lunch will be provided.

March 11: Maria José de Abreu, “Iconic Economies of São Paulo: Space, Image, Circulation”

Friday, March 11, 2016, 12:00-1:30pm (Swift 106)
Maria José de Abreu, “Iconic Economies of São Paulo: Space, Image, Circulation”

De Abreu studied Anthropology of Media at SOAS, University of London, and received her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam in 2009. Her work engages with a range of anthropological, philosophical and literary debates about religion, time, space, personhood, the human senses and their technological extensions. She is currently working on a book project on the flourishing of Byzantine imaginary in urban Sao Paolo through the practices of a media-savvy religious movement. She has published in various journals and edited volumes and has recently been awarded a grant to support an international Wenner Gren symposium titled ‘New Media, New Publics’ (2015). She worked as a visiting scholar at Concordia University (2010) and Columbia University (2011) and in 2013-2014 as a fellow of the Forum for Transregional Studies under the program Art Histories/ Aesthetic Practices and affiliated to the department of Art History at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She will be joining the faculty at Groningen (Netherlands) in Anthropology this fall. For more information about de Abreu, see Maria José de Abreu

The paper should be read in advance. For a copy of the paper, please email

Co-sponsored with the Religion & the Human Sciences Workshop and the Dean’s Office. Lunch will be provided.

March 7: Andrew DeCort, “Authority, Action, Ethics: Ethiopia”

Monday, March 7, 2016, 12:00-1:15pm (Swift 208)
Andrew DeCort

Authority, Action, Ethics: Ethiopia — A Conversation about Leading Study Abroad Trips

Andrew DeCort will speak about his experience designing and leading a study abroad trip in Ethiopia for students at Wheaton College. For more information about the program, see:

Lunch will be provided.

Feb 16: Dwight Hopkins, “Teaching Global Theologies”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 12:00-1:15pm (Swift 208)
Dwight Hopkins, “Teaching Global Theologies”

Professor Hopkins will speak about a book he recently co-edited, Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis. Hyein Park and Hector Varela-Rios, Ph.D. students in Theology, will respond. For more information about the book, see Teaching Global Theologies.

Lunch will be provided.
Co-sponsored with the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop.

Feb 3: Eun Young Hwang, “Comparative Religious Ethics: Augustine and Xunzi”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 4:30-6:00pm (Swift 106)
Eun Young Hwang

A Constructive Comparative Religious Ethical Analysis of Augustine and Xunzi: The Sacred Origin of Human Rights and Its Demand for Just Society

Abstract: In order to compare two historically unrelated religious- moral-political traditions concerning human dignity/rights, and justice, I argue that we can set a third term for interpretation/comparison with a constructive ethical concern by referring to some contemporary theories of human rights and global justice which address the foundation of human rights and some universal criteria of justice cutting across particular conceptions. In that respect, I will show how Augustine and Xunzi show similarities and dissimilarities in their concern for the sacredness of person (Joas) as the source of entitlement for the rights of good life, which demands social institutions not to violate human rights, by rendering fairly to each person rights for human flourishing with a cross-culturally shared conception of minimal justice in securing rights for basic goods for flourishing (Pogge). First, in terms of the sacredness of human person, my comparison shows how both Augustine and Xunzi grounds the person’s evaluative, volitional capability on her relation to some divine reality, having strong commitment for securing access to good, worthwhile life while resorting to social institutions to protect it from diverse disvalued forms of values, desires, sociality. Second, in terms of the cross-cultural criteria of minimal justice and culture specific conceptions, this comparison also show how both Augustine and Xunzi developed their views on securing rights for basic goods subservient for person’s flourishing such as the rights for ethical worldview, socio-political participation, and various physical goods, economic participation and education, with different value-orientations organizing different goods.

Co-sponsored with the Philosophy of Religions Workshop. Refreshments will be provided.