Fall 2002 Newsletter
Department of Religion, UGA



UGA Religion MA graduate Jawad A. Qureshi was awarded a 2002-2003 Fulbright scholarship for research in Syria. He is studying at Damascus University with a focus on the 18th-century manuscripts of the Islamic scholar Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi. He completed his thesis, The Book of Errors:Critical Edition and Study of Kitab al Aghalit by Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sulami, with his major professor Kenneth Honerkamp in summer 2002.

New Courses Introduced: Native American Cultures and Buddhist Rituals
Taught by Dr. Glenn Wallis, Buddhist Ritual Practices (RELI 4405/6405) explores the variety of ritual practices employed by Buddhists around the world. It examines both ritual studies generally and Buddhist rituals in specific.
A variety of practices from several traditions is examined: meditation, visualization, mandala liturgies, mantra and text places, image veneration, stages of the path, and initiation. The Buddhist Tradition (RELI 4401/6401) and 3rd year standing are prerequisites.
Dr. Jace Weaver will teach Methods in the Study of Native American Culture (RELI 4700/6700).The course provides an examination of the various methods used to study Native American cultures and religious traditions, including history, anthropology, literature, and history of religions. Introduction to Religion in Native American Cultures (RELI 2004) and 3rd year standing are prerequisites.

Fantasy tales in literature is a common thread for two diverse spring 2003 Religion courses: one on Chinese literature and another on contemporary Christian works.
Dr. Russell Kirkland has introduced Dimensions of Reality in Chinese Tales as a new course for Topics in Asian Religions (RELI 4910/6910). The course explores the interrelationships of all the realms of being — animal, human, divine, and demonic —as told through traditional Chinese tales and stories. It draws upon perspectives found in Taoist traditions and some work of 20th century Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Texts include two works by Victor Mair —Strange Tales
from Make-Do Studio
and Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang-tzu.
When Christian writers explore the Christian life and how identity and community are formed in it in the modern world,they often turn to fantasy literature. Religion and Fantasy is the topic for the department ’s freshman seminar Honors session with Dr. Carolyn Medine. The seminar explores the relationship between Christianity and fantasy literature in the works of the Inklings and others. Literature incorporated includes C.S.Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, and Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time.

Religion Department Head David S. Williams has accepted a four-year term as a Senior Faculty Fellow for the Foundation Fellows program. He will serve as a mentor and role model to students in the university ’s premier undergraduate scholarship program. The Foundation Fellows Program was established in 1972 by the trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation and is supported by a $46 million endowment. Currently, there are 92 students in the fellowship.

The audio-visual closet and the graduate student computer lab area were renovated summer 2002 with department funds. Workmen from UGA Physical Plant built new walls,repaired the ceiling,and installed new lighting,doors,and carpeting. Allocations from student technology funds enabled the department to outfit the lab with two new computers. The department ’s audio-visual equipment now includes a DVD player and an LCD projector for classroom use.

Associate Professor Russell Kirkland is currently completing work on a book entitled Taoism: The Enduring Tradition, to be published by Routledge. He served this past year as East Asia area editor for Religious Studies Review, and remains on the boards of directors of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions, the U. S. Taoist Association, and the Southeast Early China Roundtable, as well as on the steering committee of the Chinese Religions group of the American Academy of Religion. At UGA, Dr. Kirkland has been elected to the faculty of the Environmental Ethics Program, and has resumed the post of undergraduate coordinator for the Religion department. He also remains the moderator of the UGA chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for theology and religious studies.

Associate Professor Alan Godlas is in his second year on the steering committee of the Islamic Studies section of the national American Academy of Religion. He’s currently active in planning for the UGA Center for Humanities and Arts conference Central Asia and Change: A Symposium, scheduled for February 19-21, 2003.
In October, his paper "The Significance of Surrender today and in the Qur'an Commentary of Ruzbihan al-Baqli" was accepted for publication in the Beacon of Knowledge volume in honor of Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. In September, he was interviewed about the teaching of Islam after 9/11 for a Voice of America radio show. In August, he was a consultant to the Brookings Institution for a project on Islam in America.
Dr. Godlas received an invitation from His Highness The Aga Khan to attend a private concert of Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble at the Library of Congress in June. He was awarded a travel grant from the UGA International Studies Office to represent the university at the Washington, D.C. event. Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jim Lehrer, and Queen Noor of Jordan also attended.
June marked the first time Dr. Godlas was on television. He served as the moderator for two panel discussions — "Can Islamic culture be modernized?" and "What is Islam's contribution to World Civilization” — featuring prominent scholars of Islamic studies for the program "Debates, Debates" at HBO Studios in New York.
In April Dr. Godlas' web site www.uga.edu/islam was one of five web sites internationally nominated for a Webby Award in the category of spirituality. The Webby awards are considered the Oscars for web sites. Two other spirituality nominees were the Vatican and Beliefnet, the largest commercial interfaith web site (which won in the end). In June he attended the "Hollywood style" Webby awards ceremony in San Francisco. He also received congratulatory letters about his web site from UGA President Michael Adams and USG Chancellor Thomas Meredith.

Assistant Professor Glenn Wallis recently published a book on Indian Buddhist ritual practice entitled Mediating the Power of Buddhas (State University of New York Press, Albany, 2002). He also had an article published on Buddhist ‘incantation,’ called “The Buddha’s Remains: mantra in the Manjusrimulakalpa” (Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 2001/1) and recently published two book reviews in The International Journal of Hinduism.
Dr. Wallis is currently working on a book, Fields of Bliss: Agency and Authority in Indian Buddhist Ritual Literature, that analyzes the strategies employed by Buddhist instruction manuals in medieval India to form particular types of practitioners. A chapter from this book, “Advayavajra’s Instructions on the adikarma,” was submitted to The Journal of the American Oriental Society. He remains a manuscript evaluator for SUNY Press.

Professor Sandy D. Martin was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Humanities committee to review Graduate School applications. Dr. Martin has two articles in press: an encyclopedia article on African American Christianity for American Religion and Culture, Gary Laderman, ed. and “African American Protestant Women” in Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, edited by Rosemary Keller, et al. He also authored an entry in Baptist Studies Bulletin (October 2002) on Progressive National Baptist Convention. He recently completed a manuscript review for Mercer University Press and has another in progress for University Press of Florida.
In a forthcoming issue of Journal of the American Academy of Religion is a review by Dr. Martin covering two books: Social Protest Thought in the African Methodist Episcopal Church,1862-1939 (Stephen W. Angell and Anthony B. Pinn, eds. University of Tennessee Press, 2000) and Disciples of Liberty: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Age of Imperialism, 1884-1916 (Lawrence S. Little. University of Tennessee Press, 2000).
In press for late 2002 publication is an article on African American missionaries in Africa during the 19th century for: Klaus Koschorke (ed.), Transkontinentale Beziehungen in der Geschichte des Aussereuropäischen Christentums (Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika) / Transcontinental Links in the History of Non-Western Christianity (Asia, Africa, Latin America) (StAECG, Vol. 6), Wiesbaden 2002.
Dr. Martin participated as a presenter and panel moderator at the Conference on Baptist Classics in Early America at Mercer University, September 2002. He also made presentations and served as moderator/presider at the Fund for Theological Education Conference for Minority Doctoral Students at Harvard Divinity School, June 2002. In spring 2002 he participated in an external tenure review for Macalaster College.
On the UGA campus, Dr. Martin is a member of Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Tenure and Promotion Committee for the Humanities and a member of Dean's Forum, a cooperative enterprise involving the two deans and a number of faculty from the colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences. He is in his final year of a three-year term on The University of Georgia Press editorial board.

Professor William L. Power has published “Myth and Pragmatic Semiotics” in an edited volume of essays on philosophical perspectives on myth titled Thinking Through Myths, (Kevin Schilbrack, ed. Routledge, 2002). Currently in press is an essay entitled “God” as lead article in a volume on process theology. Two other articles by Dr. Power will appear as chapters in books. One is on various criticisms of Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of God and the world. The other article is the introductory chapter of collected papers presented at the University of South Carolina on Philosophy of Religion at the Turn of the 21st Century. In addition, Dr. Power is a participant on the spring 2003 program of the annual Society for Philosophy of Religion.

Professor David S. Williams was appointed department head in May 2002. In July he served on the seven-member UGA team which attended the week-long American Academy of Higher Education conference in Vermont; the team prepared a detailed plan to maintain quality in UGA satellite campuses and other distance learning settings. During the summer he also served on the Provost’s Ad Hoc Undergraduate Credit Hour Committee, which made several recommendations concerning ways to increase credit hour production at UGA and time to completion of degree programs.
Three biblical commentaries on 1, 2, and 3 Maccabees written by Dr. Williams for the New Interpreter’s Study Bible remain in press, as well as an article entitled “Recent Research on 2 Maccabees,” an invited piece which will appear in Currents in Research: Biblical Studies. Dr. Williams received a contract in June from the UGA Press to author a book entitled A History of Religion in Georgia. He is currently working on that project and finishing an article on the literary structure of 2 Maccabees for Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies.
Dr. Williams serves in the University Council and the Graduate Council and on a number of campus committees, including the Ad Hoc Committee on the Gwinnett Center, the Graduate School Program Committee, and the Book Subvention Committee of the Humanities Center. He chairs the university’s Strategic Planning Committee, as well as the Fine and Applied Arts University Review Committee for Promotion and Tenure.


2002-2003 Speakers Series
“(Mis)Perceptions on the Social Setting of the Apocalypse to John” with Dr. Thomas B. Slater was the opening colloquia presented September 24, 2002. Dr. Carolyn J. Medine presented “Eve's Bayou, The Apostle, and Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January Novels: Imagining Religion in Louisiana” on October 15.
On November 7, Dr. John Randolph LeBlanc presented “The Politics of Statelessness: Edward Said and the Ambiguities of Liberal Nationalism.” On November 8, Dr. Allan Y. Cohen presented “Drugs, Altered States of Consciousness, and Spirituality.”
Additional speakers are invited for spring semester 2003. The 2002-2003 Speakers Series is organized by the Department of Religion Special Affairs Committee (Emily R. Cheney, chair; Ken Honerkamp; Alan Godlas).

Contributions in support of the Religion department are diligently sought and gratefully accepted. A very small development fund exists for our department. We need your UGA donation, designated for Religion department, to make it grow. Contributions are tax deductible. Mail your designated contribution to: UGA Foundation, Foundation Building, Gift Receiving Department, 824 South Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30602. Donors of gifts of $35 or more will receive two publications: The Franklin Chronicle and The Georgia Magazine. Please contact the Franklin College Development office at (706) 542-1168 for additional information.

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