News

  • Two articles about the Department of Comparative Religion visits to Kalamazoo Islamic Center have been published by WMU student Farhan Iqbal. See MLive and Muslim Observer.

  • Congratulations to our 2014 award winning comparative religion students:

    • Xandra Duelge, Presidential Scholar

    • Eric Mendes, Graduate Research And Creative Scholars Award

    • Kyle Byron, Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award

    • Danton Lloyd, Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence

    • Megan Leverage, Graduate Award for Academic Excellence

    • Eric Mendes, Graduate Student Make A Difference Award

  • On March 21, Dr. Tisa Wenger, assistant professor at the Yale Divinity School, spoke on "Race, Racism, and Religious Freedom in US History."
  • Rudolf Siebert weighs in on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
  • Drs. Covell and Wilson published an article on the current and proposed directions of graduate teacher training at Western Michigan University.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian C. Wilson on his publication: "The Dawn of a New Denomination," Michigan History 96:6 (November/December, 2012), pp. 43-49. In this article, Wilson tells the story of how Seventh-Day Adventism adopted its name, formalized its structure, and built its first brick-and-mortar institutions in Battle Creek, Mich.
  • "Interpreting the Qur'an in America: The Text and Context of Revelation"
    presented by Dr. Tina Howe, Northwestern University. University Center for the Humanities. Friday, Dec. 14, 10:30 a.m.
  • "Islam and Environment: Belief and Practice on American Muslim Farms"
    This talk was delivered on Dec. 7 by Dr. Eleanor Finnegan, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Coastal Carolina University.
  • "From the Mosque to the Municipality: The Ethics of Muslim Space in a Michigan City"
    A lecture presented on Dec. 3 by Alisa Perkins, University of Texas-Austin.
  • "Religious Politics in 2012: Separating Church and State" 
    On Nov. 5, Drs. Brian Wilson and Blain Auer delivered this lecture and discussion on religion and political influence in 2012. This discussion was held at the Trimpe Building's Multicultural Center.
  • "New insights in the study of vernacular Bible translation in the Middle Ages: the Biblia medieval corpus and website"
    On Nov. 8 Andrés Enrique-Arias from the Universitat de les Illes Barlears, Spain delivered this lecture, which discussed the progression of Biblical translation. The University Center for the Humanities sponsored this lecture.
  • "The Flower Arrangement Rite of Yakushiji"
    On Thursday, Nov. 15, Drs. Koichi Matsuo and Asuka Sango presented a film screening of "The Flower Arrangement Rite of Yakushiji" and opened the floor for discussion. This screening was sponsored by the Department of Comparative Religion, Soga Japan Center, and the Japan Foundation.
  • In his book, Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam, Blain H. Auerinvestigates the ways three historians living in India during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries narrated the religious values of Muslim sovereigns through the process of history writing. This book will be indispensable for all those interested in Islamic studies, history, religion, politics, and South Asia. Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam: History, Religion and Muslim Legitimacy in the Delhi Sultanate: I.B. Tauris, 2012
  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian Wilson for being selected as a Fulbright Specialist, joining Dr. Wanner on this prestigious list. Dr. Brian Wilson, professor of comparative religion, has been approved as a candidate for the Fulbright Specialists Roster by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. 

    Lydia Walker
     received the 2011-12 Department Scholar Award and the 2011-12 All-University Scholar Award, one of the highest honors the University bestows on graduate students. Scott Watson has been awarded the departmental Graduate Teacher Award for 2011-12 and Nadia Tremonti received the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Congratulations to M.A. students Eric M. Bowler and Alfredo Hernandez Corsen, who presented at the 118th Annual Conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters at Alma College on March 2. Bowler's paper, "Innocent's Interdicts: An Examination of the Medieval Papacy's Religious Authority" and Corsen's "The Illusion of Common Identity" were delivered to the Religious Studies section, presided over by Professor Brian C. Wilson, who also presented his own work, "The Rise and Fall of the Temple of Health: Religion, Medicine, and the Battle Creek Sanitarium."
  • "Neither Radical Nor Secular: The West Struggles with the New Islamism" by Dr. Blain Auer, assistant professor, was published in Religion Dispatches. His forthcoming book, Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam: History, Religion, and Muslim Legitimacy in the Delhi Sultanate, will be published by I. B. Tauris Press in May.
  • The 2012 Religion and Culture Study Abroad Seminar took participants to three Japanese locations: Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities and a center of religious and culture life both modern and traditional; Nikko, a cultural heritage site near Tokyo; and Kyoto, a city famous for its ancient temples.  In Tokyo participants stayed at Zojoji, a temple located just under Tokyo Tower.  They traveled to the HQ of new religions, to Shinto shrines, museums and received behind the scenes tours of Buddhist temples. A past student said, “I have learned more and been exposed to more Buddhism than is possible in a lifetime of reading and studying in the United States.” 
  • Japanese studies has received $140,000 in grant funding from the Japan Foundation's Institutional Project Support Program. The grant application was written by Stephen Covell, department chair and director of WMU's Michitoshi Soga Japan Center, and Jeffrey Angles, associate professor of Japanese languages and literature.
  • Dr. Stephen Covell, professor and chair, shares his lifelong obsessions with martial arts and Japan, and how they led him to study Japanese religion.Covell tells of his early passions, and the growing importance of the Michitoshi Soga Japan Center in southwest Michigan.
  • Congratulations to Lydia Walker for receiving a $700 travel award from the graduate college and a $600 supplemental international travel grant from the Graduate Student Advisory Committee. Lydia will present a paper, “The ‘Scepter of the Jews’ in Riccoldo da Monte Croce’s Ad nationes orientale,” at the Mediterranean Studies Association International Congress in Corfu, Greece.
  • Congratulations to these award winners:

          Brittany Tovar - Presidential Scholar and Phi Betta Kappa
          Sean Butler - Graduate College, Department Scholar Award
          Jason Aiello - Graduate College, Department Graduate Teachers Award
          Scott Watson - Department of Comparative Religion Award for Academic Excellence

  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian Wilson for being selected to receive a College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Award in Professional and Community Service. The award was created as a result of the College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Plan to recognize faculty contributions to the service goals of the College. (March 2011)