Luke Bretherton Workshops Current Manuscript with Religion and its Publics

On Friday, January 19, the Luce Project on Religion and its Publics welcomed Luke Bretherton, Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke Divinity School, to workshop his current manuscript in-progress, Christ and the Common Life: A Guide to Political Theology (Eerdmans).

Date: January 19, 2018

Jennifer Herdt Visits Religion and its Publics to Discuss Current Book Project

On September 29, the Luce Project on Religion and its Publics welcomed Jennifer Herdt, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, to discuss her work in progress, Forming Humanity. What does it mean to hold ‘humanity’ itself as our telos? What does this have to do with aesthetic and ethical formation? And why is this a deeply political claim? Ruminating over these questions with Professor Herdt in a day-long workshop produced substantive conversation, enlightening for the many participants and useful for Professor Herdt as she revises the work for publication.

Date: September 29, 2017

Faith in the Struggle: Christianity & White Supremacy

The Luce Project on Religion and its Publics hosted a vibrant public discussion to reflect on the tragic and violent events over the weekend of August 11th and 12th that occurred in our home town of Charlottesville, VA. It was held in St. Paul’s Memorial Church – the venue where clergy and other peace activists gathered on the evening of the 11th as white nationalists marched outside. It focused on the role and responsibility of people of faith to tackle white supremacy theologically, intellectually, culturally – and how to continue to move forward with a new, invigorated religious-based activism.

The five-member panel included the Reverend Brenda Brown-Grooms, co-pastor of New Beginnings Christian Communities; Charlottesville Vice-Mayor, Dr. Wes Bellamy; the Reverend Seth Wispelwey, co-founder of Congregate Charlottesville; Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Virginia; and Dr. Jalane Schmidt, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. It was chaired by John Edwin Mason, Professor of History at UVA.

Date: September 27, 2017

Senior Fellows Meet for Summer Seminar

Twelve of our Senior Fellows gathered for a week of rich and wide-ranging discussion as part of our ongoing seminar series on religion in public life. They were joined by Slate journalist, Jamelle Bouie, PRRI’s Carolyn Davis and Stephen Colecchi from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Summer Seminar began on Monday morning with a discussion of Didier Fassin’s Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present. Following lunch, the group discussed Rita Felski’s The Limits of Critique. These two books served as “shared texts” for the week, common readings engaged by participating scholars to help initiate and drive conversation. Themes from the books re-emerged throughout the week, and The Limits of Critique again became the object of attention when Rita Felski, Willam R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at U.Va., spoke to the group on Wednesday.

Beyond these books, the group also read four works, in different stages of development, by scholars in the group. For the first manuscript workshop, held on Monday, the group focused on an introductory chapter of an evolving book project on black fatherhood by Vincent Lloyd. The next day, the group turned its attention to the first chapter of William Wood’s book on analytic theology and the academic study of religion, which is nearing completion. On Wednesday, the scholars looked at a project in its earliest stages, a draft of a book proposal by Darlene Weaveron moral failure. Finally, on Thursday, the group turned to the preface and introduction to Patience: A Theological Exploration, by Paul Jones – another book nearing completion.

Prominent figures from outside of academia came to speak during the week as well. Two of these guests, Stephen Colecchi and Carolyn Davis, work at the intersection of religion and public life. Colecchi, Director of the Office of Justice and Peace for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on Tuesday of the global work and priorities of the Catholic Church. Davis, Director of Strategic Engagement for Public Religion Research Institution, described PRRI’s gathering and organizing of data on religious attitudes. She also talked about using her academic background – a Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt – to influence the public policy arena. Finally, Jamelle Bouie, Chief Political Correspondent for Slate and Political Analyst for CBS News, visited the group on Thursday afternoon. He discussed his work as a writer and thinker committed to analyzing and confronting the resurgence of racism in American political life.

Read graduate student Evan Sandsmark’s analysis on the summer seminar here.

Date: July 17, 2017–July 21, 2017
Location: University of Virginia, Charlottesville


Senior Fellows Meet in Washington, D.C.

Our Senior Fellows have gathered in D.C. for a weekend of wide-ranging discussion on neoliberalism and democracy, religion and politics, and to explore the varied ways in which scholars can build bridges between disciplines, the academy and the media, and engage multiple publics in urgent conversations about religion, society and the common good.

Date: April 8, 2017
Location: Washington, D.C.



Q&A with William Antholis

Director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at UVa, William Antholis will meet with religious studies undergraduates over lunch to discuss careers for those interested in religion and politics.



Date: March 27, 2017
Time: 12:30 – 2pm
Location: Nau 342


Dr. Paul Griffiths – Christian Flesh

Dr Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke, will be visiting UVA on Friday, March 3rd, for a manuscript workshop. The workshop will center on his short new book manuscript, Christian Flesh

Date: March 3, 2017
Time: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Nau 441


Dr. Peter Kaufman – Augustine and Agamben

Dr. Peter Kaufman, George Matthews & Virginia Brinkley Modlin Chair in Leadership Studies at University of Richmond, visited UVa to workshop his new manuscript, “Citizens/Pilgrims: Augustine and Agamben.”

Date: February 24, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Wilson 133


Dr. Wendy Doniger – The Subversion of Dharma

The Project is excited to have assisted with the hosting of Dr Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at University of Chicago, for a lecture on February 10th, titled, “The Subversion of Dharma in the Ancient Indian Texts of Sex and Politics.”

Date: February 10, 2017
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Nau Hall, 342


Dr. Philip Gorski – American Covenant

Dr Philip Gorksi, Professor of Sociology at Yale University, visited UVA to discuss his upcoming book, American Covenant.

Date: February 2, 2017
Time: 12:30 – 2pm
Location: Nau 441


Dr. Stanley Hauerwas – Character and the Good Life

The Project is pleased to have hosted Dr Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Divinity and Law, Duke University, for a conversation on “character” and “the good life.”

Date: December 8, 2016
Time: 12 – 2 PM
Location: Nau Hall 342