In additition to teaching, RELS faculty are busy conducting their own research.
Prof. Wright is serving on the Advisory Board for the Enhancing Life Project at the University of Chicago, an interdisciplinary project on ways to enhance the qualities of human and non-human life through the 21st century. Tricycle: The Buddhist Review has published his collaborative study with artist Tom Wudl entitled:“ The Avatamsaka Sutra in Art: Reflections on the Flowerbank World,” and an essay on religion and a-theism in Buddhism entitled "Religion Resurrected: Moving Beyond Theism and Atheism." Insight Journal has published an essay of Wright's, “A Philosophical Assessment of Secular Buddhism,” and an essay entitled “Historical Consciousness, Reflexivity, and Freedom,” has appeared in the volume, Theological Reflections and the Pursuit of Ideals.
Wright gave a lecture entitled “Where Do You Stand When You Take a Stand for Social Justice? Buddhist Reflections” at the 4th Annual Leadership Conference Exploring Vocation, Spirituality, and Social Justice, and will present lectures in the summer of 2015 at the Zen Center of San Francisco and the Ancient Dragon Zen Center in Chicago. He is working on a book to be entitled, What is Enlightenment? Exploration in Contemporary Buddhist Thought.
As a follow-up to her first book, Early Christian Dress, Prof. Upson-Saia co-edited a volume on religious dress in antiquity, Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity. She also authored a chapter in that volume on why some early Christian desert ascetics are represented as excessively hairy (see cover image to the right). She continues here work on wounds and disability in antiquity and has started a new project on garden metaphors in early Christian literature, interested particularly in the figuring of theh early Christian virgins as a "garden enclosed." She will present this new research at the Oxford Patristics conference in August.
Collaborating with Dr. Heidi Marx-Wolf (University of Manitoba), Prof. Upson-Saia launched the ReMeDHe working group, bringing together international scholars who study the intersections of Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in Late Antiquity. They have organized paper panels or workshops at the North American Patristic Society , the American Academy of Religion, and the Oxford Patristics conferences and they are serving as guest editors for a special issue that will be published on these topics in the Fall.
Prof. Upson-Saia served as the guest editor for a special issue of TransFORMATIONS: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy on “Teaching and Religion.” An interview she conducted (as part of the Teacher's Talk feature of the issue) with three trans* faculty members each of whom teach Religious Studies, teach at a religious university, and serve as Chaplain at a university was recently nominated for the Sylvia Rivera award in Transgender Studies.
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