In additition to teaching, RELS faculty are busy conducting their own research.
Prof. Wright has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the National Conference of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, a gathering of all the Soto Zen teachers in this country. Because this year begins their independence from the Soto school of Zen in Japan, they have adopted as their conference theme “The Future of Soto Zen in America—Taking the Reins in our own Hands.” Prof. Wright’s talk will address the future direction for Buddhist philosophy in the setting of American culture. In addition to several scholarly other projects underway, Prof. Wright will continue to work on his first engagement in “creative writing.” He is composing a philosophical dialogue set in Eagle Rock between four friends in their 30’s—two Buddhists and two not—who discuss and debate questions of the meaning of their lives in contemporary society.
Last summer, Prof. Upson-Saia published her first book, entitled Early Christian Dress: Gender, Virtue, and Authority (Routledge Press). As a follow-up to this research, she is working with two Canadian scholars to co-edit a volume on religious dress in late antiquity. She is also conducting research on four additional projects: 1) an article investigating why some early Christian desert ascetics are represented as excessively hairy (either possessing long beards that reach down to their feet and that cover their genitalia or possessing hair that covers their entire bodies so that they resemble beasts); 2) an article analyzing the young boy Jesus’ anger in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas; 3) an article analyzing the use of “wound” and “scar” figures in Paul’s letter to the Galatians; and 4) a chapter entitled, “Transgressing Gender” for the Oxford Handbook of Gender in Early Christianity.
Prof. Naylor is a founding member of the Steering Committee for the Consultation on Religion in Public Schools: International Perspectives (a committee of the American Academy of Religion). The Consultation explores the diverse issues, problems and dilemmas associated with teaching about religion in public schools worldwide. The Steering Committee reviews proposals for papers and designs panels presented at annual meetings of the AAR. Recent papers have addressed topics such as the Toledo (Spain) Guidelines on Religious Education, the European Commission’s REDco Project on teaching religions and values, and Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture Curriculum. Scholars have presented case studies from Tunisia to Denmark to Japan to South Africa along with sustained attention to religion education in the USA.
Professor Moazzam-Doulat's recent work includes an examination of the roots of torture and its relationship to colonialism and Islamophobia. He examined the involvement of medical professionals in the "enhanced interrogation" program of the "War on Terror" in a talk delivered at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 2010. To be published later this year, he also wrote an article entitled "Art as Alibi in the Age of Surveillance" coming out in The Nature Drawings of Peter Karklins later this year. Currently, he is preparing an essay on Nietzsche's idea of the eternal return of the same to be delivered at Depaul University in the Spring of 2012.
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