Faculty Scholarship

In additition to teaching, RELS faculty are renowned researchers!  Here's an overview of their recent scholarly accomplishments:

While on sabbatical this year, Prof. Holmes-Tagchungdarpa had time to dedicate herself fully to researching and writing her new book on Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist material culture in the age of the anthropocene. A new article from this research, "The Book as a Generative Agent: The Buddhist Canon as a Community Member in Book Procession Rituals of the Himalayas" was published in the journal MAVCOR. The article explored rituals in which books from the Buddhist canon act as agents in Himalayan communities as they are carried around villages, bringing protection, nourishment, and healing to the human and nonhuman communities resident in the landscape. The article specifically focused on procession rituals (known as bumkor) in west Sikkim, and the continued significance of these rituals as climate change leads to changing rain patterns and crop blight

Prof. Michael Amoruso is in the final stages of preparing his book manuscript, Moved by the Dead: Haunting, Devotion, and Cultural Heritage in Urban Brazil, which is under advance contract with UNC Press. An ethnography of the devotion to souls (devoção às almas or culto das almas) in São Paulo, the book locates the practice of praying to the suffering dead within the city’s shifting cultural geography to explore the intersection of religion and race in public struggles over memory and representation. Across five chapters, it explores how the practice sustains the memory of social violence—especially against black Brazilians—and motivates religious, affective, and political movement.

Prof. Upson-Saia is putting the finishing touches on a new sourcebook, Medicine, Health, and Healing in Ancient Greece and Rome (under contract with University of California Press). The book introduces readers to ancient Mediterranean approaches to health and healing, with an emphasis on epidemiological conditions, the perspectives of sick and suffering people, and the array of healing theories and techniques employed. The book provides readers with approximately 50 fresh translations of ancient sources, alongside material, archaeological, visual, and scientific evidence. You can hear her talking about ancient medicine in her guest appearance on the BBC podcast: “You’re Dead to Me: Ancient Greek and Roman Medicine

Prof. Upson-Saia also continues to serve as Director of ReMeDHe (pronounced “remedy”), an international working group on medicine, health, and healing.  And is a member of the editorial board for a new book series, Religon, Medicine, and Health in Late Antiquity (Routledge Press).  

Finally, congratulations to Prof. Upson-Saia on being awarded the David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professorship in Religion.