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Faculty Seminar: Faiths and Ferocity

Genocide Studies and Interreligious Studies: Comparative Pedagogical and Research Approaches

July 11-14, 2022 |  Baltimore, Maryland 

The ICJS inaugural Faculty Seminar brought together scholars working in universities and seminaries who research and/or teach in Interreligious Studies or Genocide Studies. We examined encounters between these two areas of study and considered how methodological approaches in both fields can challenge and enrich one another in our teaching and scholarship. 

As interreligious studies programs emerge in seminaries and in U.S. institutions of higher learning, there has been a concerted effort by scholars in a variety of disciplines to define this new field.​​ These programs include courses in the general humanities, as well as in peace and violence prevention programs. In addition to scholars of religions, political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, historians, ethnicists, psychologists, anthropologists, among others have been trying to understand the complicated role of religion in both fomenting violence as well as bringing about reconciliation. An important area of study, in this regard, is genocide studies, which is also a complex, mulitdisciplianary field of study.

By bringing these two areas of study together in this seminar, scholars in both fields of study opened up new questions in their respective scholarly inquiries, as well as explore new pedagogical approaches toward addressing violence and reconciliation in interreligious encounters. 

This program was made possible with funds from the Kathryn Kelley Hoskins Memorial Fund at ICJS

 

Illustration credit: “And where can I turn to if it’s my turn?” by Sheila Lefebvre (6th grader, 1994), Remember.org

Read Q&A with Ben Sax

Instructors

Benjamin E. Sax, Ph.D.

ICJS Jewish Scholar  

Dr. Sax is an experienced professor, university administrator, scholar, award-winning teacher, public speaker, and practitioner and facilitator of interreligious dialogue. He was director of the Malcolm and Diane Rosenberg Program in Judaic Studies and the founding faculty principal at the West Ambler Johnston Residential College at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr. Sax holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (B.A., Social Thought and Political Economy), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (M.A., Jewish Thought), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., History of Judaism). Dr. Sax has published on topics relating to Jewish philosophy, German-Jewish history and culture, Jewish-Christian relations, and interreligious dialogue. He co-chairs the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit at American Academy of Religion (AAR). 

Kate E. Temoney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Religion, Montclair State University 

Dr. Temoney is the co-chair of the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit of the American Academy of Religion, as well as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust. She holds degrees from Wake Forest University (B.A., Psychology ), The College of William & Mary (M.Ed., Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership), and Florida State University (M.A., Ph.D., Religion). Trained as a comparative religious ethicist, she teaches courses on Religious Ethics, the Holocaust, African Religions, Jewish Applied Ethics, Religions of the World, and Religion & Human Rights. Dr. Temoney’s international publications and presentations—in such places as Brazil, Cambodia, Poland, Belgium, Morocco, Canada, and Australia—address the intersections of religion, human rights, and mass atrocities. 

 

Participants

Jeffrey Carlson

Jeffrey Carlson is Professor of Theology at Dominican University in suburban Chicago. In June 2022, he ended 20 years of administrative appointments at Dominican—15 years as Dean of the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences followed by five years as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Before that, he spent 13 years at DePaul University in Chicago—as a faculty member and then Chair of the Religious Studies Department, before becoming Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. He has published in the areas of theological method, interfaith dialogue, the historical Jesus and Christian faith, integrative learning, and experiential learning. Recent publications include “Against Being Inclusive” (Liberal Education), “Building and Assessing a Culture of Interfaith Learning” (Diversity & Democracy), and “Do You Love Us? Higher Education as an Interfaith Conversation about the Good Life” in Hearing Vocation Differently: Meaning and Purpose in the Multi-Faith Academy (Oxford University Press). He has just concluded service on the board of the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area and is Trustee Emeritus, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Spencer Dew

Spencer Dew is Associate Teaching Faculty in Comparative Studies / African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University and Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Kenyon College. He is the author, most recently, of The Aliites: Race and Law in the Religions of Noble Drew Ali (University of Chicago Press, 2019) and is currently writing a book on the contemporary Taino movement.

Jason Hensley

Jason Hensley, Ph.D., teaches the Holocaust, history, and religious studies at Gratz College and California Lutheran University. He is a fellow of the Michael LaPrade Holocaust Education Institute of the Anti-Defamation League, a member of Civic Spirit’s teacher education cohort, and the award-winning author of 10 books. His work has been featured in The Huffington Post as well as the BBC, and he has served as the historical advisor for a Holocaust documentary. Read an ICJS Q&A with Jason here.

Tim Langille

Tim Langille is a Senior Lecturer at Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS). His areas of expertise are Hebrew Bible, Jewish history, genocide studies, and trauma and memory. He has taught courses on Jewish memory, Jewish civilization and culture, Intro to Judaism, Hebrew Bible, early Judaisms, biblical Hebrew, ancient Israel, the Holocaust, comparative genocide, religion, nationalism, and ethnic conflict, and methods and theory in Jewish and Holocaust studies. He has participated in summer institutes and seminars at the Holocaust Education Foundation (Northwestern University), Zoryan Institute (University of Toronto), and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  He is on the board of directors for both Genocide Awareness Week and the Phoenix Holocaust Association.    

Stanley Jenkins, Jr.

As a native Baltimorean, Stanley Jenkins Jr. obtained a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Morgan State University, a Master of Arts in history from the same institution, and a Master of Arts in theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University. As an African American, a former Christian minister, and a retired law enforcement professional, Mr. Jenkins has observed the debilitating effects of racism, individual and collective forms of violence, and closed-minded thinking. This trifecta of social maladies constitutes the research interests that Mr. Jenkins explored in graduate school. In his capacity as an instructor of World Religions at Morgan State University, he engaged students in critical discourse(s) about the intersections of religious texts, ideas, and practices, with systems of social inequality (racism, sexism), and violence in various forms (genocide and war). Mr. Jenkins recently served as the Community Engagement Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and the City and is currently a digitization intern with the Beulah M. Davis Special Collections in the Earl S. Richardson Library at Morgan State University.

Julia McStravog

Julia McStravog has a BA & MA in Theology.  She is a doctor of theology candidate at La Salle University; her research focuses on the Catholic theology of dialogue. She is currently a consultant for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for the 2021-2023 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. She previously worked for Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prior to that, Julia staffed the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the USCCB. She is a 2017 Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) Seminary Fellow, a 2019 Buber Scholar at the International Conference of Christians and Jews, and a member of the USCCB-National Council of Synagogues Catholic-Jewish Dialogue.

Elliot Ratzman

Elliot Ratzman holds the Chair in Jewish Studies at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Before returning to his roots in the Midwest, Ratzman taught at colleges around the Philadelphia area for more than a decade. He teaches courses on social justice, modern religion, and comparative racisms and antiracisms. His book project, “Zipporah’s Knife: A Jewish Reckoning with Race” addresses dilemmas of antiracism and Jewish social ethics in the U.S., Europe, and Israel/Palestine since 1967. Ratzman also is involved with organizations dedicated to Middle East peace, global health care equity, and economic justice. He is a contributing editor to Religious Socialism, and is involved with Bend the Arc-Jewish Action. 

Hillel Gray

Miami University

Kate Kelly Middleton

Kate Kelly Middleton is a PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow in Religion and Culture at Catholic University of America’s School of Theology and Religious Studies. Her research interests focus on interreligious study and comparative theology, with her doctoral work applying a Muslim and Catholic comparative theological framework of hope and fear to analyze contemporary problem sets. As a 2021 FASPE (Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) Fellow, Middleton engaged historical case studies of injustice, studying religious actors and communities–both perpetrators and resistors–and the role religious traditions play in cultivating and operationalizing particular forms of hope and fear. Middleton also studied through the Washington Theological Consortium, receiving a certificate in Muslim & Christian Studies, participating in the ICJS/WTC 2022 Emerging Muslim-Christian Leaders inaugural cohort, and training through Georgetown University’s interfaith Clinical Pastoral Education program. She is a former U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer and holds degrees from the United States Naval Academy (BS), Marquette University (MA, Christian Doctrine), and the Catholic University of America (MA; PhD Candidate, Religion and Culture).