Taylor Symposium at IUPUI shares city’s religious diversity through performances

2015 Joseph T. Taylor Symposium Flyer

2015 Joseph T. Taylor Symposium Flyer

The practice of one’s religion isn’t limited to beliefs and sacred texts, according to contemporary religious studies scholars.

The 2015 Joseph T. Taylor Symposium at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers participants the opportunity to explore Indianapolis’ religious diversity through performances inherent in the practices of various religious groups.

The symposium, “Encountering Religions Through Performance,” takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.
“Much of the recent scholarship on religion has emphasized that religious traditions are not just about beliefs and texts,” said IU School of Liberal Arts professor Peter Thuesen, event co-organizer and chair of the Department of Religious Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

“Religions are also expressed through performances. These performances may involve such activities as singing, dancing, drumming or chanting, but they can also consist of devotional rituals observed either publicly or privately,” Thuesen said.
Symposium presenters include:

  • Light of the World Gospel Ensemble
  • Mohamad Saltagi, an IU School of Medicine student who has memorized the entire Quran
  • Anil Bajpai, Hindu Temple of Central Indiana board of trustees member

In lieu of a luncheon speaker, Sancocho Music will perform and participate in a facilitated discussion. Sancocho is dedicated to researching and performing African-derived music and dance from Spanish-speaking cultures of the Caribbean.

“We’re thrilled with the lineup of speakers and performers. … And we’ve paired each guest with one of our own religious studies professors, who will serve as moderator and interviewer,” Thuesen said. “Each session will be like a mini introduction to what we study in the field of religious studies.”

The 2015 Taylor symposium is presented by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in partnership with its Department of Religious Studies. The annual event honors the late Joseph T. Taylor, the first dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, for his many contributions to the university and to the greater Indianapolis community. The event highlights topics of interest to urban communities, particularly communities of color.
“Indianapolis is a city of remarkable cultural diversity, but many local residents are unfamiliar with the range of religious groups represented here,” Thuesen said. “We hope through this year’s symposium to highlight the ways performance factors into several of the religious traditions that thrive in our city. In seeking to understand other people and traditions, we build community, which was one of Dr. Taylor’s goals as an educator.”

Morning symposium sessions, held in the theater on the lower level of the Campus Center, are free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

The noon luncheon will take place in Campus Center Room 450. Luncheon seating is limited and requires registration and pre-payment. Luncheon tickets are $35 each, if purchased by Jan. 26, or $40 after Jan. 26. Organizations are also invited to become table patrons for the luncheon ($550 for a table of 10).

For symposium registration and additional information, visit the Taylor Symposium website.

Digital Humanities Workshop: Caitlin Pollock, “Introduction to TEI”

February 11, 2015 | 12:00-2:30
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 2120
Free tickets available below

Co-sponsored by the IUPUI Library Center for Digital Scholarship

The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) sets the standards for text-encoding, born-digital editing, and digital humanities projects. It is the preferred format for granting agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities. TEI’s guidelines (TEI) define an XML format for textual materials represented in a digital form.

This workshop provides attendees with a hands-on introduction to basic text encoding with TEI. It assumes attendees have some basic knowledge of XML or other markup languages.

IUPUI professor provided key testimony in Nigerian oil-spill case settled for $83 million

Scott Pegg treks through mud, dead mangrove trees and previous oil spill residue to get to the site of a new oil spill in 2012.

Scott Pegg treks through mud, dead mangrove trees and previous oil spill residue to get to the site of a new oil spill in 2012.

In an out-of-court settlement announcement Wednesday, Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria agreed to a compensation package of 55 million pounds — about $83.4 million — for a Nigerian farming and fishing community damaged by massive oil spills in 2008 and 2009. An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor had been among witnesses for the residents of Bodo, Nigeria, in their three-year legal battle.

According to a statement by Leigh Day, the London-based law firm representing the community of Bodo, 15,600 individual claimants will received a total of 35 million pounds, with the remainder of the settlement going to the Bodo community as a whole. Shell has also agreed to clean up the Bodo Creek, Day said.

Scott Pegg, chair of the Department of Political Science in the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has been actively involved in the life of Bodo for more than 14 years. As someone who has worked in Bodo for years and as an honorary chief in the village, Pegg said it was the least he could do to provide a detailed witness statement on behalf of the Bodo plaintiffs.

Pegg first visited the community in 2000 and returned a year later with his wife, Tijen Demirel-Pegg. The then newlyweds donated $2,800 of their wedding gift money to the Bebor Model Nursery and Primary School in Botor Village, Bodo. This money finished a roofing project and funded a cement floor for a five-classroom primary school building at the school that now serves more than 300 children.

The couple continued to raise money for the school, and in 2002 their work was formally incorporated into the work of the Indianapolis-based charity now known as Timmy Global Health. The Peggs’ work with the school in Bodo now includes providing boreholes for drinking water; boys’, girls’ and teachers’ toilets for better sanitation; and a pilot health program providing immunizations, health exams and deworming treatments to students at the school.

In 2002, the Bodo Council of Chiefs named the Peggs honorary chiefs in recognition of their contribution to the community’s educational development. In August 2005, Botor Village in Bodo dedicated the “Chief Prof Scott Pegg Road.”

Pegg’s written testimony, filed in the case before the High Court in London, used numerous pictures to document the story of Bodo’s transformation after the oil spills from a vibrant fishing community to a land of “environmental devastation as far as the eye could see.”

Of particular interest to the British lawyers representing the Bodo claimants were the many photographs Pegg had from earlier visits to Bodo before the 2008-09 oil spills. Pegg and people who visited with him often would go down to the waterfront and paddle out into Bodo Creek on a traditional fishing canoe for recreation. Pegg said he never envisioned that his “tourist photos” along the waterfront would actually be used to help document how green and verdant the mangrove forests in Bodo were before the oil spills.

Pegg, who holds a doctorate in political science, described himself as “sort of a perfect storm” as a witness in that the combination of his academic training and interests and his track record of publications on the oil industry in Africa, plus his local status as a chief in the village, made his testimony hard to discredit. At IUPUI, Pegg primarily teaches courses on international relations, war and conflict, U.S. foreign policy, globalization and African politics.

The IUPUI professor is proud of the fact that the Bodo case is the first major legal settlement where compensation has been paid directly to individual Africans and not just done through chiefs or community leaders. He believes the success or failure of the promised environmental cleanup of Bodo Creek will ultimately be even more important than the compensation itself. He also hopes the case will set a precedent and establish benchmark standards for oil companies to follow in dealing with other oil spills throughout the Niger Delta.

“Bodo has suffered and continues to suffer horribly because of the two massive oil spills that hit the community in 2008-09 and for which any kind of clean-up effort has still not yet started,” Pegg said in an email message to Timmy Global Health supporters and other friends. “Even if everything goes well with this settlement, the community faces a daunting list of challenges and problems.

“Still, this is a great day for the people of Bodo. As people who have supported them in various ways, I hope you can savor and enjoy this news as well.”

The Value and Values of Public Scholarship: Laura Holzman, Modupe Labode, Mary Price

Indiana Humanities LogoFebruary 24, 2015 | 12:00-1:30
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below

This event is co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities

The 21st-century research university is no ivory tower. It is a vibrant space that cultivates creativity and experiment — a space that encourages and supports multiple ways of knowing and doing. Public scholarship is an essential pillar of the 21st-century university, building bridges and partnerships between the institution and the many publics with which its members engage. This roundtable will engage with the following questions. What is public scholarship? What roles does it play in research, creative activity, and teaching? What misconceptions do people have about public scholarship? How should universities evaluate public scholarship in promotion and tenure? How does one become a public scholar?

Dr. Laura Holzman is an Assistant Professor and Public Scholar of Curatorial Practices and Visual Art in Art History in the Herron School of Art and Design and in Museum Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. Modupe Labode is an Assistant Professor and Public Scholar of African American History and Museums in History and Museum Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. Mary Price is the Faculty Development Director in the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning and an Associate Faculty member in Anthropology in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

“Selling Yoga” traces growing popularity of modern yoga from its counterculture roots

Dr. Andrea Jain

Andrea Jain, “Selling Yoga” Author

In the popular imagination of yoga practice today, gone are the visions of bearded, stoic old men seeking a transcendent state detached from ordinary, everyday life. Instead, most envision a room of spandex-clad, perspiring, toned women perched atop yoga mats in the pursuit of fit, beautiful bodies.

The popular “modern postural yoga” systems now practiced in urban settings around the globe represent a late 20th century break from premodern and early modern yoga systems that were usually tied to a particular all-encompassing ideology, philosophy, or worldview, according to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Andrea R. Jain.

In her new book, “Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture,” the IUPUI professor examines the growing global popularity of modern yoga, which previously had been viewed as countercultural and oftentimes scandalous.

“Yoga underwent popularization when certain yoga entrepreneurs (more traditionally known as gurus) became strategic participants in the global marketplace and succeeded in selling yoga by successfully creating an intersection of yoga brands and dominant trends of consumer culture,” said Jain, assistant professor of religious studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Unlike premodern and early modern yoga systems, popularized yoga is not prescribed as an all-encompassing worldview or system of practice, but as one among many components of personal development that can provide increased physical beauty, fitness, and flexibility, along with such benefits as decreased stress. In other words, popularized yoga is often combined with various non-related worldviews and practices.

Fueling its popularization has been yoga’s intersections with the rising transnational consumer culture and its basic tenant that individuals can and should pick and choose practices, beliefs, and commodities that fit their own lifestyle preferences, Jain said.

Practitioners of contemporary popularized yoga see its products and services as a road to self-development in line with mainstream social values such as the dominant health and fitness paradigms.

However, Jain argues that yoga systems cannot be reduced to mere commodities—that yoga can, in fact, serve religious purposes even in its popularized varieties, and as such provides an avenue for studying ways in which religious systems adjust to contemporary consumer culture.

“Yoga is merely a case study. Even evangelical Christianity has succeeded in part by creating an intersection with consumer culture . . . evangelical pastors, for example, advocate for the importance of individuals choosing particular exercise or physical fitness regimens based on lifestyle preferences, therefore reflecting dominant themes in our consumer culture,” Jain said.

Modern yoga systems are no less authentic than premodern ones, since all yoga systems are ultimately specific to their particular social contexts, according to the professor.

“There never was a single, homogenous yoga tradition. Yoga has always been in transition as it moved across social contexts,” Jain said.

Published by Oxford University Press, “Selling Yoga,” is now available in paperback, hardback and as an ebook.

David Craig, “Obamacare and American Values”

David CraigFebruary 4, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been criticized as socialist and revolutionary and its individual mandate as un-American. Prof. Craig’s new book, Health Care as a Social Good: Religious Values and American Democracy, reports the lessons he learned during a three-year interview study at Catholic and Jewish hospitals. In fact the Affordable Care Act largely conserves the shared values built into U.S. health care through many decades of public policy and the mission-driven operations of religious health care organizations.

Dr. David M. Craig is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at IUPUI. He completed Health Care as a Social Good: Religious Values and American Democracy while serving as the Thomas H. Lake Scholar in Religion and Philanthropy in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He writes on economic, environmental, and health care ethics.

 

Narrative & Proof: Two Sides of the Same Equation (Livestreamed on 20 January 2015)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Mathematical Institute, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford
This event will be webcast live at 5 pm GMT, please click here to live stream.

One of the UK’s leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, will argue that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also a form of narrative. In response, author Ben Okri, mathematician Roger Penrose, and literary scholar Laura Marcus, will consider how narrative shapes the sciences as well as the arts.

The discussion will be chaired by Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, and will be followed by audience discussion and a drinks reception.

This event is organised in collaboration with the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford. It is the opening event in TORCH’s Humanities and Science series, which will explore how new answers can be found – and new research questions can be set – by bringing the disciplines together.

Abstract for Marcus du Sautoy’s presentation

“Mathematics is more than just true statements about numbers. Why does a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem get celebrated as one of the great achievements of 20th century mathematics while an equally complicated calculation is regarded as mundane and uninteresting? Why is the proof more important than the result itself? It is not the QED but the pathway to that QED that mathematicians care about. Is the quality of the narrative journey of the proof actually what elevates a sequence of logically connected statements to be celebrated as mathematics? And what qualities does that narrative share with other narrative art forms?”

The speakers

Marcus du Sautoy, Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford

Marcus du Sautoy is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College. He is author of three books: The Music of the Primes, Finding Moonshine and most recently The Number Mysteries. He has presented numerous radio and TV series including a four part landmark TV series for the BBC called The Story of Maths, a three part series called The Code and programmes with comedians Alan Davies and Dara O’Briain. He has written and performed a new play called X&Y which has been staged in London’s Science Museum and Glastonbury Festival. In 2009 he was awarded the Royal Society’s Faraday Prize, the UK’s premier award for excellence in communicating science. He received an OBE for services to science in 2010.

Ben Okri, Booker prize winning author

Image of Ben OkriBen Okri CBE has published 8 novels, including The Famished Road and Starbook, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded the OBE as well as numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore. He is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented with a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He was born in Nigeria and lives in London.

Roger Penrose, Mathematical Physicist

Sir Roger Penrose is an English mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. He is known for his work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology. He has received a number of prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe.

Laura Marcus, Goldsmiths’ Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford

Professor Laura Marcus’s research and teaching interests are predominantly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture, including life-writing, modernism, Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury culture, contemporary fiction, and litereature and film. Her book publications include Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice (1994), Virginia Woolf: Writers and their Work (1997/2004), The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (2004).  Her current research projects include a book on British literature 1910-1920, and a study of the concept of ‘rhythm’ in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, in a range of disciplinary contexts.
Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford

Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. She has published Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995, 2005), Empire, the National and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 (2002), Stories of Women (2005), and Nelson Mandela (2008). She is the author of four acclaimed novels, including Screens again the Sky (short-listed David Hyam Prize, 1990), Bloodlines (shortlisted SANLAM prize), and Nile Baby (2008), and the short-story collection Sharmilla and Other Portraits (2010).  She edited Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys (2004), and the anthology Empire Writing (1998), and co-edited J.M. Coetzee in Writing and Theory (2009), Terror and the Postcolonial (2009), The Indian Postcolonial (2010), and The Postcolonial Low Countries (2012).  She is the General Editor of the Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures Series, and deputy director of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing. A book on migration and identity, Indian Arrivals 1870-1915 and a fiction, The Shouting in the Dark, are forthcoming (both 2015).

Contact name:
Hannah Penny
Audience:
Open to all

 

Ronda Henry, “Barack Obama, Gender, and Pop Culture”

Ronda HenryJanuary 27, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below

Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father (1994) used women’s bodies to establish a socially and culturally popular “brand” upon which he could build his political career.  Women function as signs of a non-threatening black masculine identity constructed to counter contemporary images of black masculinity associated with anger, aggressiveness, criminality, and the influence of the hip hop thug.  While 50 Cent, Kanye West, Jay Z and other hip-hop moguls can use many of the “negative” associations attached to black masculinity to generate power, Obama had to block or disallow their easy application to his own body to gain wide acceptance.

Dr. Ronda Henry is Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Director of the Olaniyan Scholars Program.  She is the author of Searching for the New Black Man: Black Masculinity and Women’s Bodies, published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2013.  She writes on African American literature, gender, and race.

 

Lecture: Andrea Jain, “Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture”

Andrea JainJanuary 21, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below
Premodern and early modern yoga comprise techniques with a wide range of aims, from turning inward in quest of the true self, to turning outward for divine union, to channeling bodily energy in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Early modern yoga also encompassed countercultural beliefs and practices. In contrast, today, modern yoga aims at the enhancement of the mind-body complex but does so according to contemporary dominant metaphysical, health, and fitness paradigms. Consequently, yoga is now a part of popular culture. In Selling Yoga, Andrea R. Jain explores the popularization of yoga in the context of late-twentieth-century consumer culture. She departs from conventional approaches by undermining essentialist definitions of yoga as well as assumptions that yoga underwent a linear trajectory of increasing popularization. While some studies trivialize popularized yoga systems by reducing them to the mere commodification or corruption of what is perceived as an otherwise fixed, authentic system, Jain suggests that this dichotomy oversimplifies the history of yoga as well as its meanings for contemporary practitioners.By discussing a wide array of modern yoga types, from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga, Jain argues that popularized yoga cannot be dismissedthat it has a variety of religious meanings and functions. Yoga brands destabilize the basic utility of yoga commodities and assign to them new meanings that represent the fulfillment of self-developmental needs often deemed sacred in contemporary consumer culture.Dr. Andrea R. Jain is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford, 2014).

Freetown Village, Indiana State Museum and IUPUI host discussion on ‘Slavery by Another Name’ to Mark the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

UntitledDespite what many history books say, certain forms of slave labor continued to exist in the American South during the years between the Civil War and World War II. Scenes from the documentary Slavery by Another Name will serve as a starting point of a moderated discussion by Alex Lichtenstein, Assoc. Prof. of History at Indiana University and Brian C. Reeder, Director of Re-Entry for the Dept. of Public Safety in Indianapolis. The discussion will also include a performance by Freetown Village.

Freetown Village, Indiana State Museum, and IUPUI invite the public to a free event, featuring the film “Slavery by Another Name.” “Slavery by Another Name” is one of four powerful documentary films (The Abolitionist, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and the Loving Story) featured in a series presented by the National Endowment for Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative called, Created Equal:  America’s Civil Rights Struggle.  The film series is part of a project developed by the National Endowment for Humanities to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with the purpose to encourage diverse communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in the U.S. and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American life. These films tell a remarkable story about the importance of race in the making of American democracy, about the power of individuals to effect change, and about the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.

Film Synopsis:
It was a shocking reality that often went unacknowledged, then and now: A huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with crimes like vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subject to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Interviews with the descendants of victims and perpetrators resonate with a modern audience. Christina Comer, who discovered how her family profited from the system, comments that, “the story is important no matter how painful the reality is.”

For more information about this film, please visit the PBS website.

What:     Free public discussion of excerpts from the documentary “Slavery by Another Name,” discussion to be facilitated by Alex Lichtenstein, Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University and Brian C. Reeder, Director of Re-Entry for the Department of Public Safety in Indianapolis.  There will also be a special performance by Freetown Village.
When:    Thursday, January 29, 2015, 12-1:30 p.m.
Where:  Indiana State Museum, Dean and Barbara White Auditorium
Admission is free and registration is not required.
For more information, call 317.232.1637 or visit indianamuseum.org.