Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture offers conference on how Bible is used

391697_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Registration is now underway for a national conference that will culminate a three-year Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis study of how — outside of religious services – - Americans use the Bible in their daily lives.

The Conference on the Bible in American Life will take place Wednesday Aug. 6, to Friday, Aug. 8, at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, 31 W. Ohio St., in downtown Indianapolis.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI is sponsoring the three-day event as part of the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life.

Noted historian Mark Noll of the University of Notre Dame will deliver a conference plenary address. Noll will present “The Bible: Then and Now” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle. Conference registration is not required for the plenary address, which is open to the public.

“While the Bible has been central to Christian practice throughout American history, many important questions remain unanswered in scholarship,” said Philip Goff, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, which is part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Those unanswered questions include how people read the Bible for themselves, how denominational and parachurch publications have influenced interpretation and application, and how clergy and congregations have influenced individual understandings of scripture, the director said.

“These questions are even more pressing today, as denominations are losing much of their traditional authority, technology is changing people’s reading and cognitive habits, and subjective experience is continuing to eclipse textual authority as the mark of true religion,” Goff said. “Understanding both the past and the future of Christian communities in the United States depends, even if only in part, on a serious analysis of how these cultural shifts are affecting Americans’ relationship to the Bible.”

Earlier this year, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture released a report about the Bible’s use based on a national survey of American Bible reading. During the upcoming conference, historians, sociologists, political scientists, seminary professors and religious leaders will offer analyses of the Bible in daily life that complement the report’s findings and will put those findings about the Bible’s use in a broader context.

Among the report’s many findings:

  • There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture (the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, etc.) in the past year and those who did not.
  • Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95 percent named the Bible as the scripture they read.
  •  Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice — and by a wide margin — of Bible readers.
  •  The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race, with African Americans reading the Bible at considerably higher rates than others.

Seating for the three-day conference is limited, and advance registration is required. Registration before July 15 is $50; after July 15 it is $70.

Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants

neh_at_logoNEH’s Division of Public Programs supports activities that engage millions of Americans in understanding significant humanities works and ideas. At the center of every NEH-funded public humanities project is a core set of humanities ideas developed by scholars, matched to imaginative formats that bring those ideas to life for people of all ages and all walks of life. Projects must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, or art history. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience. We welcome humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students), teachers, seniors, at-risk communities, and veterans, but they should also strive to cultivate a more inclusive audience.

Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations grants provide support for museums, libraries, historic places, and other organizations that produce public programs in the humanities.

Grants support the following formats:

  • exhibitions at museums, libraries, and other venues;
  • interpretations of historic places, sites, or regions; and
  • book/film discussion programs; living history presentations; and other face-to-face programs at libraries, community centers, and other public venues.

NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects might include complementary components that deepen an audience’s understanding of a subject: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs.

Planning grants support the early stages of project development, including consultation with scholars, refinement of humanities themes, preliminary design, testing, and audience evaluation.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants program received an average of 64 applications. The program made an average of six awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 9 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from publicpgms@neh.gov.

 

Division of Public Programs

Receipt Deadline August 13, 2014 for Projects Beginning April 2015

Questions?

Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or publicpgms@neh.gov. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.

New IU ethics consortium announces funding for research projects

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society is offering funding for research proposals from IU faculty that explore the theme of wonder, especially as it intersects with nature and the environment.

The IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society is an interdisciplinary association of scholars, academic programs and research centers from the eight campuses of Indiana University. The consortium was launched in January 2014 to leverage IU’s strengths in the interdisciplinary study of religion and advance research in key thematic areas.

This is the first call for research proposals from the new consortium. The research proposals are part of the first phase of a two-year thematic initiative — “Wonder and the Natural World” — sponsored by the consortium.

rachel carsonThe approaching 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s book “The Sense of Wonder” in 2015 makes the IU consortium’s theme especially timely, said Lisa Sideris, associate professor of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, who is also the inaugural director of the consortium.

“Wonder has played a key role in the environmental movement since that movement’s inception,” Sideris said. “We’re seeking proposals that ‘push the envelope’ in exploring the intersecting themes of wonder and nature, such as war and nature (‘shock and awe’), children’s natural spirituality, cinematic or fictional representations of wonder, even areas such as genetic engineering and wonder in artificial environments, like theme parks.”

Funding of up to $5,000 for individuals and up to $10,000 for teams is available. Full-time, tenure-track IU faculty members from any IU campus are eligible to apply, with proposals that cut across disciplines, units or campuses especially welcome.

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 1, 2014. Funding awards will be announced at the end of October. Recipients will present their preliminary findings and works-in-progress at a daylong symposium at IU Bloomington in May 2015.

The full call for proposals may be found online on the Department of Religious Studies website. Proposals should be emailed to Abby Gitlitz at agitlitz@indiana.edu. For additional information on the consortium or the funding awards, contact Sideris at lsideris@indiana.edu.

President of Christian Theological Seminary to present talk on role of religion in medicine

Tuesday, October 29, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Emerson Hall Auditorium, Room 304
2013-2014 Medical Humanities and Health Studies Seminar Series

Matt Boulton, President and Professor of Theology, Christian Theological Seminary, will deliver a presentation titled, “Your Faith Has Made You Well—Or Has It?: Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Medical Care and Wellbeing.”

For many healthcare professionals and patients, religion and spirituality play important roles in how care and wellbeing are understood and experienced—and yet in many cases, our capacities for exploring these connections are overlooked, underdeveloped, or relegated to specialists.

For example, many healthcare professionals conceive and experience their work as a spiritual or religious vocation; likewise, many patients experience illness, decline, recovery, and wellbeing in religious and spiritual terms. What we require are accessible, inclusive, engaging strategies for exploring these dimensions of life and work. This talk will survey this territory, using some specific Jewish and Christian resources as case studies, but with an eye to other traditions as well.

For more information, please see the flyer here.

Presented by the Spirit of Medicine Program and the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Seminar Series