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Events Archive 2010

Seminar Programme, Semester 1

March 12 Eric Repphun

Every Story is a Ghost: Chuck Palahniuk and the Renchantment of Suffering.

March 26 Sam Stevens "The God Slot(s)": A Brief History of Change in New Zealand Religious Radio.
April 14 Hwee-San Tan Sounds of the Human World: Globalising Buddhist Music as an Expression of Spirituality.
April 23 Elizabeth Guthrie

Isara Treesahakiat

"The Holy Man" of Southeast Asia: Charisma, Politics and Meditation.
May 7 Douglas Osto Psychedelic Buddhism: Present and Past.
May 21 Lisa Knitter The Role of Spirituality in New Zealand Cancer Care.

Seminar Programme, Semester 2

In semester 2, 2010, the Religion seminar took the form of a reading group. The book under discussion was Timothy Fitzgerald's Discourse on Civility and Barbarity: A Critical History of Religion and Related Categories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). The first discussion was preceded by a short introduction to Fitzgerald's earlier work, by Will Sweetman.

30 July

Chapter 1

pp. 3-41

1. Introduction

13 Aug

Chapters 2 & 3


2. Methodology 1. The Critical Study of Religion

3. Methodology 2. Religion and Secular, Sacred and Profane

27 Aug

Chapters 4 & 5

pp. 109-163

4. On Civility and Barbarity

5. Luther, Calvin, and Henry VIII’s Formularies of Faith

10 Sep

Chapters 6 & 7

pp. 165-230

6. English Historical Documents, 1485–1558

7. Samuel Purchas, His Pilgrimage

24 Sep

Chapters 8-10

pp. 231-312

8. English Historical Documents, 1660–1832

9. Religion, State, and American Constitutionalism

10. Postscript on Civility and Barbarity in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Special Seminar

A special seminar in Religion was held on Monday 18 October 2010 from 3.00 - 4.00 pm in the seminar room (4C11 Fourth Floor, Arts/Burns Building). The speaker was Aung Khaing Min, a Buddhist, a former Buddhist monk, a Burmese political activist, and former prisoner of conscience. He was in New Zealand as part of Amnesty International's Myanmar 'Freedom' campaign.

18 Oct

Aung Khaing Min

Buddhist Monks, Students and Politics in Burma

Religious Studies imageOpen Lecture

Professor George Newlands

Professor George Newlands, Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the University of Glasgow delivered an Open Lecture entitled 'Faith, Hospitality and Human Rights', on September the 27th, 2010.

Conferences, Workshops, Symposia

Faith and Development Symposium

The Poverty, Inequality and Development Research Cluster and the Centre for Theology and Public Issues hosted a one-day symposium on Faith and Development on Wednesday 11 August 2010 at the University of Otago.

The role of 'faith-based' organizations in tackling global poverty, through front-line delivery, advocacy and awareness-raising, has grown in recent decades. Religion can be a powerful mobilizer of civil society to engage in relief and development activities, and the impact of international coalitions such as Jubilee 2000 and Make Poverty History owed much to the involvement of religious people and church-affiliated NGOs. Yet religion can also work to undermine development, as when church teaching militates against best health practice, congregational leaders enforce crippling levels of financial support by individual members, or relief is used as a Trojan horse for proselytising.

Despite the significant role that religion plays in development issues it has been surprisingly little studied, and the purpose of this interdisciplinary symposium was to explore all aspects of the relationship between development and faith, interpreting both terms in their broadest sense.

The programme is available as a pdf file.

Please direct enquiries to either:

Towards a Unified Science of Religion

A conference on the theme Towards a Unified Science of Religion was held at the University of Otago, from 12-14 February 2010. The conference was sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, University of Otago.

The belief in gods, demons, and other supernatural agents is a persistent feature of human culture, which cries out for explanation. In the last twenty-five years explanations of religion have reached a new level of sophistication. We now have a range of different scientific theories of religion, in cognitive science, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology, drawing upon a significant body of empirical data. This conference, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Otago, brought together researchers from these different disciplines and different theoretical perspectives, to explore the possibility of a unified science of religion.

Bible and Critical Theory Seminar

The Bible and Critical Theory Seminar met in Dunedin on 7-8 February 2010. The conference programme is available online.

Events Archive

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme