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Faculty News

WELCOME RAVI M. GUPTA!
The Department is delighted to welcome our newest faculty member, Ravi Gupta, Assistant Professor of Hinduism. Prior to this, he taught at Centre College and the University of Florida. Additionally, Dr. Gupta was a Jr. Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in England. Every summer he teaches an intensive Sanskrit course for the University of Wales Open Learning Religious Studies Program.

Dr. Gupta’s research interests include Sanskrit commentary, Hinduism, and interreligious dialogue. He is the author of Chaitanya Vaishnava Vedanta: When Knowledge Meets Devotion (Routledge 2007) as well as several academic articles. He is currently writing a book on Chaitanya Vaishnava philosophy for the Ashgate World Philosophies series as well as co-editing a collection of articles on the Bhagavata Purana, one of India’s most treasured sacred texts.

Dr. Gupta completed a B.A. in philosophy and a B.S. in mathematics at Boise State University, where he received the Silver Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by the university. He holds a master’s in religious studies and a D.Phil. in Hinduism from the University of Oxford.

Michael Daise: During 2007-2008 Mr. Daise was Acting Chair of the Department and taught Christian Origins in the fall, spring and summer sessions. He completed an article for the Princeton-Prague Symposium on the Historical Jesus, continued writing his monograph on biblical quotations in the Fourth Gospel for Editions Gabalda, Paris, and was awarded the Catholic Biblical Association’s Visiting Professorship to the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem, in which capacity he will be conducting research in the spring of 2009.

Julie Galambush: This year Julie Galambush has contributed articles to The Torah: A Women's Commentary and The Oxford Annotated Jewish New Testament, as well as the "Ezekiel" annotations to Westminster John Knox's Discipleship Study Bible. In November she will deliver a paper, "Who Gets the New Covenant?," in the Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures Section at the Society of Biblical Literature Meeting. This paper is supposed to help her decide whether or not to start a larger project on the relationship between covenant and monotheism; next year she'll let you know whether or not it did.

David Holmes
: Mr. Holmes has now entered his forty-third year at William & Mary. Thanks to the letters of support received from alumni, faculty, students, and scholars in his field, he received the annual Thomas Jefferson Award at Charter Day in February, 2008. Entitled “Not Like Unto the Nations”and available on email to anyone who requests it, his brief talk at Charter Day deals with the liberal-arts heritage of William and Mary.

Mr. Holmes gave the Shriver Lectures at Stetson University, the Puff Lecture at Miami University, and the Thomas Jefferson Lecture at William Paterson University. In addition, he spoke to the annual Monticello-Stratford Hall Seminar, to the Albemarle County Historical Society, and to members of the entering class of 2012 who live in the Piedmont area of Virginia. At the annual meeting in Washington, DC of the American Society of Church History, he spoke on the controversy over the removal of the cross from the Wren Chapel. He continued to serve as advisor to the Bishop Madison Society.

Mr. Holmes is currently completing a book on the faiths of the post-WWII American presidents; the book is the expanded version of the Shriver Lectures. He is scheduled to go on sabbatical for the 2009-2010 academic year, finish a book on muscular Christianity, and retirement will follow soon thereafter.

John Morreall: John Morreall reworked his Theory and Method class, adding a section on evolutionary psychology. He published articles and chapters on humor in religion, and on the benefits of humor. With Tamara Sonn, he continued writing a book for Blackwell Publishers: The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Studying Religion. He hosted a scholar on a research leave from Henan Technical University, Prof. Zhang Tianguang, who sat in on his class, “Comedy, Tragedy, and Religion” and added comments on Eastern religions. To kick off a new program in humor research at the University of Michigan, he participated in an all-day program featuring five scholars and five producers of humor, including the Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker and two writers of The Daily Show. He also did several media interviews, including one with the Wall Street Journal.

Marc Lee Raphael: Marc Lee Raphael begins his final two years (Years Nine and Ten) as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies in 2008-09. During the first part of 2008, he published two books: The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America (Columbia University Press), a book of 18 essays that he edited and introduced, and Diary of a Los Angeles Jew, 1947-1973: Autobiography as Autofiction (Department of Religious Studies, College of William and Mary). He is currently writing a history of the synagogue in America for NYU Press.

Tamara Sonn: The highlights of Professor Tamara Sonn's year were, as always, provided by students.
In April she hosted the 25th annual conference of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies (ACSIS) at W&M's DC center, which featured presentations by former students Chrystie Flournoy, Rebecca Skreslett, and Azita Ranjbar. All have continued in Islamic Studies and are near completing their Ph.D.s. Summer brought a thrilling opportunity for current student Madeeha Hameed, when she was selected as one of four students (and the only W&M student) to accompany American University's Professor Akbar Ahmed on a nationwide trip, researching the state of religious pluralism in America. (Madeeha's trip was supported by generous grants from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Reves Center for International Studies.) Their project will culminate in a PBS special on the topic. Meanwhile, Professor Sonn was lecturing in Pakistan, and researching Islamic movements in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province. The results of her research were presented in a lecture to the U.S. Joint Forces Command in August. In addition to her regular teaching, Professor Sonn continues to edit Wiley-Blackwell's Religion Compass (www.religion-compass.com), Oxford Islamic Studies Online (www.oxfordislamicstudies.com), and serve as Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies editor-in-chief.

Kevin Vose: Kevin Vose taught a new Freshman Seminar in Fall 2007, Buddhist Enlightenment in Western Imagination, examining the western interaction with Buddhism over the past two hundred years. He also taught Introduction to Buddhism. He served as co-coordinator of William and Mary's East Asian Studies program. He co-edited the Buddhism section of Blackwell’s online journal, Religion Compass. He presented a paper on Indian and Tibetan Buddhist notions of ineffability at the 2007 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego. He organized and participated in a panel of Japanese, Tibetan, European, and American scholars studying a recently recovered collection of early Tibetan manuscripts at the 2008 meeting of the International Association of Buddhist Studies at Emory University. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities summer research stipend for his study of these manuscripts. The College gave Kevin a parental leave in the spring semester to care for his newborn son, Julian. He is now expecting the birth of his first book, Resurrecting Candrakirti, in November.