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Faculty News

Michael Daise: Professor Daise taught Christian Origins for the first summer session of 2009 but for most of the academic year was writing on research assignment.  In the spring he did this as Catholic Biblical Association Visiting Professor to couvent Saint-Étienne and the École biblique et archéologique française in East Jerusalem.  While making progress on his manuscript he saw a Festschrift article come to print, published ten book reviews, wrote six more, had a chapter of his 2007 book reviewed at the Catholic Biblical Association's annual meeting, edited the book review sections for three volumes of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and delivered a lecture series on ‘Jesus and Paul' at Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, Toano, Virginia.

Maureen Fitzgerald: Professor Fitzgerald spent last year sharing duties in Religious Studies (and teaching the Introduction to Religious Studies) with her duties in  American Studies, and is now in her final year as Director of that program.  She gave talks at the Museum of the City of New York on her book, Habits of Compassion: Irish-Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York's Welfare System, 1840-1920  (Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 2006), co-winner of both the 2006 Best Book Prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the 2006 Wentworth Illinois History Book Prize, (for the "best book in American history published by Illinois in a given year"), Prof. Fitzgerald also gave a talk at a women's history conference, "The Little Berks," at the University of Pennsylvania on "The Inherent Transnationalism of Religious Studies and Gender."  For six weeks this summer, she was a participant in an NEH Summer Seminar on "Religious Diversity and the Common Good," at Boston College.  She is currently working on her second book, Episodes in the Construction of American Religious Nationalism.

Ravi Gupta: During his first year at the College of William and Mary, Ravi Gupta received contracts to co-author two books for Columbia University Press. The first will be an abridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of India's most beloved Sanskrit scriptures, and the second will be an edited collection of articles about the Bhagavata. Very positive reviews of Dr. Gupta's first book (The Chaitanya Vaishnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami) were published in the International Journal of Hindu Studies, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Dr. Gupta delivered the Chautauqua Lecture in Religious Freedom at Eastern Kentucky University, as well as invited lectures at Princeton University, Virginia Tech University, and the College of Idaho. He was also selected to participate in the American Academy of Religion Summer Seminars in Comparative Theology and a workshop on Sacred Space and Embodiment in South Asia at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Gupta's teaching last year included Introduction to Hinduism, Gods and Goddesses of India, and an independent study in Jainism.

David Holmes: Mr. Holmes taught American religious history, Architecture and Religion, and Significant Books.  He was interviewed by PBS and appeared in one documentary on the Founding Fathers.  He gave five papers or visiting lectures.  In Williamsburg, he continued to lead the World War II Seminar.  He will complete his book on the faiths of the post-WWII presidents in January.            

One of the two original members of the Department, Mr. Holmes will retire in May after forty-five years at William and Mary.  The College is beginning to seek funds for a professorship in his honor.  The goal is a named professorship that will support a tenured faculty member who is an eminent scholar with a demonstrated record of excellence in teaching. The holder will regularly teach both in the areas of the Catholic and Protestant Reformations and American religious history, with the majority of his courses taught in American religious history.  If gifts fail to raise sufficient money, the fund will be used to support Religious Studies students and faculty in Mr. Holmes's honor.  In the words of one alumnus, "this is the kind of collective gift that will really help out William and Mary."

During this spring semester, Mr. Holmes will deliver a series of public lectures entitled "Reflections After a Half-Century."  Full information on dates, times, and locations will appear on the departmental website in January.  The website will also include some reminiscences of Mr. Holmes about the College.

 John Morreall: Professor Morreall had a busy year lecturing in the U.S. and Europe and finishing two books for Blackwell Press.  The first is Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor, which is now in print.  And the other is a textbook written with Tamara Sonn: The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Studying Religion. It will be published in 2010.  He also taught Modern Religious Thought; Theory and Method in the Study of Religion; Comedy Tragedy, and Religion; and the freshman seminar Thinking. 

Marc Lee Raphael:  continued as chair of the department for his tenth (and final) year, worked on expanding his History of the Synagogue in America for New York University Press, and taught two courses (The Holocaust; History and Religion of Ancient Israel) in the new W&M Summer School in Washington program. His two most fulfilling service obligations, outside the college, were serving as a member of the Working Group of the American Academy of Religion Guidelines for Teaching about Religion in K-12 Public Schools, and as a member of the Board of Directors (and Workshop Leader for Teaching Bible and Judaism in Secondary Schools) of the Council on Spiritual and Ethical Education, an organization of more than 200 independent and sectarian secondary schools.

Tamara Sonn: In addition to teaching her Islamic Studies courses, Professor Sonn attended national and international conferences; edited Wiley-Blackwell's Religion Compass (www.religion-compass.com) and Oxford Islamic Studies Online (www.oxfordislamicstudies.com); served as Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies editor-in-chief; finished three books (second edition of Brief History of Islam for Wiley-Blackwell, Concise Handbook of Islamic Studies for Sage, and--with John Morreall--an introduction to Religious Studies entitled The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Studying Religions for Wiley-Blackwell).  

Kevin Vose: Professor Vose continued developing and teaching courses on Buddhism and co-directing William and Mary's East Asian Studies program. The study of all things Asian received a great boost from a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation. The grant funds a new Asian Studies Initiative to help fill holes in our existing curriculum.

A sabbatical semester allowed him to continue research on a collection of medieval Tibetan manuscripts, discovered two years ago, that provide new insights into the formation of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. Also in the spring, my first book, Resurrecting Candrakirti, was published.

His sabbatical time ended with a trip to India, where we spent most of our time in Dharamsala, seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.  Jakob, age 12, had a terrific time, and spent several long afternoons lurking outside the Dalai Lama's temple, hoping to sneak up on the holy man. Needless to say, the Dalai Lama's omniscience prevented any such thing and his good cheer kept Jakob out of any karmic hot water. Julian, age 2, had an equally good time testing northern India's child safety features and being passed around by large, baby-loving, Indian families.