Upcoming and Past Events

Our department* regularly organizes and hosts exciting events including brown-bag research talks and a visiting-speaker series (inviting prominent scholars in religious studies from across the globe to share their research with our faculty and students) that enrich the intellectual life of the college and the community. Most of these events are open to the general public. Moreover, our faculty and students actively participate in and support numerous college-wide events that have relevance for the study of religion. Check out upcoming and past events below!

*courtesy our department's dedicated Programming Committee

Upcoming Events 


Professor Christophe Rico (Director of Polis Institute in Jerusalem)- "The Names of Jerusalem in the Bible: From Meaning to Symbol and Destiny." Tuesday, February 12th 2019- 4:30pm, Tucker 127A

Nabiha Syed (Vice President and Associate General Counsel at BuzzFeed)- "Bastions of Freedom, Pockets of Tyranny: the First Amendment in the Twenty-First Century." Monday, February 18th 2019-12:50-1:50pm, W&M Law School, Room 120

Sylvester Johnson (Princeton University) - Title TBD (Topic: The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11 )-Thursday, March 28th, 2019- 5:00pm, location TBD

Hans Tiefel Lecture in Religion and Ethics. Sylvia-Chan Malik (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Title of talk “Being Muslim: Women of Color in/and American Islam.” April 2nd 2019, 12:30-1:50 pm, location TBD

Brown-Bag Lunch Series

Michael Daise – Title TBD - Wednesday, February 20th - Noon-1:15pm; Wren 315

RS Majors / Senior Theses Presentations Date TBA

Fall 2019 (tentative schedule)

Ayodeji Ogunnaike (Harvard University) Topic: Traditional Yoruba religions in Nigeria and Brazil or Using Yoruba mythological hermeneutics to theorize contemporary social issues. -Time/Date/Location TBD.

Brown-Bag Lunch Series


Spring 2020 (tentative schedule)

Nicole Kirk (Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago) Topic: Talk on her book -Wanamaker's Temple: The Business of Religion in an Iconic Department Store

Past Events

Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM, 
Wren Chapel, College of William & Mary
The Dept of Religion and the Judaic Studies Program hosted a particularly important event:  "Anti-Semitism and Racism in America after Pittsburgh: A Community Conversation." Led by panelists Professors Maureen Fitzgerald, Oludamini Ogunnaike, and Maggie Fraser Kirsh, at the event everyone reflected as a community on anti-Semitism and racism in America, particularly in light of the recent shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  
"On Saturday, October 27th, eleven people were murdered at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue by a gunman who shouted “All Jews must die” as he opened fire. Clearly antisemitic, the gunman was also motivated by anti-immigrant animus.  The tragedy is part of a growing pattern of expressions of hate and antisemitism in schools and communities, including many events that don’t get national attention.  Our expert panelists will put these events in historical, social, and cultural context, followed by an open conversation with the audience, addressing questions such as: 
    • The synagogue attack in Pittsburgh is disturbing, painful and prompts us to ask many questions. What questions does this event raise for you? What feelings does it provoke?
    • How do you see the events in Pittsburgh and around the country affecting people in your home, in your school, and in your community? Who in your community, including you yourself, might be feeling particularly vulnerable right now?
    • What small acts of hateslurs, name-calling, graffiti and what other factors contribute to a climate in which perpetrators of hate crimes feel emboldened? 
    • What are some meaningful actions we can take, even if only in our own home, neighborhood, or school?

Diversity & Inclusion Dept. Workshop

Wednesday, September 26th - Noon-1:30pm; Wren 315

Brown-Bag Lunch Series

Anne Rasmussen (Music) – Title TBD (Topic: Islam & Music in Indonesia)

Wednesday, October 31st - Noon-1:15pm; Wren 315

Marc Raphael – Title TBD (Topic: A Career Retrospective)

Wednesday, November 14th - Noon-1:15pm; Wren 315

Fall Tack Faculty Lecture

Anne Rasmussen (W&M Music Dept.)

"Women Out-Loud: The Gendered Landscape of Islamic Performance"

Tuesday, October 9th - 7:00pm; Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium

Visiting Speaker’s

Shankar Nair (University of Virginia)

“The Contours of Islamic Pluralism: A Muslim Interpretation of Hinduism in Early Modern South Asia" Tuesday, October 23rd - 5:00pm; Tucker 127A

Kristian Petersen (Old Dominion University)

"Muslim Ethics in China" Tuesday, October 30th - 3:30pm-4:50pm; Wren 301

Maria Massi Dakake (George Mason University)  

"The Past and the Future of Women's Commentary on the Qur'an"
Thursday, November 8th - 4:00pm; Tucker 127A

Joy Buolamwini (MIT Media Lab)

"The Coded Gaze: Unmasking Algorithmic Bias" - 100th Anniversary of Women at W&M, Monday, November 12th - 4:00pm; Location TBD

Prof. Matthew Pereira (Loyola Marymount University) gave a lecture entitled "From the Margins to the Mainstream: How Borderland Monks Reconfigured the Christian Tradition of the Late Roman Empire."


Thursday, April 19, 2017, 5 PM – 6:15 PM

Blow Hall 333, College of William & Mary

From the Late Roman Empire to the present day United States, institutional centers (religious and political) have perpetuated the illusion of coherence by marginalizing borderland communities. Criminalizing borderland people as “heretics” or “illegal aliens” is part of the systematic silencing of peripheral voices, which nonetheless have occasionally made their way to the “center” to transform “mainstream” views or bring new legitimacy to alternative ways of knowing.

In dialogue with current political discourse on "building walls" and the militarization of the U.S. southern border, this presentation explores one instance of the borderlands entering the "centers" by bringing to light the Scythian monks, a Latin monastic enclave located on the Greek eastern edge of the Late Roman Empire, who arrived in Constantinople in the early 6th century, were swiftly rebuked and, refusing to return to the borderlands, then travelled to Rome where they intervened in a major reconfiguring of the imperial Christian tradition.