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News & Events

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Joel Kaminsky

Professor of Religion
Morningstar Family Professor in Jewish Studies
November 2, 2015

"Would You Impugn My Justice? Reflections on the Hebrew Bible's Understanding of Divine Reward and Punishment"


Margaret M. Mitchell

Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature
University of Chicago
October 6, 2015

"Hey! You took that out of context!"
Biblical Interpretation on the Floor of Congress






At Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, Carol Zaleski read from The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a new biography co-authored with Philip Zaleski. June 3, 2015






Elizabeth Prodromou

Visiting Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School for Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University

"Disappearing Christianity in the Middle East: Analyzing the Scholarly and Policy Response", March 10, 2015

Cyborg Buddha and the New Technologies of Awareness: There's an App for That!

A series of six lectures on the topic of emerging technologies and Buddhism and the theoretical and ethical questions new technology may raise, with a look at the world of applied Buddhist tech.

James Hughes, Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies; Director, Cyborg Buddha Project

"Using Neurotechnologies to Enhance Virtues: A Posthuman Model for Cultivating Character", February 19, 2015

Mikey Siegel, President, BioFluent Technologies; Founder, Consciousness Hacking; Affiliate Scholar, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

"Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice", March 5, 2015
Jamie Hubbard, Yehan Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies and Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies, Smith College

"Buddhism and the Happiness Industry, or What I Learned From Dr. Phil", March 23, 2015
Robin Arnott, Audio and game designer; interactive artist; film and game audio engineer

"Videogame as Mandala, Enlightenment as Novelty", March 26, 2015

Ariel Garten, artist, scientist, designer (“wearable computers”); Chief Executive Officer, InteraXon; Michael Apollo, Senior Faculty at University of Toronto’s Applied Mindfulness Program; Director of Mind Sciences, InteraXon

"Contemplative Sensors and the Democratization of Contemplative Practice, with Muse: the Brain Sensing Headband", March 31, 2015

Andrew Fenton, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno. 

"Toward a Critical Buddhist Neuroethics: The Case of Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement", April 16, 2015


Burmese Roots and Mass(achusetts) Branches

A series of five lectures that explored the social and religious origins of the modern mindfulness movement as well as some issues that contemporary practitioners now raise about Western developments that are perhaps quite divergent from their Burmese origins.
David McMahan, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies, Franklin and Marshall College
"Meditation in Context: From Ancient Buddhist Monastery to Modern Psychologist's Office", September 25, 2014

Erik Braun, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Oklahoma
"The Queen and the Monk: The Birth of Global Insight Meditation Movement in Colonial Burma", October 2, 2014
Ingrid Jordt, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"How Mindfulness Meditation Makes Social and Moral Worlds in Burma and the United States", October 23, 2014
Willoughby Britton, Assistant Professor, Brown University
"The Varieties of Contemplative Experience: An Empirical Study of American Buddhist Meditators", November 13, 2014
Jake H. Davis, Visiting Scholar, Brown University
"What is Timeless about Mindfulness? The Path from Suffering to Awareness across Human Contexts", December 4, 2014

Jamal Elias

Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania

"The Prayers of a Child: Piety, Virtue and Cuteness in Muslim Societies", November 14, 2014

Reverend Patti Nakai
Associate Minister, Buddhist Temple of Chicago, "Nirvana in Everyday Life: The Shin Buddhist Path", October 28, 2014

Download the poster (PDF)



Jacqueline E. Lapsley, Smith College Class of 1987; Associate Professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary, "The Bible as Fire: Power and Powerlessness in Interpreting the Hebrew Bible", October 20, 2014.

Download the poster (PDF)



Kennedy lecture poster

Download the poster

Torrance Kirby, 2013-2014 Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies and hosted at Smith by the Department of Religion, delivered a lecture series:

October 8, 2013: "Paul's Cross and the Culture of Persuasian: Tudor Origins of the Early-Modern Public Sphere"

October 29, 2013: "Public Conversion: Erasmian Reform and Richard Smyth's 'Retractation' at Paul's Cross, 1547"

November 12, 2013: "Politics and Hermeneutics: John Jewel's 'Great Challenge', 1559"


Wayne Hankey, Carnegie Professor and Chair of Classics and Religious Studies, Dalhousie University and Kings College, "Convergences between Platonism and the Abrahamic Religions", October 17, 2013.

Download the poster (PDF)


Kornblatt poster

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin - Madison, "Divine Sophia - Russian Style", April 11, 2013.


Dorjee poster

Pema Dorjee, senior physician and technical adviser to the Research and Development Department of the Tibetan Medical Institute of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Tibetan Medicine: Its Approach to Anxiety and Depression", April 8, 2013.

Mark Blum, Professor of Japanese Studies, SUNY Albany, "Think Buddha, Say Buddha, Dance Buddha", April 5, 2013.

Mark Blum poster


Stephen Batchelor, "The Secular Buddha", March 28, 2013.

Karl Donfried, Elizabeth A. Woodson 1992 Professor Emeritus of Religion, "Interpreting Saint Paul Today: Key Controversies and Their Theological Consequences", March 27, 2013.


Anne Stewart
, '05, MDiv Princeton Theological Semirary, PhD, Emory Univerisity, "Passionate Pedagogy: Desire, Knowledge, and Moral Imagination in the Book of Proverbs", March 13, 2013.

Anne Stewart  

"Buddhism After the Tsunami", film screening and discussion, Monday, March 11, 2013.


Brose poster

Benjamin Brose, University of Michigan, "Resurrecting Xuanzang: The Modern Travels of a Medieval Monk", March 8, 2013.

Robert Haddad, Sophia Smith Professor Emeritus of History and Professor Emeritus of Religion and Biblical Literature, "Philosophical Theology and Science in Medieval Christianity and Islam: A Comparative Perspective", December 13, 2012.

Green Tara The Green Tara meditation and public talks by Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tsetan, Abbot, Tashi Lhunpo Monastary, South India, took place at Smith College in October 2012.

In addition, "The Three Principles of the Path: Renunciation, Altruisitic Mind & Wisdom" the Fifth Annual Seminar on Exploring Buddhism with Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tsetan and David Gardiner, Department of Religion, Colorado College, took place at Amherst College in October 2012. This three day event was co-sponsored by the Smith College Department of Religion.

Presentation BUX presentation


Luke T. Johnson, Emory University, "Jesus Among the Philosophers: Ancient Conceptions of Happiness", October 18, 2012.

Elizabeth Napper, Tibetan Nuns Project, "The Education of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns", October 16, 2012.


Lori Meeks, University of California, "Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Early-Modern Commentaries on Women’s Salvation in Japanese Buddhism”, September 28, 2012. 



new event Ian Ker Lecture


new event New Lecture


                       Banaras Soul Music 2011





  Monday, October 24

      Neilson Browsing Room



           Sara McClintock

       Department  of Religion

              Emory University  


                          "Aesthetic Shock"





October 22

      Hallie Flanagan Studio  

       Theatre (Green Street)


            NORTH INDIAN




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Buddhism & Gender Identity

Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Associate Professor of Theology
& Religious Studies, University of San Diego;
President, Sakyadhhita: International Association of Buddhist Women; Director, Jamyang Foundation

April 4, 2011                         

Sponsored by the Ada Howe Kent Fund

Smith Logo




"Weaving Woman's History": From the Bible to Radical Jewish Feminism Spring 2011 Lecture Series

Susan Ackerman,Professor of Religion, Dartmouth, "Spinning the Garments of the Gods: Women's Religious Weaving in the Ancient Near East"


March 3, 2011

Fall 2010


  Green Tara


Madhyamaka Buddhist Ethics

          Tom Tillemans     

    University of Lausanne


Thursday, November 11, 2010

5:30 p.m.

Neilson Library Browsing Room

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Sponsored by the Heshey Family Foundation and the Ada Howe Kent Fund

A continuation of Madhyamaka and Methodology: A Symposium on Buddhist Theory & Method held on April 23-25, 2010   webcast at: http://www.smith.edu/buddhism/event-mmsymp.php

     Free and open to the public and the room is wheelchair accessible

Religion Department hosts Wayne A. Meeks, William Allan Neilson Professor, 2010-2011 Wayne A. Meeks

Wayne A. Meeks is Woolsey Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies, Yale University, where he taught from 1969 until 1999. He was Chairman of the Department 1972-75, Acting Chairman 1978-79, 1982-83, and Director of the Division of the Humanities of the University 1988-91. Earlier, he taught at Indiana University 1966-69 and Dartmouth College 1964-65, and before that he was a campus pastor in Memphis, Tennessee, for the Presbyterian Church. He has served as president of the two leading professional societies in his field, the Society of Biblical Literature (1985) and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (2004-5). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala and is a fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is best known for his publications on the writings of the apostle Paul and on the Fourth Gospel, for his investigation of the social history of earliest Christianity, and for work on the formation of early Christian morality.


In addition to three public talks, Professor Meeks will also participate in a special Kahn Institute project, Through a Glass Darkly: Reading the New Testament in a Postmodern World. The Kahn Project is organized by Religion faculty Joel Kaminsky, Suleiman Mourad, and Vera Shevzov.

The three public talks are:

Monday, September 27:
The Myth of Self-Interpreting Text: Communities Making Scripture Making Communities

The metaphor so familiar in religious and even in political discourse, "The New Testament tells us...," or "The Bible teaches...," conceals complex strategies. What do we mean when we claim that a text "speaks" with authority? How does a text get to be sacred? Communities may be created by sacred texts—but sacred texts evolve in communities. What is the social and cultural process by which this dialectic works? Professor Wayne Meeks will explore the complex interplay of religious text and community in this first lecture in the Neilson Professor series.

Monday, September 27, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.

Monday, October 18:
Naming Jesus: History, Midrash, and Myth

The earliest followers of Jesus struggled to find appropriate images to say who Jesus was—to themselves and to others. This was a self-involving process, for it was at the same time a struggle for the identity of a new movement. It was at heart an interpretive process, both in the broad sense that the work of forming an identity always interprets the world and simultaneously interprets one's own being in it, and in the specific sense that sacred texts and traditions about their meaning were centrally involved. In this second lecture in the Neilson Professor series, Wayne Meeks will discuss this process and explore how comparing it with other movements of the time, both within Judaism and in the wider culture of the Mediterranean basin, helps us to understand it better.

Monday, October 18, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.

Monday, November 8:
The Rise and Fall of Historicism—and What Do We Do Now?

The emergence of what we have called scientific history and confidence
that such history could determine what the New Testament means have been
a central theme in post-Enlightenment history. That confidence has, to say the least, been severely shaken in recent decades. We have discovered that, inevitably, our pictures of the past are shaped by reflections of ourselves and our cultures. But if history can't answer our questions, what can? What remains the useful role of history in interpretation—and what kind of history? Wayne Meeks will examine these challenging questions in his third and final lecture in the Neilson Professor series.

Monday, November 8, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.




Europe and Islam:

The Cartoon Crisis and the Challenge of Multiculturalism

Wednesday, October 20, 12 noon - 1:00 pm

Neilson Library Browsing Room, Smith College

Lecture/symposium highlighting recent Danish experiences withntegrating non-European immigrants: what works and what doesn't; as well as integration of Islam after 9/11 to be illustrated by the cartoon issue and other recent events.

Bertel Haarder is the Danish Minister for the Interior and Health. A political scientist, he has been a member of the Danish government for almost 19 years, the longest serving member of the government since World War II. He has previously served as Minister of Education and Research, Minister for Nordic Affairs, Development Affairs and Church Affairs, and Minister for European Affairs and Integration of Immigrants. Mr. Haarder was first elected to the Danish Parliament in 1975 and served in the European Parliament 1994-2001.

Jytte Klausen is a Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation and Comparative Politics at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe, War and Welfare: Europe and the United States: 1945 to the Present. Her latest book is The Cartoons that Shook the World (Yale University Press 2009), describing the 2006 political conflict in the Muslim world following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper.

Mlada Bukovansky, is Associate Professor of Government at Smith College. Her book, Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture, was published in 2002 by Princeton University Press. Professor Bukovansky teaches courses on international politics, international relations theory, international organizations, and European politics.

Moderator: Suleiman Mourad, Professor of Religion/Faculty Director of the Global Studies Center.

Sandwiches will be provided.

images.jpg Global Studies Center

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Devashish Dey Recital

Smith College Presents

A Concert of Hindustani Classical Vocal Music

Pandit Devashish Dey in Recital

On His First American Tour

Friday, October 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

Sweeney Auditorium - Sage Hall

Sponsored by Tibetan Studies, Ada Howe Kent Fund, Music Department and the Smith College Lecture Committee

This event is Free and Open to the Public

Smith College Presents

Religious Tolerance and Womens Rights in Northeast Africa


Helen Knife Woldeyhannes

Tuesday, September 21, 7:30 pm

Neilson Library Browsing Room


Sponsored by the Smith College Lecture Committee, Smith Office of Religious Life, Center for Global Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Religion, the African Studies Program, and the Program of the Study of Women and Gender