Religion

Reda Shafeak Ghazy Bedeir
A Sociolinguistic Approach to Arab/American Cultural Dialogue
Visiting Fulbright Scholar from Al-Azhar University, Daqahliya, Egypt
Source: Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)

James L. Ford
Upaya: Re-Imagining a Central Buddhist Concept in Japan from the Middle Ages to the Present
Source: Japan Foundation Research Fellowship

Dr. Ford will investigate “Upaya: Re-Imagining a Central Buddhist Concept in Japan from the Middle Ages to the Present.” The important Buddhist doctrine of upaya (J: hoben), generally translated as skillful means, contends that the historical Buddha used his wisdom and compassion to determine the best means to communicate his teachings to audiences of different spiritual capacities. Dr. Ford will study various literary genres of medieval Japan, including doctrinal treatises, popular Buddhist tales, and ritual texts, to trace the transformation of this concept within Japanese Buddhism. He hopes that this research will contribute to a broader understanding of the contextual nature of religious concepts and the dialectical process of “meaning making” within changing political, religious, and socio-cultural contexts.

LeRhonda Manigault

  • “Ah Tulk to de Dead all de Time”: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women
    Awarded $40,000 for the period 8/1/09 to 7/31/10
    Source: Louisville Institute
  • “Ah Tulk to de Dead all de Time”
    Awarded $40,000 for the period 6/1/09 to 5/31/10
    Source: Ford Foundation

The First Book Grant for Minority Scholars will help Dr. Manigault, Assistant Professor of Religion, in completing her ethnographic study of ten African-American women in coastal South Carolina and the communicative religious practice they call “tulking to de dead.” This perceived ongoing exchange between living and deceased members of the community is facilitated by socio-cultural activities, such as storytelling and sweetgrass basketry, but more often revealed through prayer and singing sacred songs. Gullah/Geechee religion blends African and Christian practices, and the women who talk to the dead in no way view it as antithetical to their Christian identities. Rather, they see it as a way to celebrate their past while promoting their Christian faith. This study’s interdisciplinary method joins womanist thought, ethnomusicology, history, and anthropology and integrates scholarly and lived perspectives on religion to deepen our understanding of African-American women’s contributions to American religion.

Nelly van Doorn Harder

  • Women strengthening pluralist co-existence in contemporary Indonesia: Analyzing the role of the Komnas Perempuan and the Koalisi Perempuan
    Awarded $48,000 for the period 3/1/16 to 2/28/19
    Source: University of Notre Dame

To clarify the roles women play in interreligious dialogue and peacemaking, Professor van Doorn-Harder and four Indonesian colleagues will examine the activities and strategies of two large organizations: the National Committee against Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and the Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy (Koalisi Perempuan). They have designed specific strategies and methodologies to address concerns about women’s rights, religious fanaticism, poverty, discriminatory policies, and the legal position of women based on the premise that religious pluralism and interfaith acceptance are skills that can be learned. This three-year study is part of the global Contending Modernities Project based at Notre Dame University. It is guided by a question: How do these two Indonesian women’s organizations negotiate religious differences when addressing violence against women (e.g., domestic violence), legal pluralism, and poverty? Results will inform our understanding of the mechanisms underlying successful civic and interreligious peacemaking initiatives in the twenty-first century.

  • Faculty Workshop: Health as Metaphor and Reality in Religions in Asia
    Awarded: $7,000 for the period 4/15/10 to 10/15/10
    Source: East-West Center

This workshop addresses how religious factors influence the physical, psychological, and/or material well-being of Asian populations.

Ulrike Wiethaus  
Cherokee MedCaT Academy: Enriched Student Experiences in Health Careers
Awarded $173,535 for the period 1/1/11 to 1/31/14
Source: Burroughs Wellcome Fund

A partnership among the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Wake Forest University, and the Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS) Center for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Learning (CERTL) and Northwest Area Health Education Center (NW AHEC) will expose Cherokee and Appalachian students to diverse careers in medicine and technology and give their teachers new tools to motivate their students in science and math. MedCaT brings 25 western North Carolina high school students and 5 high school teachers to the WFU campus for a week during the summer to provide students a Problem-Based Learning science enrichment experience focused on career opportunities in healthcare and biotechnology; to give the teachers PBL instructional materials and training that parallels the student activities, so they can take this proven methodology back to their schools; and to support and ensure the continuation of the program through follow-up sessions at participating schools by MedCaT staff two times during the school year.