Congratulations to Prof. Stephanie Kirk on being selected as a Fall 2015 faculty fellow at the Center for the Humanities. Kirk will translate Carlos De Sigüenza Y Góngora’s Western Paradise [Parayso Occidental] (1684), a unique and multi-faceted 17th-century text, making it available in English for the first time for scholars and teachers interested in gender, religion, race, and empire. Western Paradise is a chronicle of the foundation and first 100 years of Mexico City’s convent of Jesús María written by the colonial creole polymath Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700). Sigüenza y Góngora relates much about Mexico’s highly-developed convent culture but also goes beyond the cloister to detail the complexities of life in the great colonial city. Western Paradise stands as a foundational literary text and cultural document of the Mexican canon. Sigüenza y Góngora attempts to rewrite` history by replacing the conquistador’s European past with the creole’s American beginnings, and in this way articulates an incipient Mexican patriotism.
Few will contest the fact that, despite predictions to the contrary, religion continues to play a central role in contemporary culture, politics, identity, and conflict in every part of the globe. At the same time, the fast-moving forces of globalization, migration, and technology continue to bring diverse religious communities in closer proximity, often creating new religious communities in the process. As a result, it has become ever more essential for people living in today’s world to be “religiously literate.”
The Religious Studies Program at Washington University is designed to provide students with the opportunity to not only acquire basic knowledge of the beliefs and practices of the major world religions, but also learn how to engage in a critical appraisal of both their historic and their contemporary significance. Many of the courses offered through our program are taught by faculty in different disciplines and areas, including History, English Literature, Classics, Anthropology, American Religion and Politics, and East Asian Studies. They explore religion and religious traditions in all their interdisciplinary complexity—often comparatively, sometimes thematically, and almost always in specific historical and cultural contexts.....More