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Religious Studies Event Series

Each year the Department of Religious Studies brings noteworthy speakers to Richmond to present lectures. All events are free and open to the public. Please contact Carolyn Smart for questions, directions, or complete details.

The Work of Manners: Confucian Ethics and the Modern World
Dr. Amy Olberding, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oklahoma
Wed., March 7, 4:30 p.m.
Carole Weinstein International Center, International Center Commons

Early Confucian moral philosophy emphasized the work of manners. Good manners, they would argue, perform good work in the world but they are also a lot of work for those who practice them. In this talk, Olberding will speak to both aspects of the Confucian view of manners, addressing both why they thought manners were worth the work they required and what sort of good effects they expected manners to achieve. While she will be using early Confucian sources throughout, her goal will be to assay the value of the Confucian approach for contemporary thinking. She will seek to emphasize how a Confucian might answer the question: In a world where the provocations to rudeness are many, why should I try to be polite?

Debating Muslim Marriage Then and Now: Gender, Islam, and Secularism in South Asia
Dr. Julia Stephens, Assistant Professor of History, Rutgers University
Tues. March 20, 5:30 p.m.
Jepson Hall, Faculty Lounge, Room 127

This talk explores how Muslim marriage has come to occupy a central position in debates about the relationship between religion and the state in contemporary South Asia. In recent months in India the legal status of “triple talaq,” in which a Muslim man divorces his wife by pronouncing “talaq” (divorce) three times, has been the subject of fierce debate between feminists, Hindu nationalists, and Muslim scholars. This talk will provide a pre-history for these discussions by showing how colonial legal reforms transformed marriage and the family into key sites for articulating new forms of Muslim identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Past Lectures

Ethics in the Year of Showering Dangerously
Dr. Mark Murphy, senior water resources scientist at NV5, Inc.
Thurs. Nov. 30, 4:30 p.m.
Jepson Hall, Faculty Lounge, Room 127

Mark Murphy received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1990. He was Senior Research Scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from 1990 to 1997, also serving as Associate Professor in Environmental Science at Heritage College on the Yakama Indian Nation in central Washington State (1996-1997). An expert in the physical ecology of aquatic systems, specifically how fluvial morphology and shallow ground-water dynamics combine to create habitat, Dr. Murphy’s research has focused on the connectivity in arid fluvial sytems. He was a Principal Investigator for the Arid West Water Quality Research Project, supported by a 5.5-million dollar U.S. EPA research grant to Pima County (Tucson, AZ) to investigate the scientific applicability of nation-wide water quality standards to streams of the arid West. In 2013-14, Dr. Murphy served on the EPA Science Advisory Board, ad-hoc subcommittee reviewing the scientific basis for the Proposed Rule titled ‘Definition of Waters of the US under the Clean Water Act.’ Currently, Murphy is a senior water resources scientist at NV5, Inc. His responsibilities include technical contributions in the areas of stream restoration, storm water management, and water quality.