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Deadline this week!

Deadline this week!

Mason's Center for Humanities Research has issued a call for papers for its first interdisciplinary symposium, "Pasts/Presents/Futures," seeking proposals from faculty and advanced PhD candidates. The symposium takes place April 7-8; proposals are due December 1.

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Maria Dakake awarded Templeton Grant

Maria Dakake awarded Templeton Grant

Maria Dakake, associate professor in religious studies, and co-investigator Martin Nguyen of Fairfield University, in partnership with Mason's Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, have been awarded a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation for their project, “Islamic Moral Theology in Conversation with the Future” (IMTF).

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Postdoc program prepares fellows with training, mentoring

Postdoc program prepares fellows with training, mentoring

The college's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program allows participants to continue their research and teach two classes per semester. Participants, who are on a 12-month contract, share expertise that spans the college's disciplines and benefit from professional development.

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"Tolle lege..." next meeting Oct. 29

"Tolle lege..." next meeting Oct. 29

Consisting of George Mason faculty and students from various disciplines and fields of study, this Center for Humanities Research reading group focuses on recent but also classic works on the critical study of religion. Every semester it will read and discuss a particular book. For fall 2021 this group will be meeting via Zoom every-other Friday (beginning Sept. 17) at 11am to discuss Dangerous Religious Ideas by Rabbi Rachel Mikva. Prof. Mikva is currently scheduled to come to campus on November 10 to discuss her book both in a public lecture and privately with the Religious Studies Reading Group. For more information about the group, including being added to its listserv, please contact either Maria Dakake (mdakakem@gmu.edu) or Garry Sparks (gsparks@gmu.edu).

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Socratic Society

Socratic Society

If someone is liberal and tolerant, does that mean that person should tolerate everything, or is a line drawn at some point? Those are the kinds of questions George Mason University’s Socratic Society, under the direction of Dr. Charles “Chuck” Garrettson (term assistant professor in Religious Studies) has been tackling for the past two years. The Socratic Method, named for the Greek philosopher Socrates, involves an instructor structuring a dialogue with students through a series of probing questions. And the Socratic Society is a way for students with diverse beliefs and backgrounds to connect on a deeper level through informative and often lengthy discussions outside of class. This fall semester the Socratic Society will be meeting in-person every Friday at 5pm in the Johnson Center. For more information, please contact the student coordinators: Meg Merillat and Ben White or Prof. Chuck Garrettson (cgarre@gmu.edu).

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Feature Fall Course

Feature Fall Course

Each section of RELI 235 is unique. Students read different kinds of literature and about different religions depending on each section of this course. This fall semester 235-007 in particular will focus on the unique ancient creation and hero myths of Native Americans, specifically the ancient Maya. They built pyramids. They invented the zero and the rubber ball. They created an elaborate writing system long before the arrival of European missionaries. And when Christian missionaries did eventually arrive in the 1500s the Maya secretly wrote down their religious stories. Rediscovered centuries later, these Native American legends and the way they were told influenced contemporary literature around the world, namely magical realism. Believe it or not, this course will examine all of this during the fall in RELI 235-007, M/W 10:30am-11:45am.

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New Fall Course!

New Fall Course!

3,000 years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax. No understanding of the history of the West but especially of the contemporary Middle East, but also of American humor from stand-up comedy to TV and film, or even other Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam is complete without at least a solid introductory knowledge of Judaism. RELI 370 is that introductory course as well as the core course for a minor in Judaic Studies. Be there or be two corners shy of a six-pointed star. T/Th noon-1:15pm.

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New This Fall: Paul and His Letters (RELI 335)

New This Fall: Paul and His Letters (RELI 335)

The letters of the Apostle Paul are the earliest texts in the New Testament and provide important information about the earliest communities of Jesus-followers. This class interrogates the social and historical contexts of these letters while also exploring their rich and dynamic interpretive histories, paying close attention to the ways that they have been used (and misused) in ethical debates and calls for political action since the earliest days of the Jesus Movement. Sound cool? Join us in RELI 335, Fall 2021, T/Th 4:30-5:45.

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University Announces 2020 Winter Graduation

University Announces 2020 Winter Graduation

All 2020 graduates, from spring, summer, and fall, are invited to participate in George Mason University’s 2020 Winter Graduation on Thursday, December 17, at 2:00 pm, on GMU-TV. Following the ceremony, CHSS graduates are invited to join the college for its own festivities.

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Rewriting Maya Religion

Rewriting Maya Religion

Through sixteenth-century indigenous-language sources, the book traces how the first missionaries to the Maya repurposed native religious ideas, myths, and rhetoric in their efforts to translate Christianity and how, in this wake, Maya elites began to write their own religious texts, like the Popol Vuh.

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A message supporting our international students

A message supporting our international students

This week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it would discontinue visa exceptions for international students on F-1 visas who take all of their courses for the semester online. This decision could force hundreds of thousands of international students to leave the United States and threatens to interrupt the academic work of more than 3,000 students here at George Mason University.

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Latest University Information on COVID-19

Latest University Information on COVID-19

George Mason University is committed to protecting the health of its community. Its resources include up-to-date plans and procedures, identification of student health services clinics, and attention to its study-abroad programs.

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JOHN FARINA ATTENDS MINISTERIAL TO ADVANCE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

JOHN FARINA ATTENDS MINISTERIAL TO ADVANCE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

JOHN FARINA was a participant at the invitation-only U.S. Department of State Ministerial to Promote Religious Freedom, July 16-18, at Foggy Bottom. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, convened the meeting of government ministers and civil society actors from over 125 countries.

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RELI350-001 Fall 2018

RELI350-001 Fall 2018

RELI 350: How did the world of the Bible begin: a few farmers, some migrants and a handful of refugees eventually created a religion that gave us the Old Testament and was the direct ancestor of Christianity and Islam?

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What Unicode will make possible

What Unicode will make possible

If King Tut were around today, could he send a text in Egyptian hieroglyphics? Yes, with the right font and keyboard. That’s because the writing system of the pharaohs has already been included in the Unicode Standard, meaning that a character like the Eye of Horus has a code point, 13080, that will render the same way on a tablet in Cairo and a smartphone in Beijing. Because Mayan hieroglyphs have yet to be encoded, the ancient Mayan emperor K’inich Janaab’ Pakal would have to stick to emoji—but that’s about to change.

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Mayan-Language Manuscript

Mayan-Language Manuscript

On March 13 and 14, an international team of linguists visited the Library of Congress to transcribe and translate, for the first time, the “Guatemalan Priests Handbook,” a rare and important manuscript in the Library’s Jay I. Kislak Collection.

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Dakake: room for gender equality in Quran interpretation

Dakake: room for gender equality in Quran interpretation

Religious studies professor Maria Dakake spoke at a conference on “Gender in the Quran,” held at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She discussed Islamic intellectual history scholarship that interprets open-ended, sometimes controversial texts with a consideration of gender equality.

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An interview with Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina on his life and scholarship

An interview with Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina on his life and scholarship

Prof. Sachedina, who holds the IIIT Chair of Islamic Studies at Mason and whose career spans more than three decades of scholarly work, is a major figure in contemporary Islamic thought. His pioneering excavations of classical Islamic sources in relation to major contemporary themes such as democracy, human rights, and biomedical ethics have established him as a scholar of truly international standing.

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Erakat takes her DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival to the Kennedy Center

Erakat takes her DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival to the Kennedy Center

The DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival previews their seventh annual run (October 2nd) with a showcase of Palestinian performance artists covering storytelling, musical ensemble, and theater. The cultural production, a contemporary expression of the colorful Palestinian diaspora, celebrates Palestine as a vision for the future as much as an object of commemoration.

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Celebrating success

Celebrating success

The mood in EagleBank Arena was lively on May 18 and 19, as the College of Humanities and Social Sciences held its degree celebration ceremonies. Congratulations again to all of our graduates! We are pleased to welcome you to an impressive community of alumni, made only stronger by the class of 2017.

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The college welcomes Edward Lengel and Lt. Col. Suzanne Devlin to the 2017 degree celebrations

The college welcomes Edward Lengel and Lt. Col. Suzanne Devlin to the 2017 degree celebrations

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the May 2017 degree celebrations will be led by two outstanding alumni: chief historian for the White House Historical Association, Edward Lengel, and Lt. Col. Suzanne Devlin, a former acting chief of police for the Fairfax County Police Department and the current supervisor of safety and security for Loudoun County Public Schools.

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Prof. Sachedina Offers New Course on Religion and Medicine

Prof. Sachedina Offers New Course on Religion and Medicine

A leading expert explores the ethical principles guiding our society’s most important decisions in health care, with a focus on principles developed in Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic and humanistic traditions, and embedded in our contemporary pluralistic society.

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Prof. Garry Sparks Awarded Two NEH Grants

Prof. Garry Sparks Awarded Two NEH Grants

Prof. Garry Sparks has been awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships for his work on the historical and theological encounter between the Spanish Dominican missionaries and the indigenous Mayan people of Guatemala.

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Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina: Building Bridges between Western and Middle Eastern Approaches to the Study of Islam

Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina: Building Bridges between Western and Middle Eastern Approaches to the Study of Islam

Prof. Sachedina has devoted much of his scholarly time and effort in recent years to introducing theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of Islam in the Western academy to scholars of Islam in academic institutions in various parts of the Islamic world, and to fostering interfaith and intrafaith dialogue through various programs aimed at both Muslim scholars and Muslim youth.

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Turner wins Fenwick Fellowship

Turner wins Fenwick Fellowship

John Turner, associate professor of religious studies, has been selected as one of two Fenwick Fellows for this academic year. This year he plans to begin research on a seminal group in the American religious narrative, the pilgrims, whose strenuous journey was far from over when the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in the 1620.

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Looking for a Fall Course? Here Are Some Good Ones!

Looking for a Fall Course? Here Are Some Good Ones!

Educational inequality. Social innovation. Public relations. Human rights. These courses, offered in fall 2016, will expand your view on real issues that affect the world around us. No matter what your major, your awareness of any of these big issues will bring new perspective to your education. Learn more!

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Coming this fall!  The Global Health Fellows

Coming this fall! The Global Health Fellows

The Global Affairs program and the Department of Philosophy are teaming up to offer a unique opportunity for their undergraduate students. The inaugural cohort of the Global Health Fellows will spend its fall semester at the Arlington campus focusing on the realities of today’s global health challenges and the resources offered from a humanities and social sciences perspective.

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College Celebrates Alumni at Two Special Events

College Celebrates Alumni at Two Special Events

George Mason University celebrated its annual Alumni Weekend on September 19-21 this year, and welcomed many Patriots from far and near back to Fairfax Campus. Among the host of activities planned for the weekend, the college was able to add to the festivities by entertaining its alumni at two distinct events.

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Center's small research grants now open to graduate students

Center's small research grants now open to graduate students

The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies is pleased to announce that it will be awarding a number of seed research grants in 2014-15 designed to foster and cultivate the development of new projects in the study of Muslim societies and Islamic Studies, and to support the ongoing work of advanced research students.

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Religious Studies Welcomes Garry Sparks

Religious Studies Welcomes Garry Sparks

Prof. Sparks holds a PhD in Religious Studies and Theology from the University of Chicago (2011) and specializes in the religious history and culture of Latin America. His research and interests encompass contemporary Christian and Native American religious movements in the Americas, including liberation theology, Latin American Protestantisms, and the revitalization of indigenous traditionalism.

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***New Courses in Religious Studies for Fall 2014

***New Courses in Religious Studies for Fall 2014

Check out the newest course offerings in Religious Studies for Fall 2014: RELI 240: Death and the Afterlife in World Religions, RELI 332: Mormonism, RELI 376: Religion and Revolution in Latin America, and RELI 387: Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights.

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Professor Sachedina Speaks on Religious Pluralism

Professor Sachedina Speaks on Religious Pluralism

Last month, Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina, IIIT Chair of Islamic Studies, participated in an important conference in Najaf, Iraq, hosted by the University of Kufah, on Religious Pluralism as Envisioned in the Dialogue of Civilizations.

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The Economic Value of Liberal Arts Degrees

The Economic Value of Liberal Arts Degrees

A new report, based on U.S. Census data, examines the value of a liberal arts degree in terms of lifetime earnings, and the results strongly support the worth of a humanities or social sciences degree.

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Prof. Farina Featured on EMM Television in Romania

Prof. Farina Featured on EMM Television in Romania

On March 16, 2013 John Farina, associate professor of religious studies was a featured guest on "Religion and Culture in Maramaures (Romania)." EMM Television Network, Baia Mare, Romania.

More Than 2,500 Students Walk at College Convocations

More Than 2,500 Students Walk at College Convocations

A record number of students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University walked across the stage in grand fashion during their convocations on May 17 and 18, 2012. More than 2,500 graduating students were recognized for their efforts in two distinguished ceremonies.

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Cuong Nguyen Edits Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind Headlines

Cuong Nguyen Edits Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind

Professor Cuong T. Nguyen of the Religious Studies Department and A. Charles Muller (U. of Tokyo) edited Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind, Volume II, University of Hawai'i Press. Professor Nguyen also wrote two chapters including: "Treatise on the Ten Ways of Resolving Controversies (Simmun hwajaeng non)" and "Commentary on the Discrimination between the Middle and the Extremes (Chungbyon punbyollon so): Fascicle Three."

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Rashkover and Dakake Made Senior Series Editors for Encountering Traditions Headlines

Rashkover and Dakake Made Senior Series Editors for Encountering Traditions

Professor Randi Rashkover and Professor Maria Dakake of the Religious Studies Department have recently become senior series editors along with Professor Stanley Hauerwas (Duke) and Professor Peter Ochs (University of Virginia) for the Encountering Traditions series at Stanford University Press. The series publishes leading scholarship in Jewish-Islamic and Christian engagement and inter-disciplinary work in religious studies.

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More Than 2,000 Graduates Honored at College Convocations

More Than 2,000 Graduates Honored at College Convocations

After years of hard work, more than 2,000 undergraduate, master's and doctoral students received their degrees Thursday, May 19, and Friday, May 20, 2011, at George Mason University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences graduate and undergraduate convocations.

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Film Courses Aim to Educate On-Screen

Film Courses Aim to Educate On-Screen

Several college departments are offering classes focusing on film and media in which students will examine niche on-screen topics and engage in analysis with highly decorated film experts.

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Courses Feature Mix of Past and Present

Courses Feature Mix of Past and Present

The fall 2010 semester may have started this week, but students have until Sept. 14 to add classes. College of Humanities and Social Sciences students have a variety of relevant and interesting options to choose from if they are looking for a last-minute course to plug into their fall schedule.

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Warren Brown and Robert Pinsky to Speak at Convocations

Warren Brown and Robert Pinsky to Speak at Convocations

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to announce the speakers for this year’s convocation ceremonies. Warren Brown, the founder and owner of successful bakery CakeLove and Love Café’, and poet and author Robert Pinsky are the speakers for this year’s convocation ceremonies.

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Mason Welcomes New Islamic Studies Program Director

Mason Welcomes New Islamic Studies Program Director

George Mason University welcomes Dr. Cemil Aydin as the new director of its Center for Global Islamic Studies. Aydin joined Mason’s History and Art History Department in the fall of 2009, holding the Endowed IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies, bringing with him years of experience in the fields of history and Middle Eastern studies.

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Religious Studies Welcomes Islamic Studies Professor

Religious Studies Welcomes Islamic Studies Professor

This fall, the Religious Studies Department welcomes Dr. Juliane Hammer to its distinguished list of professors. Dr. Hammer, who received her PhD in Islamic studies from Humboldt University in Berlin, has a wealth of experience in teaching Islamic studies having taught at Princeton, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Elon University.

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Rashkover and Dakake Attend Scriptural Reasoning Symposium at Cambridge

Rashkover and Dakake Attend Scriptural Reasoning Symposium at Cambridge

George Mason University religious studies professors Randi Rashkover and Maria Dakake recently attended a scriptural reasoning symposium at Cambridge University in England. The June symposium “Scriptural Reasoning in the University” is one that grouped prestigious professors and others from around the world to investigate “the relevancy of ancient texts such as the Bible and the Qur’an for modern life and how to deal with those critically, intellectually, rationally, but not dismissively or disparagingly,” says John Burns, summer chair of Mason’s Religious Studies department.

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