Santa Clara University

Religious Studies department

Department News

Spring 2011

On April 14th Socorro Castañeda-Liles participated as keynote speaker at Noche Latina, a dinner for Latino students who have been admitted to SCU.

Since stepping down as Chair, Paul Crowley, S.J. has been teaching “Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection" as well as proctoring a student-run course in "Catholic Social Teaching" as a visiting professor at Stanford. He is also working there through the Haas Center with a project that would link Kino Border Initiative with wider non-profit networks in Nogales.

In March, Elizabeth Drescher was interviewed by Los Angeles Times writer Nomi Morris for the article "A Day of Rest Enters the Digital Age." On Good Friday, she was interviewed by KQED's Stephanie Martin for a segment on "Religion-Themed Mobile Apps." She also published an article in the Religion Dispatches, "Facebook Doesn’t Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches,” which was highlighted in an article by Margret Alrich in the UtneReader, "Digital Detox." Drescher will address the Episcopal Booksellers Association at the Religious Booksellers Trade Expo in June and deliver a number of talks on religion and new media for churches and other religious groups across the country over the summer.

This spring, Kristin Heyer and Socorro Castañeda-Liles joined colleagues from Santa Clara, the University of San Francisco and Loyola Marymount University for a conference on the binational Kino Border Initiative. They discussed ways California Jesuit universities can collaborate to assist with the KBI's research, formation and advocacy efforts. Heyer presented her research on immigration policy and family separation there. In April she presented the semi-annual "Gathering Points: Tracking the Spirit in Challenging Times" lecture at Marquette University. She also collaborated with Sarita Tamayo-Moraga on a presentation to the Unity Residential Learning Community on "Crossing the Desert" for the campus’ immigration week.

Visiting professor Fulgence Ratsimbazafy, S.J. finished up his doctorate at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley while concurrently teaching at Santa Clara during spring quarter.

Philip Boo Riley was elected to the Board of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC), whose launch was hosted by SCU last March. “Like the Parliament of World Religions, the goal is harmony, not unity,” Riley explains. “We are going to be a place where faith communities can have civil dialogue; no throwing things at each other from opposite sides of the street.”

Jason Smick was recently ordained as a Humanist Chaplain at Stanford University, sponsored by the Humanist Community in Silicon Valley.

Winter 2011

James Bennett published an entry entitled "Race and Racism" in The Encyclopedia of Religion in America this past summer. His article on African Americans and anti-Mormonism will appear in the summer 2011 issue of Religion and American Culture. Bennett also continues to co-chair the Religion in the American West seminar of the American Academy of Religion.

Paul Crowley S.J. published his article “Encountering the Religious Other: Challenges to Rahner’s Transcendental Project” in the September issue of Theological Studies.

David Gray published an article “On the Very Idea of a Tantric Canon: Myth, Politics, and the Formation of the Bka’ ‘gyur” in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of International Association of Tibetan Studies.

This fall Kristin Heyer published “A Feminist Appraisal of Catholic Social Thought,” in For the City and the World: Conversations in Catholic Studies and Social Thought and "A Response to ‘Restorative Justice as a Prophetic Path to Peace?’ Plenary Address by Stephen J. Pope,” Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Proceedings.

In January, Gary Macy gave a talk on “The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination” for the Jesuit Alumni in Arizona and “Whose Old Time Religion?” for the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University. He also serves as a reader at the defense of Neomi DeAnda’s doctoral thesis at Loyola University in Chicago.

In February, Jean Molesky-Poz co-founded and facilitated a three week series, Conversations among Women at Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley. In these meetings women of all ages, share with one another their experience of faith, and ask how have women historically contributed to the church, and what can we learn from their examples. With the support of a Bannan Grant, she also sponsored the second SCU three-day retreat on Clare of Assisi. It was held in January at St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista. She, with Srs. Beth Lynn, of Minneapolis, and Dianne Short of Cincinnati, introduced participants to the life of Clare of Assisi through The Tavola, (1283) a painting on wood of Clare, with eight insets depicting episodes of her life. This use of visual theology provided opportunities for participants to recognize encounters of mystery in their own lives.

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