Season 4, Episode 1

Religion & the Public Intellectual

Over the last couple of years, the University, its curricula, and its responses to ongoing ideological debates have been under an intense microscope. This new reality has impacted every constituency on the university campus, but is has been particularly noteworthy for scholars whose work intersects with politics, activism, and community engagement. In this episode, a group of deeply engaged and outspoken scholars will address the role of being a public intellectual in politically fraught moments. Our panelists will discuss the ways that their latest works and discourse in the public sphere have placed them in an increasingly complex and unrelenting spotlight. Additionally, they will engage their process of creating more public and accessible works and the impact these works have on their relationship with the university, community partners, and the broader public. Join us for a conversation at the intersection of religion, activism, and the role of the public intellectual.

Host: Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds

Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University Indianapolis. His research interests are black and womanist theologies, alternative Christianities in the black Atlantic, and the role of scripture in African and African American religious traditions. Joseph has received grants from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, the Fund for Theological Education, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. His most recent scholarship has focused on the relationship between alternative Christian movements and the Black body with a recent article entitled “The Canonical Black Body: Alternative African American Religions and the Disruptive Politics of Sacrality” in the journal Religions. In addition to his focus on African and African American Christian traditions, Tucker Edmonds is a noted teacher and an engaged scholar. He serves as the president of the local Indianapolis branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is a member of the editorial board of the Wabash Center’s Journal on Teaching, and is currently leading a community-engaged project that is studying the impact of COVID-19 on Black arts and cultural institutions in Indianapolis.

Joseph's full bio

Panelist: Monique Moultrie

Monique Moultrie is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies at Georgia State University. Dr. Moultrie’s scholarly pursuits include projects in sexual ethics, African American religions, and gender and sexuality studies. Her research has been supported by a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning Grant, a GSU Dean’s Early Career Award, and an American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant. Her most recent book Hidden Histories: Faith and Black Lesbian Leadership was published by Duke University Press in March 2023.

Monique's full bio

Panelist: Mira Sucharov

Mira Sucharov is Professor of Political Science at Carleton University. Dr. Sucharov is the author of Borders and Belonging: A Memoir (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), Public Influence: A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement (University of Toronto Press, 2019), and The International Self: Psychoanalysis and the Search for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (SUNY Press, 2005). She is co-editor (with Aaron J. Hahn Tapper) of Social Justice and Israel/Palestine: Foundational & Contemporary Debates (University of Toronto Press, 2019), and (with Eric Van Rythoven) Methodology and Emotion in International Relations: Parsing the Passions (Routledge, 2019). She is currently writing a dual travel-memoir with Omar M. Dajani on space, place and emotion in Israel/Palestine, and they are developing a podcast on the past and future of Jaffa, called “The Vacant Lot.”

Mira's full bio

Panelist: Andrew L. Whitehead

Andrew Whitehead is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives at Indiana University Indianapolis. Whitehead is one of the foremost scholars of Christian nationalism in the United States. He is the lead author of  Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2020)—along with Samuel Perry—which won the 2021 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His next book, American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church, will appear August 15, 2023 from Brazos Press. Whitehead is a sought-after speaker and has shared his work with diverse audiences: academic and public, religious and secular. Whitehead’s research on Christian nationalism has been featured across several national outlets including The New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, The Washington PostCNN Today, The Economist, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian.

Andrew's full bio

This event took place on September 28th, 2023.

Additional Resources

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Religion & the Public Intellectual Resources from Panelists

Religion & the Public Intellectual Resources

“Religion &”: Center Conversations on the State of Religion and the Current Moment

“Religion &” is a series of monthly conversations between leading academics and thinkers in multiple fields hosted by the Center to continue these critically important interventions.  Every Third Thursday at 3p ET we discuss a topic that looks at the relationship between religion, the pressing issues of our day, and their impact on the fields we study.

Previous episodes of “Religion &” can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

A JOURNAL OF INTERPRETATION: This semiannual publication explores the interplay between religion and other spheres of American culture.

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