August 15, 2020

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider.

The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award.

The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution in secondary schools. It will allow Ulmschneider to pursue a second master’s degree while he continues to teach gifted high schoolers at his other alma mater, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

Two of Ulmschneider’s previous fellowship applications resulted in his being named a runner-up. Undiscouraged, he kept applying, a process that included a lot of essay-writing. “I felt like my students do when they’re filling out their college applications,” he said.

His own education at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School – and the Advanced Placement credits he earned there – allowed him to focus on his academic interests almost immediately at UMW.

“The advising system was wonderful, and it’s one of the things I took away from Mary Washington,” said Ulmschneider, who double majored in history and philosophy with a minor in religion, and joined the University’s club fencing team. Read more.

Barry Publishes Article in Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry recently published a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Christian Orthodoxy. The article, We Didn’t Start the Fire: The Alexandrian legacy within orthodox memory,” is free and available to the public.

An abstract of the article includes the following:

If we think about the past and the way Christians constructed the signs and symbols of persecution, invariably something—or, someone—is on fire. In this article, I argue that the destruction of two significant Alexandrian holy sites, the Great Alexandrian Church and the Serapeum, tells us a great deal about how fifth-century ecclesiastical historians crafted episcopal legitimacy by using familiar tropes that signaled to their readers that a Christian persecution was underway. I conclude that how a bishop played with fire made all the difference in the story of Christian orthodoxy.

UMW CPRD and BU Classical Studies Co-host Webinar on Social Justice in the Discipline

US and UK Scholars tackle social justice and the uses/misuses of Classics in Western education

The departments of Classics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies and Classical Studies at Boston University co-sponsored a webinar entitled “RES DIFFICILES: A Conference On Challenges and Pathways for Addressing Inequity In the Ancient Greek and Roman World,” on Friday, May 15, 2020, with American and British scholars and broadcast to nearly 250 attendees in the U.S., U.K., and a dozen other countries from Australia to Russia. The co-hosts, Joseph Romero (UMW Classics) and Hannah Čulík-Baird (BU Classical Studies), assembled a group of scholars to address a critical issue in a discipline that is rapidly transforming itself into a significant contributor in the humanities for social justice. Romero also delivered a paper entitled, “Walking the the Cleopatra Ode (Hor. carm. 1.37), Then and Now.” The conference had originally been scheduled to take place on the UMW campus, but the pivot to webinar after the COVID-19 interruption produced the happy result of convening scholars from all over the world.

Hayob-Matzke to Speak in Presbyterian Church Ecology Series

Professor of Philosophy Jason Hayob-Matzke

Professor of Philosophy Jason Hayob-Matzke

Professor of Philosophy Jason Hayob-Matzke will speak as part of the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg’s ecology series this March. The Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg, at the corner of Princess Anne and George streets downtown, invites visitors, friends and members to participate in the series.

On March 22, Dr. Hayob–Matzke will examine how humans relate to nature. Historically, western tradition has viewed nature as a mere collection of resources, but various religious traditions have adopted a stewardship model, in which humans are the caretakers of God’s creation. Hayob–Matzke will explore the question: What model do we need to move forward in a way that better enables solutions to arise to our current ecological crisis? Read more.

Barry Gives Invited Talk at the University of Pennsylvania

On December 6, 2019, Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, was invited to give a talk at the University of Pennsylvania hosted by the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins. Barry presented material she has been working on during her Jepson Fellowship held for the 2019-2020 academic year. Research from the talk, “A Bad Romance: Domestic Violence in Late Antiquity,” is included in a section of her book that focuses on hagiographical narratives that promote and preserve gender based violence.

A recording of the talk will soon be made available for the public.

Barry Presents at Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion Conference

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, recently presented in two panels and moderated a third panel at the national conference for the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion held in San Diego, CA.

For the first panel, Barry presented new research for her next book project. The paper titled,“Queen Mab visits the Fathers: Fantastic Dreams and Male Desire Revisited,” was presented in the program unit on Religious World of Late Antiquity.

The second panel was held in honor of the esteemed career of Judith Perkins. Barry was asked to contribute her paper, “A Bad Romance: Melania the Younger and the male fantasy,” which builds on many of the important interventions Perkins has made to the subfield of Christian Apocrypha.

In addition to these two panels, Barry organized and moderated a pre-arranged panel on biblical receptions of exile. She now serves as an appointed Steering Committee Member for Exile (Forced Migrations) in Biblical Literature program unit. The pre-arranged panel, Late Antique reception histories of biblical flight: Part I pre-Constantinian period, is the first of two invitational sessions on the reception histories of biblical exile in the long late-antiquity. Many early Christian and non-Christian thinkers looked to biblical text(s) for types and models of flight. Invitees were asked to engage the topic of biblical exile and its reception in the late ancient period. The first session engaged the pre-Constantinian period. A select number of papers will be published in peer-reviewed special journal issue.

She was also elected to serve as a council member on the SBAllies. The informal group is committed to the idea that every scholar, no matter their identity, should be able to participate in a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas without fear or intimidation. Their primary purpose is to inform society members about the SBL anti-harassment policy and to provide information and resources for those who are considering reporting when that policy is violated.

 

Barry Invited to Give Book Talk at Temple University

Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, was invited to give a book talk at Temple University on November 14, 2019. Barry presented to the audience material from her recent publication with the University of California Press, Bishops in Flight: Exile and Displacement in Late Antiquity. Barry’s monograph was published in April, 2019 and is published in both print form and is also available via open access through the Luminos Series.

Barry Invited to Workshop at Northwestern University

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jennifer Barry

Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, was invited to participate in a workshop at the Northwestern University on October 18-19, 2019. The Pro Publica: A Public Classics Workshop met to discuss and develop public facing pieces that seek to make scholarly topics accessible to a wider audience. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Classics department at Northwestern and the Society of Classical Studies.

Barry workshopped a piece on the overlap of gender violence and political propaganda titled, “Lying Women.” This piece ties into Barry’s current recent research on gender violence and late antiquity. 

Hirshberg Presents at Brown University

Dan Hirshberg, assistant professor of religious studies and director of the contemplative studies program

Dan Hirshberg, assistant professor of religious studies and director of the contemplative studies program

Dan Hirshberg, assistant professor of religious studies and director of the contemplative studies program, offered a lecture and a workshop for Brown University’s Contemplative Studies Initiative.

His lecture focused on “Secular Rhetoric in Contemplative Pedagogy,” which concurred with recent critiques and advocated for pluralist discourse as representative of the field’s objectives and practices. The interactive workshop introduced some of the adverse effects of technology usage and featured the practice of an original contemplative exercise, “Smartphone Dis/Connect: FOMO,” which invites participants to explore the subtle physiological and psychological impacts of smartphone alerts and notifications.

Brown University launched the first Contemplative Studies concentration (major) for undergraduates in the world and is a leader in the interdisciplinary research of contemplation across the humanities, arts, and sciences.

Aminrazavi Publishes Article

Mehdi Aminrazavi, Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies

Mehdi Aminrazavi, Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies

Mehdi Aminrazavi, Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, published an article in a peer reviewed journal, “Omar Khayyām on Theodicy: Irreconcilability of the Transcendental and the Imminent,” Journal of Islamic Philosophy, 11(2019): 33-44