News

Distinguished Scholar of Mormon Studies Visits UCSB

Spencer Fluhman will join the Department of Religious Studies for winter and spring terms, 2020.

The Department of Religious Studies at UCSB is happy to announce that J. Spencer Fluhman has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Mormon Studies, in a two-year initiative funded by the Sorensen family. The Mormon Studies Initiative at UCSB will support student and faculty work, visiting professorships, programming, and guest lectures in religious studies over a two-year period, from Fall 2019 through Spring 2021. Fluhman is the first visiting professor brought to UCSB through this initiative, and he will be in residence from January through July, 2020.

Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute and associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, will teach two courses at UCSB during his appointment. The first, offered Winter 2020, is an upper-division undergraduate course on “Religious Biography in America.” The second, offered Spring 2020, is a mixed undergraduate/graduate research seminar on “Mormonism and Identity in the Pacific World.” Fluhman will also conduct his own research during his time at UCSB. He is currently working on a biography of Latter-day Saint apostle James E. Talmage, as well as a study of religion, colonialism, and indigeneity in Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Democratic Republic of Tonga. Fluhman’s first book, ‘A Peculiar People’: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America, won a best-book award from the Mormon History Association, and it is widely considered the go-to study of anti-Mormon discourse in 19th-century America.

Fluhman anticipates a productive relationship between the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB and the Maxwell Institute at BYU during and after his residence in Santa Barbara. “It’s about cross-pollination,” Fluhman said. “Taking what’s exciting at one institution and having it be meaningful for another institution. These partnerships help us think collaboratively across space.”

UCSB’s faculty and students also look forward to Fluhman’s appointment. “Few people have done more to render Mormon studies a seriously interdisciplinary endeavor in and for the modern academy as Professor Fluhman,” says David Walker, associate professor of religious studies. “He is the perfect person to kick off the Mormon Studies Initiative at UCSB, working in collaboration with Ann Taves, myself, and other scholars of American religions to re-imagine what Mormon studies might look like, and how it might work with and alongside other subfields in religious studies, in a leading department such as this.” Professors Walker and Taves have published extensively in the field of Mormon studies, and thus Fluhman’s arrival—and the Mormon Studies Initiative overall—will extend and deepen an important subfield in religious studies at UCSB. “This initiative will enable us to extend the department’s work to support innovative scholars in the field of Mormon studies and American religions, while simultaneously making UC Santa Barbara the programmatic center for an emerging network of scholars in the field,” says Walker.

In addition to his teaching and research, Professor Fluhman will work with Professors Walker, Taves, and other members of the Mormon Studies Initiative Committee to plan conferences, guest lectures, and research projects at UCSB. 

Welcome, Professor Fluhman!

Learn a Critical Language!

The Department of Religious Studies invites you to learn a critical language! Study a language that will set you apart from the crowd!

Do you need to fulfill a foreign language requirement? Curious about other parts of the world? Plan to travel for study or work? Consider one of these languages offered by the Department of Religious Studies:

  • Arabic
  • Persian
  • Hindi
  • Sanskrit
  • Tibetan
  • Hebrew
  • Turkish

Learn more at religion.ucsb.edu

Statement

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara stands in support of the protests for racial justice and police reform. Black lives matter.

We commonly hear that “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” This sentiment echoes in the national response to the current health crisis, where thousands and thousands have died and continue to die daily.

Our expertise lies in the academic study of the world’s religions. Each emphasizes the sanctity of life.  In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, human life is holy because God is holy (Lev 19:4; Qur’an 5:32, 6:131; 1 Corinthians 3:16). In the Buddhist tradition, the first and foremost precept is the prohibition against taking life (any life, not only human); at the same time, the human condition is unique and precious because Buddhas can only appear in human form. In religious traditions of the African Diaspora, Black gods and ancestors rise up to defend Black and Latinx lives in historical rebellions and revolutions. The most well-known of these is the Haitian Revolution that began with the invocation Vodou deities in 1791 at Bwa Kayiman.

Racially motivated killings are often processed as a statistic, notwithstanding the well-known killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, among many others. In the violent taking of George Floyd’s life, witnessed by the world, we have not a statistic but a tragedy. It is both a reminder of the anti-Blackness embedded in our society and an example of the systemic institutional brutality directed towards minoritized communities.

In the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara we all share a strong commitment to an open, inclusive, and multi-cultural society, in which differences and diversity enrich all, and people of all backgrounds can fully develop their talents. Endemic social and political problems—including white supremacy—can only be addressed with clear vision, deep understanding of multifaceted problematics, and strong strategic vision. These are things that we strive to promote among our students and in what we do as a department.

The current and almost unprecedented concurrence of climate emergency, pandemic, and social protests is clearly signaling the importance of community organization, activism, and advocacy, and the importance of local and decentralized shared governance.

At this time of profound trauma, we wish to express our solidarity with those targeted, yet again, by intolerance, hatred, and violence. We fully support and applaud all protesters who demand justice and accountability. They have revived our sense of human sanctity and the transformative potential of public social action.

June 7, 2020

NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR ALIEN EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATION

This notice is provided because of the filing of an application for permanent alien labor certification for the following position: Bhagwan Vimalnath Lectureship in Jainism and South Asian Religions
Concerned applicants for this position should report to the following University of California, Santa Barbara department/institute office of employment responsible for placing this position: Dept. of Religious Studies
Any person may provide documentary evidence bearing on the application to the attention of the Certifying Officer of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, Atlanta National Processing Center, Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 410, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
The following is a statement of the job duties, requirements and the wage offer:
Duties: Responsibilities include teaching three quarters of Hindi language plus two undergraduate courses in the area of Jainism and nonviolence studies, plus two undergraduate survey courses in the study of South Asian religions and Indic civilizations.
Requirements: Applicants must have completed all requirements for a PhD (or equivalent) except the dissertation at the time of application. PhD must be awarded by the time of appointment. Fluency in Hindi and English. Excellent record of teaching experience
Wage offer: 67017
This notice has been posted in compliance with 20 CFR 656.10(d)(1)(ii), it has been posted in two conspicuous
locations for at least 10 consecutive business days and on the usual in‐house website for recruitment of such
UC Santa Barbara positions.

Apply for the Edward C. Truman Award in Religious Studies 2020-2021

THE EDWARD C. TRUMAN AWARD IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
2020-2021
 
The UCSB Affiliates of the University of California, Santa Barbara, will award one scholarship of $1000 to a qualified freshman, sophomore or junior majoring (or minoring) in the area of Religious Studies, with an aspiration to pursue a religious-related avocation* during the 2020-21 academic year. The award is made on the basis of academic achievement, work history and community service, and relevant future plans Please direct all inquiries regarding the scholarship to Community Relations at 893-4388.
 
Application Available HERE

NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR ALIEN EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATION

NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR ALIEN EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATION


This notice is provided because of the filing of an application for permanent alien labor certification for the following position:
Bhagwan Vimalnath Lectureship in Jainism and South Asian Religions
Concerned applicants for this position should report to the following University of California, Santa Barbara department/institute office of employment responsible for placing this position: Dept. of Religious Studies

Any person may provide documentary evidence bearing on the application to the attention of the Certifying Officer of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, Atlanta National Processing Center, Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 410, Atlanta, Georgia 30303


The following is a statement of the job duties, requirements and the wage offer:
Duties: Responsibilities include teaching three quarters of Hindi language plus two undergraduate courses in the area of Jainism and nonviolence studies, plus two undergraduate survey courses in the study of South Asian religions and lndic civilizations.


Requirements:
Applicants must have completed all requirements for a PhD (or equivalent) except the dissertation at the time of application. PhD must be awarded by the time of appointment. Fluency in Hindi and English. Excellent record of teaching experience


Wage offer:  $61,930


This notice has been posted in compliance with 20 CFR 656.lO(d)(l)(ii), it has been posted in two conspicuous locations for at least 10 consecutive business days and on the usual in-house website for recruitment of such
UC Santa Barbara positions.