July 19 2018

Interviewed by Kristian Petersen

In 1491, the king of the west central African kingdom of Kongo was baptized as a Christian by Portuguese missionaries, and in so doing, he ushered a unique and centuries-long relationship between the Kongo kingdom and European political and religious powers. Cécile Fromont, assistant professor of art history at the University of Chicago, describes the beliefs and material culture of Christianity that developed in the kingdom as a result of the transatlantic trade of goods and ideas.

Cécile Fromont is the author of The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (UNC Press, published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2014), which won the AAR's 2015 Award for the Best First Book in the History of Religions.

The American Lectures in the History of Religions (ALHR) is proud to welcome Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz (University of Maryland) to speak in a series of public lectures in the Chicago area from October 24 to the 28, 2016. Dr. Keshavarz’s lecture series is entitled Unsilencing the Sacred: Conversations with the Divine, and in them she will explore the works of poets such as Omar Khayyam, Hafez of Shiraz, Sa’di, Jalal al-Din Rumi, and ‘Attar of Nishabur.

In addition to her lectures in Chicago, Dr. Keshavarz will offer a general summation of her series at the 2016 AAR Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on November 20.

by Mary E. Hunt, WATER

Privilege is a major factor in life/work balance. Sure, all of us can learn how to say no, put exercise first, eat healthily, get plenty of rest, and set up date nights. But race, class, sexual orientation/identity, age, ethnicity, etc., play pivotal roles in our options and whether we can exercise them.

I do not mean to imply that only privileged women can live balanced lives. Many do not. But colleagues who are loaded with debt, supporting parents as well as children, dealing with complex commuting arrangements, facing health challenges, and the like simply do not have the same luxury to decide whether they will start their day at the health club or end it with a massage. Achieving life-work balance becomes one more item on an already too long to-do list. For many colleagues survival is the goal.

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