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Public Conference, open to all:
“Reporting on Religion: Media, Belief, and Public Life”

Monday, March 14, 2016
Madison, Wisconsin

America’s religious landscape is shifting, and, as a result, news coverage of religion has never been more important.

“Reporting on Religion: Media, Belief, and Public Life” will give journalists and the general public an opportunity to explore one of the most important, sensitive, and controversial topics in contemporary America.

The one-day conference will feature journalists and scholars who will help participants gain a deeper understanding of the role religion plays in public life and how religion is — and isn’t — represented in the news media today.

David GregoryThe conference will culminate in a keynote address, free and open to the public, by television journalist David Gregory, former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press and the author of How’s Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey.

Registration is required for the day-long conference ($30 general; free for students with a college ID). No registration is necessary for David Gregory’s free evening keynote presentation. Those who register before March 4 will have a boxed lunch provided by the conference.

This conference is presented by:

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions
  • Upper|House (an initiative of the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation)

In collaboration with the UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Madison Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Patron sponsors: Wisconsin Newspaper Association; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Wisconsin State Journal; WKOW-TV ABC 27 Madison. Supporting sponsor: the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Value of Teaching Religious Literacy”

Associate Director Ulrich Rosenhagen published a commentary in December 9, 2015 issue of the Christian Century, titled: "The Value of Teaching Religious Literacy."

“Public and secular colleges — where finding and facilitating space for diverse religious expressions is understandably tricky — have a crucial role to play here. The secular, pluralistic campus is the ideal habitat to help students understand how religious ideas and identities work, how religious worldviews both open and constrain (geo-)political interaction, and how people of different core values and convictions can peacefully coexist. Colleges need to invest more in their students’ religious literacy — not proselytizing, not affirming any particular faith — but simply teaching vital competence about religion and its impact on global affairs that will prepare students for their future while enlightening our civic discourse along the way. ” [read more]

One Abraham or three?

Associate Director Ulrich Rosenhagen published a piece in the December 9, 2015 issue of the Christian Century, titled: "One Abraham or three? The conversation between three faiths."

“Can ‘Abrahamic’ replace ‘Judeo-Christian’? Can a paradigm—one that intertwines the three great prophetic traditions in their faith in one God, divine creation, human dignity, and eschatological justice—express the civic faith of the American people? Can it do so without sacrificing the integrity of these interwoven yet different traditions? The growing use of the term Abrahamic suggests that many think it can. In contemporary academic as well as nonacademic discourse, the biblical patriarch Abraham is frequently invoked as a crucial figure binding the sacred narratives of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Despite the different stories these siblings in faith tell about him, Abraham is essential in the theological concepts, rituals, and liturgies of his children.” [read more]

The Lubar List: 77 UW–Madison Spring 2016 courses with a component of religion, spirituality, or mythology

The Lubar List: 2016 Spring semesterThroughout human history, societies and cultures have been influenced by systems of belief and spirit.

Many instructors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, understanding how people have considered religion to be a significant motivator in decision-making, have developed courses to explore how these belief systems affect our world.

Some courses are entirely devoted to the in-depth study of religion itself; others just touch upon religion as one of many factors related to their topic area.

Together, this list of courses for the coming semester gives us a sense of how broadly—across more than 35 departments and programs—the study of religion and spirituality is integrated into this campus’s academics. That is the goal of the Lubar List: to appreciate the value of religious literacy in preparing for life in the global community after college.

If this sampling has caught your interest, take a moment to view the PDF which lists course title, description, class time, breadth category, and more. Please talk to your advisor about which of these courses are the right fit for your academic path.

“Harmony is controlled dissonance”

The Lubar Institute Student Fellows enjoyed their time at the Wisconsin Union’s Wheelhouse Studios. Their advisor, Lubar Institute Associate Director Ulrich Rosenhagen says: “They picked a statement from Bruce Feiler’s book, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths: ‘Harmony is controlled dissonance’ and worked from there. You can see the sentence in Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew on the painting. When the project is completed, we will reflect on it as an arts-based dialogue.”

Abraham Reflections: the Interfaith Fellows' Journal

2014 Undergraduate Journal Abrahamic Reflections is an annual production of the Lubar Interfaith Student Fellows. It provides those students with an opportunity to reflect upon their interfaith experiences, often in conjunction with observations on the Institute's events and programs over the course of their service. Read the 2015 Journal as a PDF file here.

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Watch the video introduction to the Lubar Institute.

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