• Macomb Legal News features, "Second chance: With a new lease on life, student strives to help others", an inspiring article about an alumnus of our department.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Perkins on being named a 2016 American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellows! Here's a snippet from the press release:  2016 AAA Leadership Fellows  - Julia Wignall, Courtney Kurlanska and Alisa Perkins have been named the 2016 American Anthropological Association (AAA) Leadership Fellows. The AAA’s Leadership Fellows program is designed to provide a unique opportunity for anthropologists beginning their careers to learn about leadership opportunities and to encourage future leadership in the Association.  

    Alisa Perkins received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2012 and currently serves as assistant professor in comparative religion at Western Michigan University (WMU). Perkins’ ongoing research draws on theories of race, gender, cultural citizenship, and urban space to examine how Arab, South Asian, and African American Muslims in the Detroit metro area negotiate expressions of religious identity in public and political realms. As a faculty member at WMU, Perkins has worked to strengthen links between the campus and the surrounding community, an initiative she plans to bring to her role as a future leader at AAA.

  • Congratulations to our award winning students. Zachary Smith is awarded the Graduate College Department Research and Creative Scholars Award and a January Graduate College Travel Grant. Caleb Ausbury is awarded the Graduate College Departmental Teaching Award. Anthony Langley and Hafiz Akbar are both recipients of the Graduate Student Departmental Service Award. Christina Baytops is awarded the departmental Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence and last but not least, Rachael Pulice, a senior, has earned the Presidential Scholar Award.

  • Be sure to congratulate Dr. Stephen Covell and Dr. Brian Wilson for being awarded 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Awards! Dr. Covell has been awarded the Faculty Achievement Award in Global Engagement and Dr. Wilson has been awarded the Faculty Achievement Award in Research and Creative Activities.

  • The first place prize ($500) for best conference paper is awarded to Zachary Smith of the Department of Comparative Religion for his paper "More Than One Way to Measure: Masculinity in Zurkaneh of Safavid Iran" and the runner-up prize ($300) goes to Joel Sanford also of the Department of Comparative Religion, for his paper "Facing Our Demons: Psychiatric Perspectives on Exorcism Rituals." Both papers will be published in the Hilltop Review. Congratulations to Zach and Joel for this awesome achievement!

  • Congratulations to three of our graduate students - Joel Sanford, Zachary T. Smith and Rachael M. McGill - for their publications in the Hilltop Review.  Read their articles in the Hilltop Review, Fall 2015 issue here.

  • Yet another award to Dr. Brian Wilson! This time the 2015 State History Award for "Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living," from the Historical Society of Michigan. Great work being done here in the Department of Comparative Religion at WMU!

  • To our alumni and current students, there are many things you can do with a degree from us, tell us your story so we can share it. E-mail Dr. Covell.

  • Our current graduate students have set the bar high. In addition to winning the all-university teaching and research it is my pleasure to announce that they have also taken home the top award for graduate student service for an individual and for their organization. So congratulations to Joel Sanford and the Comparative Religion Graduate Student Organization!

  • Congratulations to Eric Mendes and Lindy Demarest two of our outstanding graduate students! Mendes was awarded the All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Award—the highest honor for graduate student research at WMU, and Demarest was awarded the All-University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award—the highest honor for graduate student teaching at WMU. We train the best here in the Department of Comparative Religion!

  • Congratulations to M.A. and graduate certificate student Bob Sumeren on his acceptance into law school! Bob, we expect further great things from you!

  • Congratulations to Joel Sanford on his taking first prize in the WMU Graduate Humanities Conference. Sanford joins a growing list of winners from our department. In the three years the conference has been running we have taken first place twice and second place once.

  • Two articles about the Department of Comparative Religion visits to Kalamazoo Islamic Center have been published by WMU student Farhan Iqbal. See MLive and Muslim Observer.

  • Congratulations to our 2014-15 award winning comparative religion students:

    • Danton Lloyd, Presidential Scholar

    • Caleb Ausbury, Department Graduate Research Scholar Award

    • Lindy Demarest, All University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award

    • Rachael Pulice, Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence

    • Eric Mendes, All University Research and Creative Scholars Award

    • Joel Sanford, Department Graduate Excellence in Leadership and Service
  • On March 21, Dr. Tisa Wenger, assistant professor at the Yale Divinity School, spoke on "Race, Racism, and Religious Freedom in US History."
  • Rudolf Siebert weighs in on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian C. Wilson on his publication: "The Dawn of a New Denomination," Michigan History 96:6 (November/December, 2012), pp. 43-49. In this article, Wilson tells the story of how Seventh-Day Adventism adopted its name, formalized its structure, and built its first brick-and-mortar institutions in Battle Creek, Mich.
  • "Interpreting the Qur'an in America: The Text and Context of Revelation"
    presented by Dr. Tina Howe, Northwestern University. University Center for the Humanities. Friday, Dec. 14, 10:30 a.m.
  • "Islam and Environment: Belief and Practice on American Muslim Farms"
    This talk was delivered on Dec. 7 by Dr. Eleanor Finnegan, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Coastal Carolina University.
  • "From the Mosque to the Municipality: The Ethics of Muslim Space in a Michigan City"
    A lecture presented on Dec. 3 by Alisa Perkins, University of Texas-Austin.
  • "Religious Politics in 2012: Separating Church and State" 
    On Nov. 5, Drs. Brian Wilson and Blain Auer delivered this lecture and discussion on religion and political influence in 2012. This discussion was held at the Trimpe Building's Multicultural Center.
  • "New insights in the study of vernacular Bible translation in the Middle Ages: the Biblia medieval corpus and website"
    On Nov. 8 Andrés Enrique-Arias from the Universitat de les Illes Barlears, Spain delivered this lecture, which discussed the progression of Biblical translation. The University Center for the Humanities sponsored this lecture.
  • "The Flower Arrangement Rite of Yakushiji"
    On Thursday, Nov. 15, Drs. Koichi Matsuo and Asuka Sango presented a film screening of "The Flower Arrangement Rite of Yakushiji" and opened the floor for discussion. This screening was sponsored by the Department of Comparative Religion, Soga Japan Center, and the Japan Foundation.
  • In his book, Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam, Blain H. Auerinvestigates the ways three historians living in India during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries narrated the religious values of Muslim sovereigns through the process of history writing. This book will be indispensable for all those interested in Islamic studies, history, religion, politics, and South Asia. Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam: History, Religion and Muslim Legitimacy in the Delhi Sultanate: I.B. Tauris, 2012
  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian Wilson for being selected as a Fulbright Specialist, joining Dr. Wanner on this prestigious list. Dr. Brian Wilson, professor of comparative religion, has been approved as a candidate for the Fulbright Specialists Roster by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. 

    Lydia Walker
     received the 2011-12 Department Scholar Award and the 2011-12 All-University Scholar Award, one of the highest honors the University bestows on graduate students. Scott Watson has been awarded the departmental Graduate Teacher Award for 2011-12 and Nadia Tremonti received the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Congratulations to M.A. students Eric M. Bowler and Alfredo Hernandez Corsen, who presented at the 118th Annual Conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters at Alma College on March 2. Bowler's paper, "Innocent's Interdicts: An Examination of the Medieval Papacy's Religious Authority" and Corsen's "The Illusion of Common Identity" were delivered to the Religious Studies section, presided over by Professor Brian C. Wilson, who also presented his own work, "The Rise and Fall of the Temple of Health: Religion, Medicine, and the Battle Creek Sanitarium."
  • "Neither Radical Nor Secular: The West Struggles with the New Islamism" by Dr. Blain Auer, assistant professor, was published in Religion Dispatches. His forthcoming book, Symbols of Authority in Medieval Islam: History, Religion, and Muslim Legitimacy in the Delhi Sultanate, will be published by I. B. Tauris Press in May.
  • The 2012 Religion and Culture Study Abroad Seminar took participants to three Japanese locations: Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities and a center of religious and culture life both modern and traditional; Nikko, a cultural heritage site near Tokyo; and Kyoto, a city famous for its ancient temples.  In Tokyo participants stayed at Zojoji, a temple located just under Tokyo Tower.  They traveled to the HQ of new religions, to Shinto shrines, museums and received behind the scenes tours of Buddhist temples. A past student said, “I have learned more and been exposed to more Buddhism than is possible in a lifetime of reading and studying in the United States.” 
  • Japanese studies has received $140,000 in grant funding from the Japan Foundation's Institutional Project Support Program. The grant application was written by Stephen Covell, department chair and director of WMU's Michitoshi Soga Japan Center, and Jeffrey Angles, associate professor of Japanese languages and literature.
  • Dr. Stephen Covell, professor and chair, shares his lifelong obsessions with martial arts and Japan, and how they led him to study Japanese religion.Covell tells of his early passions, and the growing importance of the Michitoshi Soga Japan Center in southwest Michigan.
  • Congratulations to Lydia Walker for receiving a $700 travel award from the graduate college and a $600 supplemental international travel grant from the Graduate Student Advisory Committee. Lydia will present a paper, “The ‘Scepter of the Jews’ in Riccoldo da Monte Croce’s Ad nationes orientale,” at the Mediterranean Studies Association International Congress in Corfu, Greece.
  • Congratulations to these award winners:

          Brittany Tovar - Presidential Scholar and Phi Betta Kappa
          Sean Butler - Graduate College, Department Scholar Award
          Jason Aiello - Graduate College, Department Graduate Teachers Award
          Scott Watson - Department of Comparative Religion Award for Academic Excellence

  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian Wilson for being selected to receive a College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Award in Professional and Community Service. The award was created as a result of the College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Plan to recognize faculty contributions to the service goals of the College. (March 2011)