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Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies

College of Arts & Sciences

Religious Studies Past News

Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

  • We are excited for and to announce in regards to former Religious Studies major, Collin Ballard, being inducted into the national organization, Phi Beta Kappa. Congratulations, Collin!
    • Ballard
  • Congratulations for recent awards and recognition to our Religious Studies faculty:

    • Dr. Kristine T. Utterback was recognized in the April 2017 issue of UWYO magazine, page 57, as being an influential instructor. 

    • Dr. Paul V.M. Flesher has a co-edited publication coming out, The Old Testament in Archaeology and History through Baylor University Press. 

    • Professor Tyler has received two awards this spring. He has received the 2016-17 A&S Extraordinary Merit in Teaching Award and his 8th consecutive P.I.E. award through the LEARN program.  

  • Seth Ward shown with Dana Ivgy, star of Israeli films including Zero Motivation, Next to Her, and Or, My Treasure, a special guest at the annual conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association. (The Society's president, Laurence Baron, is shown in the background of the photo.) Ward presented a research paper at the meeting, and teaches a course "Middle East and Israel in Film" in which some of Ivgy's films have been screened.
  • Ward_Ivgy

  • Congratulations to Professor Tyler Fall and Dr. Seth Ward who have each received the Arts & Sciences "Thumbs Up" award! 

  • For two summers, Dr. Paul Flesher led students to Israel, where they were part of the mosaic discoveries at Huqoq. Here is an update to some of those discoveries: Explore This Mysterious Mosaic - It May Portray Alexander the Great. 

    Fall 2015-Spring 2016

    • Office Associate, Clayleen Rivord, was nominated and received the UW Employee of the first Quarter award in April: http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2016/04/clayleen-rivord-is-uw-employee-of-the-quarter.html.  Congratulations!
    • Professor Tyler Fall has received his 7th consecutive P.I.E. award: Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award, which "honors instructors who inspire excitement, inquiry, and autonomy in first-year courses." The department appreciates his skill and influence through teaching. Now if we could get him to share some of the actual pie he receives along with his certificate! :-) 

    • Dr. Mary Keller has received the "Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2016." She was recognized for her paper, "Teleinvestmentevangelists: celebrity, ritual, and religion and the quest to 'beat the market,'" published in Qualitative Research in Financial Markets 2015 Vol 7 3E

    • Dr. DeNapoli has been busy publishing and the following are a few of available or coming up:
      • "‘The Time has come to save our women’: A Female Religious Leader’s Feminist Politics as Experimental Hinduism in North India,” was published in the International Journal of Dharma and Hindu Studies vol. 2, no. 1 (January 2016): pp. 1-37.

      • Book review article of Fertile Disorder: Spirit Possession and Its Provocation of the Modern (by Kalpana Ram 2013), was published in WAGADU: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies

      • “God Depends on The Lowest Devotees: Gender, Performance, and Transformation in the Tale of a Female Sādhu in Rajasthan,” was accepted for publication in the History of Religions, and will appear in print in May 2016.

    • Dr. Flesher, currently on sabbatical, and in Israel, gave a lecture at the Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv title, "Which Date? The Palestinian Targums of the Torah among the Targums of Israel."
    • Dr. Ward has been traveling Wyoming, presenting at libraries and schools in Pinedale, Marbleton, Jackson, Casper, Lush and Torrington. Topics included, “Women in Judaism and Islam,” focusing on dramatic changes in women’s roles in the past decades—and some of the most contentious contemporary issues—and “Understanding the Middle East,” focusing on dramatic changes in this region and their ramifications for US policy.

    • Religious Studies major, Rhiannon Jakopak, has been recognized as one of the top 20 graduating students within the College of Arts and Sciences for 2016. Great job, Rhiannon!

    • Congratulations to Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli for her award, College of Arts & Sciences' Extraordinary Merit in Research for 2016. Well earned!

    • Dr. DeNapoli's first book, "Real Sadhus Sing to God," has been recognized in the latest issue of the A&S Dean's Office issue of Elevations
    • Tyler Fall was highlighted in the Fri., Oct 2, 2015 edition of the UW Branding Iron. Read the article "Popular religion teacher reflects on path to UW."

    • 2015 Study Abroad participants are highlighted in the Intermountain Jewish News, July 10, 2015. More discoveries were made in the Huqoq dig, where they visited.  Click here to read the article. 
    • Please welcome new Department Head, Dr. Kristine T. Utterback. She brings with her several years of teaching experience, serving on various committee's while at UW, and once upon a time, Department Head in History. At this same moment, we need to mention that Dr. Quincy Newell, left UW for new horizons at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. We wish both Dr. Utterback and Dr. Newell the best in their new endeavors.

    Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

        • Congratulations to the following!
          • Tyler Fall for his 6th P.I.E. Award, Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award
          • Tyler Fall is the 2015 recipient of the John P. "Jack" Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award
          • Mary Keller is the 2015 recipient of the Hollon Award for Teaching Excellence in Off-Campus Programs
        • Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli had her article "'Our own two hands create our destiny': Narrative patterns and strategies in male sadhus' personal stories" published in the October 2014 issue of Contributions to Indian Sociology. Refer to her personal page under the Religious Studies Faculty site to read the article.

    Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

            • Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli, who has been researching in India for the past eight months, was interviewed regarding her research on Hindu asceticism, female ascetics and her work in the United states in teaching about Hinduism. Click here to see the newspaper article, in Hindi.

            • Dr. Sally Palmer was recognized in the local Boomerang newspaper on 4/29/14. Click here to read more about it.

            • Professor Tyler Fall has won the P.I.E. Award again this year - 5th year in a row. Nominated by sophomore students, for instructors of first year courses, who have inspired excitement, inquiry and autonomy in the classroom. P.I.E. stands for The Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award. This year, Professor Fall received a ceramic pie plate along with a Chocolate Cream pie. Congratulations!

              • Dr. Paul Flesher has attributed to Mosaic discoveries in Galilee for the past two years as part of the Huqoq field excavation program with Dr. Jodi Magness at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Dr. David Amit with the Israel Antiquities Authority. Refer to the Religious Studies "Travel Abroad Opportunites-Huqoq Excavation Project" page for more information. As well, click to read an article from the "Biblical Archaeology Review" issue Sept/Oct 2013.

    Fall 2012 - Spring 2013

            • The Program of Religious Studies is officially designated as Department of Religious Studies
            • For the 4th year in a row, Professor Tyler Fall has received the P.I.E. award in 2013. The Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award honors instructors of first-year courses, nominated by sophomore students, who inspire excitement, inquiry and autonomy in the classroom.
            • Congratulations! to Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli who was a 2013 nominee for the "Each Student - A Person Award," a recognition made available Dr. James Hurst.
            • Dr. Mary L. Keller was invited to "European Contributions to Comparative Studies Conference: Spirit Possession" in Pécs, Hungary, home of the oldest university in Hungary, Sept. 14-17, 2012. Dr. Keller was among 31 scholars including cognitive scientists, historians, anthropologists, and ethnographers from Europe, Australia, and Canada.  Her paper, "Spirit Possession from an Indigenous Studies Perspective: What's Speaking Through Us in the 21st Century" built on four previous publications on spirit possession, including the book The Hammer and the Flute: Women, Power and Spirit Possession (John Hopkins University Press, 2002).  The conference included ethnographic films of Catholic exorcisms in Western Uganda and spirit possession traditions in Kenya. Dr. Keller's argument included that spirit possession is the central model of religious subjectivity, not an aberrant extreme, because it presents us with a model of the human as the site for interaction with religious power (ancestors, deities, spirits). 

    Spring 2012

            • Tyler Fall, Adjunct Professor, continues to inspire students in his Introduction to Religion Course, and has won the PIE award for the 3rd consecutive year. Students nominate faculty in first-year courses through an online survey conducted by ECTL for the "Promoting Intellectual Engagement in the First Year" award. Outstanding!
            • Religious Studies Faculty along with Philosophy Faculty and Graduate Assistants joined together in nominating, Clayleen Rivord, the sole office personnel in both departments, for the UW Bookstore 2012 Favorite Administrative Professional of the Year award. Their letters of support and gratitude were favorable in the selection process in which Clayleen received the 2012 award.

            • Congratulations go to Dr. Kristine Utterback who has been invited to teach at the Liberal Arts College of Shanghai University during the summer of 2012. There she will teach to students a course within the history of Christianity.

    Fall 2012

    Spring 2011

            • Congratulations to Dr. Kristine Utterback who has received a Certificate of Completion in the Fulbright Scholarship Program by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Her recognition is for work completed while working in Hong Kong during the Spring of 2009.
            • Tyler Fall, Visiting Lecturer, has won the PIE award for the 2nd year in a row. PIE stands for Promoting Intellectual Engagement and is awarded by the LeaRN, Ellbogen CTL and Residence Life & Dining Services through an on-line student survey for first-year courses. Good Job!
            • Dr. Quincy Newell received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for 2011-2012.
            • Dr. Ali Raddaoui received the A&S Student Council Thumbs-up Award in recognition of "Outstanding and Positive Contributions." Way to Go!

    Fall 2010

        • Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli's article, "Crossing Over the Ocean of Existence: Performing Mysticism and Exerting Power by Female Sadhus in Rajasthan" was published in the September 2010 issue of Oxford Journal of Hindu Studies.

        • Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli presented two papers at the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia.

          • "Bhakti is Like a Tigress' Milk: Asceticism and Caste Hegemony in Rajasthani Sadhus' Popular Religious Practices"

          • "Real Sadhus Sing to God: The Capital of Devotion and Lineage in Female Renunciant Leadership in Rajasthan"


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Department of Religious Studies

Kristine Utterback, Head

Office Associate:

Clayleen Rivord

Ross Hall, Room 122

Department 3392

1000 E. University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3204

Email: relstudies@uwyo.edu

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