December 2019
Dear friends of Religious Studies at Mizzou,
Welcome to our digital newsletter! Once a semester, we will bring you the latest news and information from our department. We’d love to receive news and feedback from our students, alumni, and friends; please feel free to email me at . And don’t forget to check out our updated website and follow us on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram

Signe Cohen
Announcing the Bob Flanagan Scholarship
Associate Teaching Professor Emeritus Bob Flanagan
The Department of Religious Studies is thrilled to announce a new scholarship for undergraduate religious studies majors in honor of Associate Teaching Professor Emeritus Bob Flanagan, a beloved master teacher who has inspired generations of Mizzou students. 

Your support of the Bob Flanagan Scholarship honors his legacy of teaching and learning in religious studies. You can ensure undergraduate majors have the opportunity to explore religion, ask questions, and engage in creative conversation with life-changing faculty.  Please donate to pay forward the gifts you received from Bob or other teachers like him and ensure that future students of religious studies at Mizzou can experience the same kind of transformative teaching.
Alumni Event
Inaugural Alumni Event

Our first alumni event this fall was a great success, and we loved seeing all the familiar faces. There will be another alumni event in November 2020—check our webpage, social media, and spring newsletter for details! 

We are thrilled to announce that we now have an Alumni Advisory Board , whose founding members are Antwaun Smith , BA ’98 religious studies, JD ’07; Josie Butler, BA ’04, MA ’12 religious studies, BA ’04 romance languages; Eric Lancaster , BA ’10 international studies, anthropology, MA ’14 religious studies; and Lora Kile, BA ’08, MA ’11 religious studies, BA ’08 anthropology.

Interested in joining the alumni board or finding out how you can help? Please contact us at
photo of Dennis Kelley and Crystal Kroner
Associate Professor Dennis Kelley and Crystal Kroner, MA ’05 religious studies, PhD ’11 educ. leadership & policy.
photo of Henry Imler Eric Lancaster and Brendan Beavers
Henry Imler, MA ’09 religious studies, MEd ’16 information science; Eric Lancaster, BA ’10, MA ’14 religious studies, BA ’10 international studies, anthropology; and Brendan Beavers, BA ’03 interdisciplinary studies.
photo of Eric Lancaster Guy Niederhauser Lora Kile Crystal Kroner and Rachel Taylor sitting behind a table
Alumni Eric Lancaster; Guy Niederhauser, BA ’09, MA ’12 religious studies; Lora Kile; Crystal Kroner; and Rachel Taylor, BA '98 religious studies, English, MA '02 religious studies talked at the alumni event about the value of a religious studies degree.
photo of trees in foreground and picnic shelter in background
The department picnic was held at Nifong Park in October.
photo of students eating at a picnic table in a park shelter
Students, faculty, and staff had a great time at our picnic.
close photo of an old manuscript page
MA Student Studies Indigenous Culture

Master’s student Nichole Ballard attended a Newberry Library conference in Chicago. Click to read her reflections on libraries and indigenous cultural knowledge and her thoughts on her summer field school experience in indigenous archaeology .
Faculty and Staff
Neuroscience Selflessness and spiritual experience book cover
Religion & Neuroscience

Assistant Professor Dan Cohen’s co-written book on religion and neuroscience is out. You can learn more about the book in this podcast from the Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton. Cohen also published a chapter on sex and the evolution of religion in this edited volume. 
Sixteenth Century Society

Associate Professor Rabia Gregory and Professor Emerita Jill Raitt each presented a paper at the 16 th Century Society and Conference in St. Louis in October.

Gregory presented “Preaching to a Community of Readers: The Design, Distribution, and Legacy of the First Printed German Sermons,” and Raitt presented “The Influence of ‘Witches’ on Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, SJ, and His Spiritual Direction of Women.”
photo of Jill Raitt and Rabia Gregory
Siri As an Oracle?

Associate Professor Signe Cohen presented “Flesh to Stone, Stone to Flesh: Lithic Transformations in Indo-European Myth” at the International Association for Comparative Mythology conference in Tartu, Estonia, in June. She also published an article comparing Siri and Alexa to ancient religious oracles
Lectures & Events
thumbnail of Peace Love Yoga lecture flyer
thumbnail of a flyer for the Berkwitz lecture on Sept 26
thumbnail of On the Varieties of Enhancing Life lecture flyer
The Department of Religious Studies hosted three great lectures this semester. Andrea Jain spoke about yoga and the politics of global spirituality, Steve Berkwitz explored the Bodhi tree and Buddhist identity in Sri Lanka, and William Schweiker discussed the religion and the possibility of enhancing life.

More fascinating lectures arescheduled for next semester, and we are thrilled to announce that our former colleague Paul Johnson will be giving a lecture here on Feb. 10. More details coming soon on our website and social media!
Department of Religious Studies | 221 Arts and Science Building
573-882-4769 |