Plans for Graduate Studies International Exchange with CERES, Ruhr University Bochum

CERES Faculty and SUREL Faculty

CERES Faculty and SUREL Faculty

July 18, 2017

The SU Religion Department met with the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) in Germany to lay plans for future collaborations, including the opportunity for graduate students (MA and PhD) to study for one year at the other university. The departments also discussed research collaborations and exchanging faculty lecturers.

Profs. Phil Arnold, Joanne Waghorne, Jim Watts, William Robert, and Ahmed Abdel Meguid participated in a bi-lateral conference with CERES in Bochum, Germany, on June 12-14. The conference included presentations about faculty and graduate student research projects, descriptions of each of the graduate programs, and discussions of how collaboration between the departments could strengthen both research and teaching. We concluded by agreeing to forge such collaborations in the coming year. The graduate student exchange will be worked out for the Religion Department by its Graduate Committee, led by Prof. Virginia Burrus.

Like Syracuse, Bochum lies in a traditional industrial area which has for forty years suffered the economic and social disruptions of globalization. Old factories and mines have now been transformed into green spaces, multi-use parks and museums about “industrial culture.” Ruhr University was the first new university founded (1965) in Germany after World War II. Its Center for Religious Studies carries on the university’s and region’s reputation for innovation by pioneering comparative religious studies in its research and teaching.

The field of Religious Studies faces similar challenges in Europe as in America, despite the very different institutional structures of university education on the two continents. The Religion Department at SU, like CERES at RUB, has a tradition of innovative research and pedagogy. The two departments' strengths complement each other: CERES focuses especially on the history of religions, on systems theory and on training students for the non-academic job market while SU Religion brings strength in critical theory, gender theory and focuses more on contemporary and indigenous religions. Gaining experience in the different teaching and research environments of Germany, Europe, and the United States will benefit both faculty and graduate students aiming for academic careers.