With ERT Orientation starting this week, it’s likely that you have many questions and queries. All PG sectors at the University have been very active over the last weeks collating issues, queries and concerns that PG students might have or face during this uncertain period of Covid-19. The plan is for these queries – and the corresponding answers! - to find their way into PG Student FAQs that can serve as a reliable source of information for students (and staff).
The first batch of FAQs has just been released and is available here: http://www.postgradhub.uct.ac.za/pghub/faqs-postgraduates
The FAQs are being updated as further information is curated and / or decisions have been made; they are thus a ‘living’ document.
Department of Religious Studies
Michael J. Walsh is an Associate Professor at Vassar College in the Department of Religion, as well as an active member of the Asian Studies Program. He teaches courses on the cultural history of the study of religion, China’s political and socioreligious culture, methods and theories in the study of religion, Buddhism and monastic life, colonialism and religion, violence and religion, and the production of sacred space and cultural geography. His first book Sacred Economies: Buddhist Monasticism and Territoriality in Medieval China is published by Columbia University Press. His most recent book, published in February 2020, also by Columbia University Press, is Stating the Sacred: Religion, China, and the Formation of the Nation-State. He is currently working on a biography of Buddhist temple space. At the College he has served on numerous committees including the President’s Cabinet. He has also served as chair of the Religion department for four years, and Director of Asian Studies for three years. He is currently the Chair of the Religion Department.
Hermen Kroesbergen is a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology at the University of Pretoria. He studied theology at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands. After an MA thesis in philosophy of religion on the work of Wittgensteinian philosopher D.Z. Phillips, he obtained a PhD in systematic theology from the Protestant Theological University in the Netherlands, investigating the relationship between systematic theology and ordinary language of faith from a Wittgensteinian perspective. He served for four years as a pastor in a congregation of the Protestant church in the Netherlands, and lectured in theology, philosophy and ethics at Justo Mwale University, Lusaka, in Zambia for six years. In Zambia, he became interested in African theology and the distinctive character of African language of faith. He published widely in leading international journals in theology and philosophy of religion, and he edited four books on contemporary themes in African theology with contributions from all over Southern Africa.
Abdulkader Tayob has published on Islamic activism, Muslim institutions, modern Islamic discursive traditions, and religion education in South Africa. His research has been recognized with the prestigious Georg Forster Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Adam Mendelsohn is Director of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Historical Studies at UCT. He is the author of the award-winning The Rag Race, and co-editor of Jews and the Civil War and of Transnational Traditions: New Perspectives on American Jewish History. He was Curator and Chief Historian of the recent exhibitions The First Jewish Americans at the New-York Historical Society and By Dawn’s Early Light at the Princeton University Museum of Art. He is co-editor of the journal American Jewish History.
Ugo Dessì (Ph.D. Religious Studies, 2006) is adjunct professor at the Department for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University, Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at Cardiff University, and honorary research associate at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town. He has published widely on Shin Buddhism, including The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism (Brill 2010), and on the interplay of Japanese Religions with global dynamics, including Japanese Religions and Globalization (Routledge 2013) and The Global Repositioning of Japanese Religions: An Integrated Approach (Routledge 2017). His last book Religioni e globalizzazione. Un’introduzione (Carocci 2019) focuses on religions under globalization in comparative perspective. He is currently conducting ethnographic research on East-Asian Buddhism in South Africa.
Emeritus Prof Amina Wadud is a scholar of Islamic Studies and has authored the pioneering texts “Quran and Woman” and “Inside the Gender Jihad”. In addition to her critical scholarly contributions, Prof Wadud has also been centrally involved in a number of international activist social networks for gender equality and social reform in Muslim societies. She is a founding member of ”Sisters in Islam” an activist organisation started in 1987 in Malaysia, as well as a central resource person for “Musawah," a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. Prof Wadud is also known as the “Lady Imam” in light of her revolutionary role as a contemporary religious authority. This role as a Muslim religious leader was publicly initiated in Cape Town in her landmark 1994 Friday khutbah (sermon) at Claremont Main Road Mosque.
David Chidester is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town. His publications include Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture, Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa, and Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion.
Armando Salvatore, a social theorist and scholar of comparative religion, is the Barbara and Patrick Keenan Chair in Interfaith Studies and Professor of Global Religious Studies (Society and Politics) at McGill University. He has taught and researched at Humboldt University Berlin, University of Naples 'L’Orientale,' National University of Singapore, Leipzig University, and Australian National University, Canberra. He is the author of The Sociology of Islam: Knowledge, Power and Civility (Wiley Blackwell, 2016) and the chief editor of The Wiley Blackwell History of Islam (Wiley Blackwell, 2018).
Dr. Sanal Mohan Padikaparampil is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, India. He has published research articles on the discourses and practices of the movement. He combines history and ethnography in his research. His areas of research interest include colonial modernity, social movements and questions of identity, Dalit Movements and Christianity in India.
Amy Stambach is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Garth Mason is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies and Arabic at Unisa. He has previously held posts in Departments of Religious Studies at Wits and the University of Botswana. Dr Mason is currently a visiting scholar at UCT. For much of his early career Dr Mason taught and researched in the Eastern Religions. His PhD is in the philosophy of Nagarjuna. For the last five years Dr Mason has shifted his research focus to autobiography and biographical studies. His current research interest is in contested identities in life writing and how the writerly voice is shaped by contestations between religion, social, political and gendered identities.