Professor Ahmed Ragab launched the Harvard Global Health Institute’s Fall 2013 “Informal Conversations” series, which explores cross-disciplinary issues, ideas, challenges, and opportunities in global health, with a luncheon talk involving faculty and students on October 30, 2013. Prof. Ragab began by framing "global health" within its broader history: interactions between the power-dominant rich regions of the "global north" and the historically lower- and middle-income regions of the "global south". A secular discourse has shaped these interactions, separating religion from health in much of the Western world since the sixteenth century. Both medical missions and colonial medicine have perpetuated power differentials, and these effects continue to impact the lived experiences of many around the world for whom faith is an important part of a complex set of beliefs that in turn affect health attitudes and behaviors.
In just a few days 120 graduate students and early career scholars will converge upon Andover Hall for the second annual “Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion.” Our panelists represent sixty academic institutions from across the United states and the world, and they include master’s and doctoral students as well as post-graduates and junior faculty. The many paper titles in the conference program reflect a broad spectrum of interests, disciplines, and methodologies. The conference promises a high-energy gathering in a friendly environment.
As a scholar of religion the great joy of a conference like this is the remarkable diversity of thought and experience that gathers for these two days. Regardless of my research focus, my favored theoretical tools, or my religious tradition I can learn something from every project present. Last year’s conference saw panels on Latina feminist intercultural epistemologies, Muslim networks of solidarity, and Foucauldian reflections on friendship, among many others. This year’s conference includes panels on missionaries, medicine, and imperialism, ritual in ancient Jewish texts, and a range of panels exploring the intersection of science and religion. This remarkable diversity makes “Ways of Knowing” the most exciting conference of its kind.
After completing the review process for over 300 paper proposals submitted to the 2013 Ways of Knowing Graduate Conference on Religion I am happy to announce, on behalf of Professor Ahmed Ragab, that 120 graduate students and early career scholars will gather to present their research at the second annual conference on October 25 and 26. Representing 65 academic institutions from across the United States and the world, they will present papers on religion utilizing historical, anthropological, sociological, philosophical, theological, and literary frameworks.