Two recent World Studies alums selected for 2020-21 Fulbright student scholarships
July 20, 2020
Five recent graduates from Virginia Commonwealth University have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for 2020-21—two of whom are graduates of the School of World Studies.
Beloved professor Cliff Edwards, a founder of VCU’s religious studies program, retires after 45 years
July 20, 2020
The longtime School of World Studies professor taught a variety of courses in religion and the arts. “The variety and energy of our students made every class session a challenge and an inspiration.”
Means publishes new archaeology book
May 12, 2020
"The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania" is the definitive reference guide to rich artifacts that represent 14,000 years of cultural evolution.
Stuck at home? A VCU lab can help you build 3D cardboard replicas — like one of the world’s oldest ham.
May 4, 2020
The university’s Virtual Curation Laboratory is providing fun, educational activities — including constructing replicas of a mastodon tooth, a giant beaver skull and even an Egyptian mummy.
VCU instructor Jessica Lonnes is teaching her classes from a car parked outside a rural N.C. library
April 21, 2020
When her mother unexpectedly died, Lonnes found herself attending to the estate and living in a home without broadband. She's been teaching her four classes by tapping into a local library’s Wi-Fi.
VCU students provide Spanish translation of children’s book for citywide school reading program
April 8, 2020
When the organizers behind One Richmond One Book, a citywide elementary school reading program, were deciding to give Richmond Public Schools students “The Toothpaste Millionaire” by author Jean Merrill as its common book this spring, program coordinator TaLees Owens realized there was a problem: There wasn’t a Spanish translation for the material.
At the U.S.-Mexico border, a sobering, eye-opening look at immigration
March 31, 2020
A VCU community service visit to Arizona earlier this semester offered students a chance to move beyond theory and better understand the reality of immigration in the United States.
[CANCELLED EVENT] Robert Godwin-Jones to deliver 2019-20 Elske v.P. Smith Distinguished Lecture
March 2, 2020
Due to ongoing and expanding threats related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), this lecture has been cancelled. The lecture "Language Learning Today: Where is Technology Leading Us?" was previously scheduled to place on March 25 at 2 p.m.
A VCU student’s project revealed an ancient Egyptian mummy’s face. It’s now on display at a museum.
February 25, 2020
The mummy, Nesiur, was “digitally unwrapped” using CT scans. VCU student Mason Smith, along with a VCU forensic anthropologist, used the data to generate a facial approximation.
[Mar. 5 event] Conserving Plantation Geographies: Environmental Ethics and Racial Capitalism in the U.S. South
February 24, 2020
Levi Van Sant, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Integrative Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, will be the speaker for the event.
Q&A: Why folk saint Santa Muerte should be considered the ‘matron saint of the Mexican drug war’
February 18, 2020
A new paper by VCU professor R. Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D., and University of Alberta professor Kate Kingsbury, Ph.D., reveals the death deity is venerated by both sides of the drug war.
Catholic studies lecture series to offer three public talks, including one on ‘Catholic UFOs’
February 13, 2020
As part of the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Lecture Series at Virginia Commonwealth University this spring, three scholars will deliver public talks on topics such as the material culture of Catholic men, the Cold War’s liberation theology legacy, and “Catholic UFOs.”
Student Research Conference to close with Local Activist Panel
November 4, 2019
Social justice is at the core of the School of World Studies’ mission as we foster engaged global citizenship in our students and community at large. 2019’s Student Research Conference honors that tradition by closing with a panel discussion by local activists on Friday, November 15 from 3-4 p.m. in the Richmond Salons of the VCU Student Commons. Each activist brings distinct perspectives and experiences to share with our audience.
Student Research Conference Keynote Events Center Indigenous Rights
October 25, 2019
Social justice is at the core of the School of World Studies’ mission. With the United Nations declaring 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, we’ve focused the keynote events of this year’s annual Student Research Conference on indigenous language preservation, environmental and indigenous rights. On Thursday, November 14 in the VCU Student Commons, we will open the conference with a special screening of the film “On the Tip of the Tongue,” followed by a keynote address by Lauren Fox, Director of the Pamunkey Indian Tribal Resource Center.
Now Accepting Submissions for the Student Research Conference!
September 19, 2019
We are now accepting submissions for the 2019 Student Research Conference to be held on Friday, November 15 in the VCU Student Commons! We invite undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences and the humanities at VCU and other universities and colleges to submit proposals for paper presentations and special sessions. Submissions will be accepted through Friday, October 4, 2019!
Dubnov to Speak on Upcoming Israeli Elections
August 2, 2019
Join us for a discussion on the historical perspectives on the increasingly fragile balance between the Jewish and Democratic Components of Israel today on Thursday, September 5 at 7 p.m. in Room 303 of the James Branch Cabell Library. Professor Arie Dubnov, Ph.Dl, the Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University, will unravel the complexities of the upcoming Israeli elections. Presented by the VCU Program in Judaic Studies, SHALOM Israel RVA and the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, this talk is free and open to the public.
Anthropology Professor Amy Rector Awarded $390,000 Grant to Study Human Evolution
June 17, 2019
It’s a common misconception that human evolution has progressed in a linear fashion starting with our earliest primate ancestors 55 million years ago and culminating with Homo sapiens as we are today. However, the reality is far more complex with human evolution branching into several species not only living simultaneously but even interbreeding. Research by anthropology professor Amy Rector, Ph.D., in Ethiopia’s Afar region has been focused on exploring this evolutionary diversity and has just been awarded a $390,000 collaborative grant by the National Science Foundation. This grant is the largest single grant received by VCU’s Anthropology program!
Oliver Speck to Co-host Q&A session at 2019 EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival
May 28, 2019
The weeklong 2019 EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival kicks off Friday, May 31 at 6:30 PM with a screening of Austrian and Korean movies in DC’s Korean Cultural Center. School of World Studies professor Oliver Speck will co-host a Q&A session after the films with George Mason University professor Jihye Moon.
International Studies Professor Rohan Kalyan Screens Documentary "Badiou" in Festival Circuit
April 25, 2019
French philosopher Alain Badiou was largely unknown in the United States outside leftist circles until several of his books, most notably “Being an Event”, were translated into English a few years ago. International Studies professor Rohan Kalyan, along with his brother Gorav, have helped increase awareness of Badiou through their recent documentary “Badiou” which has been making the festival circuit this year.
Religious Studies Professor Esther Nelson Featured in Kuwaiti Newspaper!
March 29, 2019
It has been nearly a decade since Egyptian author and Qur’anic scholar Nasr Abu Zayd passed away but his intellectual legacy continues to influence VCU Religious Studies professor Esther Nelson. The two became close in the early 2000s when Nelson was living in Saudi Arabia and they collaborated on the book “Voice of an Exile: Reflections on Islam” in 2004. Earlier this month, Kuwaiti news outlet Subahiya News interviewed Nelson about her recollections and reflections on Zayd.
French Film Festival Has Movies for All Majors
March 26, 2019
While the French Film Festival is an obvious draw for students of French and cinema, it will be showing movies of interest to majors from all disciplines across campus.
Film Icon Thierry Lhermitte Headlines French Film Festival... Again!
March 20, 2019
Thierry Lhermitte has been a famous heart throb and comedic actor in France since the 1970s when he made his debut as part of the comedy troupe “Le Splendide.” Here in Virginia, Lhermitte is also a cultural ambassador who was the first actor to personally present a movie at the French Film Festival. He returns to Richmond this year as an honored guest for not only a screening but also a master class and homage.
Social Justice Themes Guide French Film Festival
March 18, 2019
Like VCU as a whole, the French Film Festival is grounded on core values centered on inclusivity and social justice. The four themes guiding the selection of films this year are: human and civil rights; immigration; reconciliation; and environmental engagement. Some movies focus strongly on one specific theme while others deal with multiple issues.
Master Classes Make French Cinema Accessible
March 11, 2019
As part of this year’s French Film Festival, VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art state-of-the art auditorium will be home to eight free master classes with the Festival’s creative talent. Held on Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29, these classes offer insight into the art of filmmaking directly from professionals actors, producers and screenwriters themselves.
SWS Alumna Plays Vital Role in Recent Repatriation
March 4, 2019
Illegally obtained artifacts seized by the FBI in 2014 have just been repatriated to China last week in part due to the efforts of VCU alumna Liz Ale. Currently a Master’s student at Purdue University, Ale is part of a team of collections and repatriation consultants helping the FBI analyze over 7,000 objects from around the world which the FBI found in an Indiana home.
Mar Góngora receives John K. Walsh Award
January 18, 2019
Professor of Spanish Mar Góngora, Ph.D., is the 2019 recipient of the John K. Walsh award for her piece “Sobre héroes y monstruos: la decoración de Vélez Blanco y la literatura de su tiempo.” The award is given by La corónica, a journal dedicated to the study of medieval Iberian literature founded in 1972.
SWS Student Ashley Leahman Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant
December 7, 2018
Studying abroad has been integral to VCU student Ashley Leahman’s life; she spent her junior year of high school in Zaragoza, Spain and is currently at University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Earlier this month, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi recognized Leahman’s commitment to international education by awarding her a $1,000 Study Abroad Grant.
Collection Drive for Richmond-Area Migrant Children to Culminate at Common Book Talk
November 13, 2018
While the crisis facing undocumented children in the United States can seem overwhelming, the VCU community is rallying around this cause through a collection drive called “Solidaridad y Apoyo en Richmond” (Solidarity and Support in Richmond). The drive will culminate Wednesday evening at 6 in the Siegal Center as part of a public lecture by Valeria Luiselli, author of “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions,” a book about the plight of undocumented children facing deportation from the United States, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s 2018 Common Book.
School of World Studies Society Connects Students
November 7, 2018
Neha Pondicherry, a VCU Junior double majoring in International Studies and biology, decided to start the School of World Studies Society to help students across the school’s four interdisciplinary programs feel more connected to each other and cohesive as a unit. The group met for the first time last week to discuss their goals, upcoming events and leadership opportunities.
2018 Student Research Conference This Week
November 5, 2018
Presented by VCU’s School of World Studies, the 2018 Student Research Conference is only days away and promises to showcase amazing undergraduate scholarship as well as a powerful keynote speaker. The conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, November 8 and 9 in the VCU Student Commons and features over 60 student presentations on topics ranging from the micro-culture of Catalonia, Spain to gentrification in Richmond.
SWS Professor Isabelle Richman Receives Accessibility Award
October 15, 2018
Assistant professor of Religious Studies, Isabelle Richman, Ph.D., J.D., received the faculty award for student support due to her work as adviser to the Association for Students with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions, a newly founded student group with about 40 members.
The Jewish Deli Revival: Buying and Selling American Jewish Nostalgia
October 8, 2018
The Jewish deli holds a special place in the American culinary landscape at large, but is especially important for American Jews interacting with their community and culture. Rachel B. Gross, the John & Marcia Goldman Professor of American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, will discuss the evolving role of the traditional deli for Jewish Americans on November 26, 2018 at 6 p.m. in Room 1107 of the Academic Learning Commons.
Demonic Deliverance: Exorcism in Africa and Latin America
October 8, 2018
The Exorcist is an iconic film, but merely a fictional depiction of a dramatic spiritual rite actually performed by real people. Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Canada, Dr. Kate Kingsbury explores the reality of exorcism as practiced in Africa and Latin America in her upcoming lecture Demonic Deliverance to be held on Monday, November 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. in Hibbs 407.
Deadline Extended for Student Research Conference
October 1, 2018
Due to high demand, the deadline for submissions to the 2018 Student Research Conference has been extended to Friday, October 5, 2018.
Heavenly Bodies Lecture Brings "Haute Macabre" Art to VCU
September 24, 2018
Most people don’t associate death with beauty, but Paul Koudounaris’s work is perhaps best described as “haute macabre” for the ways in which he explores the interplay of artistry and burial. For more than a decade, the art historian and photographer has been capturing the bizarre beauty of human remains used as decorative elements in sacred spaces that would put a haunted house to shame. He will be discussing bejeweled skeletons from the Counter Reformation on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at VCU’s Cabell Library Lecture Hall, Room 303.
Lecture on the Importance of our Urban Catholic Schools
September 5, 2018
Students and their parents have more options than ever when it comes to choosing a school that best reflects their values and priorities. Catholic education remains a popular choice for many American families today. The upcoming VCU lecture "The Importance of our Urban Catholic Schools" on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 4 to 6 pm in Room 303 of the Cabell Library Lecture Hall will explore the ongoing role of Catholic schools in Richmond and beyond.
School of World Studies Professor Awarded Grant for Multidisciplinary Research on Zambia’s Bantu Expansion
August 27, 2018
Archeology uses material evidence to uncover the truth about the human past, often undoing long-held assumptions and inaccurate understandings of early human societies. Anthropology professor at VCU’s School of World Studies Matthew Pawlowicz’s work in Zambia hopes to uncover the actual lifestyles and worldview held by those who lived in the central part of the country during the Bantu Expansion from 500 CE to 1500 CE.