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Looking Back: Davis Colloquium 2023

February 19, 2024

Looking Back: Davis Colloquium 2023

Davis Colloquium organizers and panelists sitting behind a red table

On October 27, 2023, the Department of Comparative Studies was pleased to host a day-long colloquium on the theme of Christianity and Economy. Over fifty attendees gathered in the Ohio Union to learn from six distinguished scholars, each of whom drew on their particular areas of research to address a common set of questions about the interrelations of religious and economic life.

Topics addressed included the ways early Christian followers conceived of their deity as an economic actor with whom they could transact; how Christian thinkers of Late Antiquity made sense of economic inequality; how Black economic texts of the 19th century offer valuable resources for reconceiving the relations among race, religion, and economy; and the multivalent meanings of debt and dreams of becoming in the spiritual, economic, and political practices of Columbian Christians. The final presenters of the day spoke in theological and ethical registers to ask why the religious and economic ever became structurally differentiated and how Christian labor activists and low-wage Muslim workers draw on religious resources to imagine new forms of economic and political solidarity. The day concluded with a moderated conversation among all participants that demonstrated the value of bringing historians, anthropologists, theologians, and ethicists into conversation around matters of pressing concern. It was evidence of interdisciplinary learning at its finest.

The Christianity and Economy Colloquium was supported by the fund for the annual Don and Barbara Davis Lecture in Christianity and co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion and the Humanities Institute. Participants were enthusiastic about the structure and format of the day. The Comparative Studies department hopes to sponsor similar convenings in the future.

Here was the full list of presenters:

  • Rebecca C. Bartel, Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at San Diego State University
  • Jaclyn Maxwell, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University
  • Jennifer Quigley, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Timothy Rainey, Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College
  • C. Melissa Snarr, Associate Professor of Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Jonathan Tran, Associate Professor of Theology at Baylor University