Religion Seminar Series

Butler University Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs presents:

Families in Flux: Religion, Community and Connection in the 21st Century

Fall 2021

Growing God’s Family: Evangelical Global Adoption

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Domestic and international adoption are deeply shaped by religion, raising questions about reproductive rights, social inequality, and proselytizing on a global scale. American Christian evangelicals are mobilized around a global project to adopt orphan children.Our speakers will explore the motivations and political impacts of this movement.

Kathryn Joyce photoKathryn Joyce is an award-winning journalist and author of two books, including The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Highline, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, Wired, and many others. She is an editor at Political Research Associates and an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College.
Sam Perry photoSamuel L. Perry is an associate professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. His research explores the changing dynamics of American religion, politics, and families. He has authored over 75 peer-reviewed articles and 3 books, the first of which was Growing God’s Family (NYU Press 2017)
Reproductive Ethics in the Middle East

Tuesday, October 26

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Over the last 50 years, reproductive technologies have completely transformed who can biologically reproduce and when. These medical advancements have significant ethical and political implications. While some religious and secular groups have embraced these scientific breakthroughs, others have warned against their unintended consequences. This discussion brings two leading anthropologists into conversation on how religion and gender intertwine in the reproductive lives and policies of the Middle East.

Marcia Inhorn photoMarcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs in the Department of Anthropology and MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, where she also chairs the Council on Middle East Studies. Inhorn specializes in Middle Eastern gender, religion, and reproductive health issues, and is the author of six books on the subject.
Michal Raucher photoMichal Raucher is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of Israel studies, the anthropology of women in Judaism, and reproductive ethics. Her first book, Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women (Indiana University Press, 2020) is an ethnography of Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish women’s reproductive ethics.
Sponsored by the Center for Faith and Vocation

We wish to thank the Muslim Studies Endowment for sponsorship and our partners in the Philosophy, Religion, and Classics Department.

Spring 2022

Anti-Domestic Violence Work

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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In the United States, nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner each minute of the day. Today, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced severe intimate partner physical violence. How does religion offer both justifications for and possible resources to address domestic violence? This conversation brings together research, activism, and faith to address the problems and potentials of drawing on religion in anti-domestic violence work.

Julianne Hammer photoJuliane Hammer is Associate Professor of& Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in the study of gender and sexuality in Muslim societies and communities, race and gender in US Muslim communities, as well as contemporary Muslim thought, activism and practice, and Sufism. She has authored and edited six books including her latest, Peaceful Families: American Muslim Efforts against Domestic Violence (Princeton University Press, 2019).
Amy Gopp photoRev. Amy Gopp serves as the Senior Pastor of the Kent United Church of Christ. Gopp is one of the key founding leaders of the interfaith We Will Speak Out U.S. coalition and campaign to end sexual and gender-based violence. She is the President of the Faith Trust Institute’s Board of Directors and also serves on the Safer Futures Domestic Violence and Resource Center Advisory Board in Portage County, Ohio.
The Endings and Beginnings of Sacred Communities: Changes in Monastic Living

Tuesday, March 15

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In the 21st century, traditional forms of family and community are being re-envisioned. These transformations are shaping ideas about sexual ethics, marriage, community and nation, forging new social relations for religious clerics and everyday people alike. Drawing together insights from Buddhist history with the lived realities of& today’s Nuns Nones—a community of Catholic sisters and millennial seekers who come together in their shared commitments for justice—the evening’s conversation will contemplate new forms of connection that challenge and reinvigorate the idea of sacred community.

Jaffe photoRichard M. Jaffe is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute at Duke University. A specialist in the study of Buddhism in early modern and modern Japan, Jaffe is author of two books, including Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism (2001), as well as the general editor of the four-volume Selected Works of D. T. Suzuki, one of the most influential twentieth-century figures involved in the globalization of Zen Buddhism.
Barbara Hansen photoSr. Barbara Hansen, OP, has spent sixty-three years as a vowed woman religious of the Dominican Sisters – Grand Rapids. She holds a Ph.D in analytical chemistry and has taught high school and college. She was in college and congregation leadership for twenty years, a parish associate for four years and worked in public television for thirteen years before retiring. She remains an active volunteer. Sr. Barbara has served as the Sister organizer for the Grand Rapids group of Nuns and Nones since it began in 2017.
Kendra Avila photoKendra Avila is the Youth Housing Coordinator for a Housing Non-profit located in Grand Rapids MI. She walks alongside youth ages 18-24 who are experiencing homelessness or have aged out of the foster care system. A passionate advocate for equity and social justice, she recently won the Young Non-Profit Professional Networks (YNPN) award for exemplary programming leadership. She has attended and helped facilitate Grand Rapids Nuns and Nones since April 2017.


For many years Butler University has sponsored the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs. In 2003, the Lilly Endowment Inc. funded the creation of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University which now sponsors the Butler Seminar. Below is a selection of past seminars in the form of the original brochures that were created for each event.

World Christianity in the New Century, 1999–2000

Religion and Law at Home and Abroad, 2003–2004

Religion and Science, 2004–2005

Religion and Media, 2005–2006

Religion and the Corporation, 2006–2007

Secularism and Religion in Global Perspective, 2007–2008

Darwin, Religion and Society, 2008–2009

Jerusalem: Traditions, Realities and Prospects, 2009–2010

Religion, Peacemaking and Conflict, 2010–2011

Global Christianity in the 21st Century, 2011–2012

Religion and Global Health, 2012–2013

Freedom of Expression and Religion, 2013–2014

Religion and Reconciliation in Global Perspective, 2014–2015

Religion, Race and Culture, 2015–2016

Religion and Trans Lives in a Global Perspective, 2016–2017

Religion, Refugees, and Migration, 2017–2018

Sacred Places: Intersections of Religion and Ecology, 2018–2019


The Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs is a program of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University, promoting understanding of interfaith and intercultural relations through the discussion of religious issues in global perspectives.

After each event, video will be available on this website.

Previous Years’ Recordings

Why are black Americans disproportionately incarcerated in America? In this session, we explore the historical, social, cultural, and religious roots of this injustice through the lens of black theology and with reference to the resources of the black church.

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Many of America’s prisoners have embraced Islam while incarcerated, and Muslims have also been active in caring for the social and religious needs of ex-offenders. In this session, we explore what Islam has to say and what Muslims are doing about incarceration in America.

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From the office to the hospital room, the benefits of mindfulness have been scientifically proven. In this session, we learn about various efforts to improve the lives of inmates through the practice of meditation.

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The Chinese government has a troubled relationship with the nation’s religious minorities. In this session, we hear from experts on the persecution and mass incarceration of China’s Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims.

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What draws people to the work of ecology, conservation, and environmental activism? In what sense is that work a vocation, a calling? In this session, we will hear from three scholars and activists, each with their own unique inspiration and vision of the work of ecology as a vocation.

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In this session, we will hear from scholars of two non-theistic religious traditions and learn how these traditions frame care for the Earth without reference to a Creator God. We will discover that Buddhism and Jainism contain powerful and promising resources, such as non-harm and interdependence, that can promote a robust environmental ethic.

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Climate change is the most significant environmental problem of our time. In this session we will consider the perils of climate change from a global perspective with the help of scholars of Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism.

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What does it mean to “think globally and act locally” in terms of ecology and ecojustice? In this session, we will hear from three scholars and activists on the important environmental work being done right here in Indiana.

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