ELKINS - Dr. Bryan Wagoner, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at Davis & Elkins College, has been awarded a $5,000 research grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, supported by the Lilly Endowment Inc. His research will focus on best practices for teaching religion and violence in a broad sense.
Wagoner’s project, titled “Re-imagining Violence and the Sacred,” will include some of his own experiences in teaching similar religious studies classes in the fall 2014 semester and First-Year Symposium, and how he would instruct the courses differently.
Wagoner will complete the research this summer.
“The intersection of religion and violence is one of the most misunderstood areas in both scholarly and popular imagination. It draws upon history, political science, psychology and other disciplines,” says Wagoner. “Most of our students cannot remember a time before 9/11, and they have been repeatedly told that terrorism is inherently rooted in misguided religious fervor. This is both false and damaging, and learning in this area demands critical examination of closely held assumptions. I will be interviewing other scholars who have taught in this area and reading pedagogical scholarship, trying to figure out how best to help students responsibly engage this complex aspect of our interdependent world.”
The results of Wagoner’s research will be published as recommendations for other religious studies faculty throughout the nation planning to teach the same topic.
In addition to teaching at Davis & Elkins, Wagoner also serves as director of the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy.
Last year, Wagoner was among only 14 fellows chosen from throughout the United States to participate in the prestigious fellowship and pedagogy workshop with the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. He will complete the final session of collaborative work this summer.
Wagoner joined the Davis & Elkins College faculty in fall 2012. He earned his doctorate in Religion from Harvard University, his Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University and his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Literature from Gordon College. His research interests include modern religious thought, particularly Christianity and Buddhism, secularism and religious identity, and comparative world religions and ethics.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.