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CSR's Spring 2024 Visiting Scholars Initiative

January 29, 2024

CSR's Spring 2024 Visiting Scholars Initiative

Portrait of man and woman side by side

The Center for the Study of Religion is excited to launch a new visiting scholar program for Spring 2024. This ongoing initiative aims to support contingent and independent scholars by bringing them to OSU's main campus for a short-term residence, offering opportunities to participate in the center’s intellectual community.  The pilot for this program, launched in March 2023, brought Dr. Lynn Gerber to OSU, where she met with students and faculty, presented a community talk on her research and engaged in other center activities. After the success of the pilot, CSR requested proposals for future visiting scholars and received over 50 applications. Two scholars were accepted for this academic year: Dr. Elliot Ratzman and Dr. Kimerer LaMothe. 

These two visiting scholars will offer public research lectures, visit classes, engage with students and participate in other center initiatives, including CSR's regular reading and writing groups. Their respective bios and public events are listed below.

Elliot Ratzman is a Visiting Professor in the Religion Department at Earlham College where he teaches courses in Jewish Studies, ethics and philosophy of religion. An alum of Ohio University and Harvard Divinity School, Ratzman completed his PhD through Princeton’s Religion Department, working with Cornel West, Peter Singer, Jeff Stout and Leora Batnitzky. Previously, Ratzman taught Jewish Studies in the Religion departments of Swarthmore, Temple, Lawrence University and Grinnell. His scholarship and teachings address the insights that religious traditions bring to political practice, virtue cultivation and social ethics. Ratzman is finishing a book on the Jewish ethics and anti-racism, Zipporah’s Knife: A Reckoning with Race. His current research explores a network of pacifist rabbis and thinkers who, in the wake of WWII, constructed a “peace tradition” out of the sources of Judaism. Ratzman is also active in efforts for social justice, Middle East peace and global health care equity. He serves on the leadership team of Bend the Arc-Jewish Action (Ohio) and serves on the board of Extend Programs in Israel/Palestine. 

Dr. Ratzman’s research talk, “Jewish Pacifism from Joshua to Gaza,” is on January 31 at 4 pm in 198 Hagerty Hall. 

Kimerer LaMothe,  dancer, philosopher and scholar of religion, is keen on advancing the field of religion and dance. She is the author of six books, including Why We Dance (Columbia University Press), as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. LaMothe earned her PhD in Christian Theology of the Modern West from Harvard University before teaching at Brown and then Harvard for six years. Following a dream, she moved to a small farm in upstate NY, where she co-founded Vital Arts, a center for arts and ideas. LaMothe has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions and the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (twice). Recently, Kimerer wrote the book, lyrics and music for Nietzsche, a full-length musical based on the life and legacy of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his sister Elisabeth. For more information, go to www.kimererlamothe.com

Dr. LaMothe’s research talk, “‘Hard Times Require Furious Dancing’: Decolonizing the Study of Religion and Dance" will be held on Tuesday, March 19 at 4 pm. Her documentary, Why We Dance, will be featured in its first U.S. screening on Monday, March 18th at Wexner Center at 4 pm. 

Follow our events page for more information on individual events with our visiting scholars. 

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