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Studying Religion Topic of Conference Oct. 25-26


Contact:Daniel Breyer, Department of Philosophy,

The Department of Philosophy and the Religious Studies Program at Illinois State University will host a two-day conference on religious studies in higher education, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26. Conference sessions will address the importance of studying religion and examine different approaches to teaching and learning about religion.

The conference is free and open to the public and no registration is required. All presentations will take place in the State Farm Hall of Business room 148.

The conference will open at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, with a keynote address by Gadadhara Pandit Dasa (aka Pandit), a Hindu monk and the first ever Hindu chaplain for Columbia University and New York University. Pandit will speak on teaching Hinduism to non-Hindus. He regularly contributes to the Huffington Post and recently published his autobiography, Urban Monk - Exploring Karma, Consciousness and the Divine. Recently, NPR featured Pandit in its story, Long Days and Short Nights of a Hindu Monk.

Mark Muesse, an associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., will speak at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 25. Muesse’s research focuses on comparative religion and spirituality. He is the author of The Age of Sages: The Axial Age in Asia.

Mark Berkson, chair of the Religion Department at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Berkson’s research focuses on comparative religion, religious ethics, and interreligious dialogue. Berkson recently produced a lecture series with The Great Courses titled Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know.

For more information, including a conference schedule, contact Department of Philosophy Assistant Professor Daniel Breyer at or visit

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