S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Brent Rodriguez-Plate presented several lectures and made several classroom visits this fall.

Plate spent time at St. Francis University and Skidmore College where professors are using his 2014 book A History of Religion in 5½ Objects as a textbook for their classes.

At Skidmore, Plate met with the Senior Seminar in Religious Studies to discuss the role of objects in religious life. Religious studies students at Skidmore will each choose one object on which to center their senior thesis; Plate discussed several of their ideas with them.

Students in a 100-level honors course at St. Francis read Plate’s book and then, as part of a service-learning component, visited an assisted-living center and asked residents about the objects that have been meaningful to them. Students compiled these stories and created posters about the people and their objects, and the posters were then presented to the residents.

Plate also presented public lectures at St. Francis and Skidmore. He discussed his work in progress, The Spiritual Life of Dolls. This book will offer an evocative, cross-cultural view of how dolls have been central to religious and cultural structures, helping humans to ritualize and socialize.

In South Korea, Plate participated in the Religious Conflict and Coexistence conference, organized by the World Religious Peace Association and hosted by Chonbuk National University in Jeonju. He presented a paper on “Documenting Religion: Tension and Resolution in Documentary Films,” in which he questioned the line between fact and fiction.

In addition to his travels, Plate was part of a Zoom conference with students at Gonzaga University, where the capstone senior seminar in religious studies is also using his book.


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