“Building Diverse Communities: Past and Present”: A panel hosted by the Classical Studies Program

In a panel comprised of members of Elon’s faculty and staff, students had the opportunity to discuss the collective journey of fostering a more inclusive and equitable society through experiences from historical communities worldwide. These narratives serve as guiding lights, offering both cautionary tales and alternative models to challenge longstanding systems and structures. Through exploring how diverse communities have been envisioned, established, and maintained throughout history, students gained profound lessons that resonate with contemporary challenges and aspirations. Embracing these lessons empowers students to navigate complex social landscapes, foster meaningful dialogue, and forge paths toward a more just and inclusive future.

A Luncheon with Dr. Buffie-Longmire-Avital: “How Jewish American Parents Engage in Jewish Racial-Ethnic Socialization”

Elon Professor of Psychology and Director of the Black Lumen Project, Dr. Buffie Longmire-Avital, presented research from a recent study she conducted on “How Jewish American Parents Engage in Jewish Racial-Ethnic Socialization.” This study’s principal research question asked, “to what extent do parents socialize their children to be aware that the Jewish people in America are multi-racial?” Utilizing personal narrative, anecdotal sharing, and survey data about the experience of Jews of color (JoCs), the talk addressed that question to a room full of Elon faculty and staff from many different departments. Longmire-Avital discussed how Jewish American parents consciously and subconsciously engage in Jewish racial-ethnic socialization and how white Jewish parents and Jewish parents of color talk about race and the Jewish people.

Rebecca Epstein-Levi “When We Collide: Sex, Social Risk, and Jewish Ethics.”

Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Vanderbilt University, Rebecca Epstein-Levi, gave a talk titled, “Textual Intercourse: Present-Day Problems, Rabbinic Sources, and Relational Ethics.” Drawing from her book, When We Collide: Sex, Social Risk, and Jewish Ethics, the lecture explored multifaceted social interactions associated with Jewish sexualities and their effects at the individual and interpersonal levels. The talk also discussed the development of a Jewish sexual ethic that looks beyond the traditional heteronormative relationships presented in Jewish texts. The lecture was made possible by support from the Fund for Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, WGSS, Spirit and Pride, the GLC, the Truitt Center, and the CSRCS.

Rex G. & Ina Maw Powell Lecture in Religious Studies — Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Woman’s Sexuality

Dr. Monique Moultrie, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University, delivered the 2023 Rex G. and Ina Mae Powell Lecture in Religious Studies. The lecture explored the impact of faith-based sexuality ministries on Black women’s sexual agency, focusing particularly on how women in celibacy groups navigate sexual desire, religious authority, and their own spiritual pathway. Dr. Moultrie’s research is based on focus groups with Black women active in Protestant Christian ministries led by heterosexual Black women in non-traditional Black church settings. Moultrie examined singles’ ministries, conferences, television programming, internet dating practices, and media-savvy celibacy projects, to understand how Black churchwomen reconcile their Christian identities with their sexuality, same-sex attraction, senior sexuality, and abstinence. Her first book on these topics, Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality was the Religious Communication Association 2018 Book of the Year.

W.D. Mohammed Legacy Symposium

Elon University held its second annual Legacy Symposium, which celebrates the life and contributions of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, one of the most important leaders of Islam in US Muslim history. The son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, W.D. Muhammad helped guide followers of the Black Muslim movement to orthodox, Sunni Islam in the 1970s. This year the symposium, hosted by the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society, the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education, and Muslim Life, featured guest speakers Imam Salahuddin Muhammad and Imam Oliver Mohammed from As Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh.

Jewish Studies Tenth Anniversary

This spring Elon University’s Jewish Studies program celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a reception on the Lindner Hall plaza. Established in the fall of 2012, the academic minor explores the historical and contemporary experience of Jewish people through courses spanning the liberal arts. Jewish Studies leads students to consider the distinctive ideas and practices of Jewish communities, the ways in which Jewish ideas have influenced and have been influenced by other civilizations, the conditions under which Jews have been the victims of persecution, and the significance of the establishment of the State of Israel in the 20th century. Speakers at the event included Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences Gabie Smith, founding program coordinator Professor of Religious Studies Geoffrey Claussen, and current coordinator, Associate Professor of History Andrea Sinn. The program has become a robust and lively intellectual space at Elon, and we are grateful to our faculty partners who teach these important classes. Many congratulations on ten years!