Wickenden Lectures

From a frieze in the U.S. Supreme Court building. A winged figure representing inspiration holds the scales of justice.

In 1927, Arthur C. Wickenden became the founding chair of what was then called the Department of Religion at Miami University--one of the two oldest departments devoted to the study of religion at an American state-supported university.  (The other was at the University of Iowa.) The Arthur C. Wickenden Lectures were founded in 1970 by Miami graduate Rev. Walter Simmons and members of the Wickenden family, in commemoration of Professor Wickenden’s life and in celebration of the human spirit.

This annual lecture series is free and open to the public.

2022-2023 speaker

Kristin Kobes Du MezKristin Kobes Du Mez
Calvin University
"Jesus and John Wayne and the Evangelical Reckoning"

March 14, 2023 (Tuesday)
4:30-6:30 p.m.
101 Bachelor Hall

How can we understand our current politics in light of a longer history of white evangelical Christianity? Taking popular culture seriously, historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez traces the intersection of evangelical masculinity and Christian nationalism over the past half century and explores what this means for the future of American democracy.

Dr. Du Mez is a professor of history at Calvin University, where she teaches on US women's history and US cultural history. Her most recent book is Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, a New York Times bestseller.

Past speakers


Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
Indiana University Bloomington
"Joan of Arc: Queer King of France?"

Elizabeth Bucar
Northeastern University
"Stealing My Religion: The Ethics of Religious Appropriation"


Canceled due to the Covid pandemic


Canceled due to the Covid pandemic


Rukmini Callimachi
New York Times
"Speaking to the Enemy: The Making of the 'Caliphate' Podcast"


Rhys H. Williams
Loyola University Chicago
"Religion in Urban America: Race, Immigration, and New Forms of Faith in U.S. Cities"


John H. Evans
University of California, San Diego
"The Eclipse of the Sacred Human: Are Human Rights under Threat from Medical Science?"


John Corrigan
Florida State University
"Why Christians in America Today Feel Empty and Why They Like It That Way"


Dale Jamieson
New York University
"Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed and What It Means for Our Future"


Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
Indiana University-Bloomington
"The World That Smith Made: Advocating for Religion in the U.S. Today"
"EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor: Constitutionalizing 'The Church'"


Barbara Herrnstein Smith
Duke University
"Science and Religion, De-simplified"
"Angles on Relativism: Historical, Anthropological, Political, and Affective"


David Carrasco
Harvard Divinity School
"Latinos Remaking America: Baseball, Immigration, and Imagination"
"Sacred Violence and the Conquest of Mexico: Aztec Sacrifice and Spanish Massacres--All in the Names of Gods"


Amanda Porterfield
Florida State University
"Doubt: The Engine of American Political and Religious Formation, 1798-1812"


Peter Gottschalk
Wesleyan University
"The Science of Religion: The Quest to Know India through Scientism"
"Islamophobia: What Cartoons Say about How We View Islam"


Michael Sells
University of Chicago
"Translating the Qur’an"
"Pilgrimage and War"


Randall Balmer
Columbia University
"Wading into Troubled Waters: The Betrayal of the Religious Right"


Paul B. Courtright
Emory University
"Where is the Religion in the Classroom? Scholars and Practitioners in a Multicultural Context"


William LaFleur
University of Pennsylvania
"Informed Dissent: Why Japanese and Germans Want Brakes Put on the Biotech Juggernaut"
"Therapy vs. Purity: Medicine, Religion and Japan’s Dilemma"


Ariel Glucklick
Georgetown University
"The Science of Religious Consciousness: The Case of Pain"
"The Case of Illumination: Seeing the Sacred Light"


John Dominic Crossan
DePaul University


Alan Wolfe
Boston College
"Religious Traditions in a Non-Traditional World"
"The Disappearance of Doctrine from American Religion"


Lawrence E. Sullivan
Harvard Divinity School
"Stewards of the Sacred: Museums Communities and Religions in Democratic Society"
"Doing Globalization Justice: Religion in the Global Economy"


John Collins
University of Chicago
"Apocalypse and Politics in the Ancient World"

Paul Boyer
University of Wisconsin
"Apocalypse and Politics in the Modern World"


Daniel Walker Howe
Rhodes Professor of American History, University of Oxford
"Church, State, and Education in Antebellum America"


Wendy Doniger
University of Chicago Divinity School
"The Many Voices of Political Myths"
"The Man Who Committed Adultery with His Own Wife: Sexual Masquerades in World Theology"


Robert B. Alter
University of California at Berkeley
"The Living Language of Genesis"
"The Double Canonicity of the Hebrew Bible"


Jeremy Adams
Southern Methodist University
"Is Religion in the West Exceptional? Two Case Studies"


Stephen J. Stein
Indiana University
"Shaker Religion and Life in 19th-Century America"


Theme: "The Holocaust: The Reality and Banality of Evil"

Abraham Peck
Hebrew Union College

Charles Winquist
Syracuse University


James M. Robinson
Claremont Graduate School
"The Jesus of Q as a Liberation Theologian"
"The Archaic Primitive Christianity of Q"


Frank Moore Cross
Harvard University
"The Redemption of Nature"
"Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel"


Forum: "What is the Meaning of Religion?"

Charles Long
Syracuse University

Robert Segal
Louisiana State University


Diana L. Eck
Harvard University
"World Religions at the Crossroads: Fundamentalism or Pluralism"
"Living Myth: The Landscape of Hindu Pilgrimage"


Mahmoud Ayoub
University of Toronto
"Martyrdom and Suffering in Shiite Ethos"
"The Role of the Qur’an in Muslim Society"


Wayne A. Meeks
Yale University
"The Origin of Christianity: A New Look at an Old Puzzle"
"Jesus and the Other Messiahs"
"Christianity and the Other Cults"


Frank E. Reynolds
University of Chicago
"The Humanities and the Study of Religion: The Challenge of Pluralism"
"Reconstructing Liberal Education: Is It Worth the Effort?"
"Reconstructing Religious Studies: Problems and Possibilities"


Raymond E. Brown
Union Theological Seminary (New York)
"The Theology of the Gospel of  John: The Most Adventuresome in the New Testament"
"Differences Among Early Christian Preachers of the Gospel"
"The Beginnings of the Church of Rome"


John F. Wilson
Princeton University
"New Religions in American Culture"
"The Religious Dynamics of American Society"
"Religion and Innovation in American Society"


Marvin Pope
Yale University
"Solomon’s Sublime Song and the Great Goddess"
"Eros/Thanatos: The Dead as Bride and Groom"


Annemarie Schimmel
Harvard University and the University of Bonn
"The Contribution of Sufism to Islamic Culture"
"The Suffering of Al-Hallaj, Martyr of Mystic Love"


Thorkild Jacobsen
Harvard University
"The Wedding and Death of Tammuz"
"Lament for Lost Cities"


James F. Childress
University of Virginia
"Who Should Decide? Medical Paternalism and Patient Autonomy"
"Ethical Issues in Biomedical Technology"


Shemaryahu Talmon
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"The State of Higher Education in Israel Today"
"Martin Buber’s Utopianism in Relation to Kibbutzim"


Martin E. Marty
University of Chicago
"Impulses in the American Religious Experience"
"The Hunger for Wholeness"
"The Apostle for Freedom"


Helmet Koester
Harvard University
"Views of Jesus in Early Christianity"
"Early Christian Sites in Macedonia and Greece"


Huston Smith
Syracuse University
"The Human Import of Science"
"America as a Mission Field"


Manfred H. Vogel
Northwestern University
"Who is a Jew?"
"A Theology of the State of Israel"


Theme: "The Contemporaneity of the Past in American Religious Thought"

Sydney E. Ahlstrom
Yale University
"Romanticism as a Religious Revolution: From Rousseau to Martin Luther King"

William A. Clebsch
Stanford University
"Authority and Assurance: From Puritanism to the New Protest"


Joseph Fletcher
University of Virginia
"The New Morality: An Ethical Breakthrough"
"Biocrats: Technocrats in Biology and Medicine Have Taken Over"

Photo credit

Wisdom and Lady Justice by Flickr user Ted, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0; cropped from original.