Martyrdom and Religious Violence Throughout History: Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Contemplates a Topic of International Significance

Monday, October 17, 2016

UNCW’s Department of History will host John Soboslai for the annual Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series on Oct. 19, 2016. Soboslai, an assistant professor of religion in contemporary global politics at Montclair State University in New Jersey, will speak on the topic, “Dying for God? Martyrdom Across the Ages.” The free lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Warwick Center and is open to the public.

Soboslai will discuss how different religions interpret what it means to be a martyr and look at martyrdom in the context of Christian martyrs in the Roman empire, modern jihadi Islamist organizations who engage in military “martyrdom operations” and Tibetan Buddhists who have self-immolated in opposition to Chinese rule.

“The Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series is a centerpiece of the UNCW Department of History's intellectual life and a unique showcase for the work of junior scholars,” said Department Chair Lynn Mollenauer. “Each year we select a topic of international significance and we receive proposals from young scholars across the globe. Dr. Soboslai’s examination of religious violence and martyrdom across the ages promises to be original, challenging and highly relevant to events today."

Two additional events will enable scholarly discussion of topics related to the lecture. The Sherman Scholar Colloquium features a faculty discussion of a reading of Soboslai’s choosing related to his lecture topic. It is open to graduate students and UNCW faculty and will be held at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in Morton Hall Room 212.

A roundtable discussion at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in Randall Library Auditorium, Room 2047, is open to the public. The panel discussion includes Soboslai and four senior scholars: Mark Juergensmeyer of the University of California at Santa Barbara; James Benn, McMaster University; Anathea Portier-Young, Duke Divinity School; and Herb Berg, professor of philosophy and religion and director of International Studies at UNCW. Dan Masters, chair of the Department of Public and International Affairs, will moderate.

The Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series was endowed by Phillip Sherman and Ann Sherman-Skiba in honor of their parents, Virginia and Derrick Sherman, lifelong learners with a love of history and UNCW’s public programs.

-- Tricia Vance



John Soboslai

John Soboslai of Montclair State University is the 2016 Sherman Emerging Scholar.