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Date: Jun 23, 2007
DR. JULIE BYRNE NAMED TO MSGR. THOMAS J. HARTMAN CHAIR FOR CATHOLIC STUDIES
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - Julie Byrne, Ph.D., an assistant professor of religion at Duke University, has been named to the new Msgr. Thomas J. Hartman Chair for Catholic Studies, President Stuart Rabinowitz announced today.
The endowed chair, the second in the Department of Religion at Hofstra, was funded through money raised at a 2004 testimonial gala in honor of Msgr. Hartman, better known to Long Islanders as "Father Tom" or one-half of "The God Squad."
The Department of Religion, created in the fall of 2005, offers students the opportunity to explore the central role religion plays in social, political and economic events, as well as in the lives of individuals and communities. Courses examine the history of religions, the rituals that mark important life events, the human beliefs that underlie those rituals and the sacred texts and stories that shape the way so many people experience each other and the world. The Department is also home to the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Endowed Chair in Sikh Studies, currently held by Prof. Arvind-Pal Mandair, Ph.D.
Dr. Byrne said that she hopes to make the study of Catholicism "interesting and accessible to a wide range of students and community members who by looking at one faith can learn much about religion, gender, race, ethnicity, history, politics, and globalization in general."
Dr. Byrne has had been an assistant professor of religion at Duke since 2004. She received her B.A. in religion and medieval and renaissance studies (1990), her M.A (1996) and her Ph.D. (2001) from Duke. She was an instructor in the Department of Religion there from 1996-97 and an assistant professor at Texas Christian University from 2000-2004, after which she rejoined the Duke faculty. She is the author of O God of Players: The Story of the Immaculata Mighty Macs, (Columbia University Press, 2003); "Roman Catholics and Immigration in Nineteenth-Century America" and "Roman Catholics and the American 'Mainstream' in the Twentieth Century," articles for the National Humanities Center's online TeacherServe installment on the American religious history, Divining America: Religion and the National Culture, Oct. 1, 1997. She brings to Hofstra a reputation as a dynamic teacher who trains her students to approach religion "on the ground" using the tools of ethnography and anthropology. Interviews, site visits and careful observations are central to her research and her pedagogical goals.
Hofstra University is a dynamic, private University offering more than 140 undergraduate and 150 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communications, education and allied human services and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. Hofstra offers students the opportunity to live and learn on our beautiful 240-acre Long Island campus, just 45 minutes from New York City's cultural and career opportunities.