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The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in conjunction with the
Department of Religious Studies presents

The 26th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

Encountering Religions Through Performance

Chanting the Qur’an, tending to deities, dancing to drums, singing spirituals: people experience their religions through many kinds of performance. Performance also provides ways to encounter others’ religions, often serving as an initial introduction to traditions from different communities and cultures. Urban settings include a multiplicity of religious "performances" and a breadth of religious practice. The 26th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium will explore Indianapolis’s religious diversity and provide attendees opportunities to witness and discuss religion’s performative aspects.


Download the full 2015 schedule - [PDF]


8:30 am - 8:55 am  Registration
Campus Center Theater (lower level)


8:55 am - 9:00 am  Welcome
Campus Center Theater (lower level)
William Blomquist, Dean; Professor of Political Science, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI


9:00 am - 9:45 am Feeling the Spirit
Campus Center Theater (lower level)
Gospel music has become an increasingly popular music genre and can be consumed in a number of different venues. Explore the performance and reception of gospel music in local African American Christian communities, specifically highlighting the role of gospel music and musically-inspired worship (communion with the divine) in the spiritual, social, and political lives of African American Christians.

Participants: John Ray, Minister of Music, Light of the World Christian Church Light of the World Gospel Ensemble

Moderator: Joseph Tucker Edmonds, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI


9:45 am - 10:00 am Break


10:00 am - 10:45 am             Hearing Allah’s Presence
Campus Center Theater (lower level)

Chanting and listening to the Qur’an are central to many Muslims’ worship and daily living. Mohamad Saltagi memorized the entire Qur’an as a student. He discusses hearing its poetry and guidance reverberate throughout his life.


Participant: Mohamad Saltagi, Student, IU School of Medicine

Moderator: David M. Craig, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI


10:45 am - 11:00 am             Break     


11:00 am - 11:45 am             Realization of Divinity 

Campus Center Theater (lower level)

Every day in Indianapolis, Hindus perform puja, the "worship" of deities installed privately in their homes or publicly at Hindu temples, where many people attend the installation of deities in order to participate in the first darshana or "vision" of them. Our speakers will share their knowledge of the key performances around the installation of deities at the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana.


Participants: Dr. Anil Bajpai, Board of Trustees, Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, Shivani Bajpai, Student, IUPUI

Moderator: Andrea R. Jain, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI


11:45 am - 12:00 pm            Break


12:00 pm - 2:00 pm  Luncheon
Campus Center 450 (fourth floor)
Seating is limited. Reservations are required.
Featuring food traditions as an aspect of how we perform faith through practice.

Presentation of the Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity Awards
Charles R. Bantz, Chancellor, IUPUI; Executive Vice President, Indiana University;
Professor of Communication Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

Luncheon Performance and Discussion

Sancocho Music and Dance Collage

Sancocho is a musical group dedicated to researching and performing African-derived music and dance from Spanish-speaking cultures of the Caribbean. (The term "Sancocho" comes from the name of a stew in Latin America that combines meats, vegetables and spices to create a unique taste.) Sancocho uses various percussion instruments to underscore the strong African retentions found in the black diaspora. The term "edutainment" best describes the group in that the main audiences are children, universities, and public festivals. Iris Rosa and Anthony Artis founded the ensemble in 1995.

Discussion host: Kelly E. Hayes, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI