Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture

The annual Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture is one of the important projects of the Religious Studies Program. The 24rd Annual Distinguished Lecture features Dr. Eboo Patel.

Dr. Eboo Patel

The 24th Annual Distinguished Lecture

November 7, 2016, Monday, 7:00 PM
Wright Auditorium
Speaker: Eboo Patel

Lecture: Interfaith Leadership Can Save the World

Dr. Patel holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University. He has authored two books; Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, and Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim. He is a member of President Barack Obama's inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. He is also an American Ismaili of Gujarat Indian Heritage and the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core; a Chicago based international nonprofit organization that aims to promote interfaith dialogue. His core beliefs are that religion is a bridge of corporation rather than a barrier of division. He is inspired to build this bridge by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage and his American citizenship. He has given lectures at the TED conference, Clinton Global Initiative and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum as well as college and university campuses across the country. He is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, and CNN. For tickets contact or call 252-328-6378.

Co-sponsors: THCAS, Religious Studies Program, J. Woolard and Helen Peel, Distinguished Chair in Religious Studies, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, ECU Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Health Sciences; Division of Research, Economic Development, and Engagement; Division of Student Affairs, Office for Equity and Diversity; Student Activities Board; College of Fine Arts and Communication; and the Honors College

Prominent speakers who have delivered the lecture include:

  • Raymond Moody, "Life After Life: The Meaning of Near Death Experiences," Fall, 2015
  • Jose Casanova, Professor of Sociology and head of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, "Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity." Spring 2014
  • Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University, "Strange Bedfellows: The Bible, American Politics, and Homosexuality." Spring 2013
  • J. Kameron Carter, Duke University Divinity School, "Religion and the Post-Racial Condition." Spring 2012
  • Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary (retired), "Recovery from the Long Nightmare of Amnesia." Spring 2010
  • Matthew Fox, theologian and author, "Reinventing Christianity." Fall 2010
  • William G. Dever, Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Arizona (retired), "Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel." Spring 2008
  • Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, Oregon State University (retired), "Christians in the Age of Empire." Fall 2008
  • Phyllis Trible, University Professor of Biblical Studies at Wake Forest University Divinity School, "Taking Back the Bible." Fall 2006
  • Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University Divinity School, "Why No One Wants to Die in America." Fall 2005
  • Christian Smith, Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNC-CH, "Is 'Moralistic Therapeutic Deism' America's Real Religious Faith? Popular Religion From the Mouths of American Youth." Fall 2004
  • Charles Kimball, chair and professor of Religion at Wake Forest University, "When Religions Become Evil." Fall 2003
  • Will D. Campbell, retired, “Speaking His Mind.” Spring, 2003
  • Elizabeth A. Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion, Duke University, "What's the Matter with Marriage? Some Early Christian Answers." Fall 2001
  • Huston Smith, University of California, Berkeley (retired), “Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith in an Age of Disbelief.” Fall 2000
  • Bill J. Leonard, Dean, Wake Forest University Divinity School, "Spirituality in America: Faith or Fad?" Spring 1999
  • Lawrence Cunningham, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, "Thomas Merton: Contemplative Monk as Critic of Culture." Fall 1999
  • Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Professor Sociology of Religion, Center for Social and Religious Research, Hartford Seminary, "Christianity in a Postmodern World: Challenges and Opportunities." Spring 1998
  • Os Guinness, author and lecturer, "The Crisis of Cultural Authority and the Christian Faith." Spring 1997
  • William H. Willimon, Dean of the Chapel and Professor, Duke Divinity School, "Thinking Like a Christian in the Post-Modern World." Fall 1995
  • Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological Seminary, "Unmasking the Powers." Fall 1994
  • Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern Christianity, University of Chicago, "What a Way to End a Millennium: Fundamentalism and Other Hardlines, Today and Tomorrow." Fall 1993
  • Dennis Campbell, Dean, Duke Divinity School. "The Changing Role of Religion in American Culture." Fall 1992

Event Information

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours prior to the event at (252) 328-6799 voice or (252) 328-0899 TTY.

Would you like to receive e-mail notices about area religion-related cultural and/or academic events? If so, please send your request to This list will not be shared with any other group or person. E-mail newsletters are sent only about once every two months. They are sent more frequently during the weeks before the Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture.

The entire exciting schedule of the Voyages of Discovery series can be found here.

Some of the more recent Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture are available on DVD. Please contact Dr. John Tucker ( head of the Voyages of Discovery series. Provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Complete Mailing Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Email address
  • Lecture wanted
  • Number of copies

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For more information, please contact the Program Director:

Dr. Mary Nyangweso
(252) 737-2422