The Columbia University Seminar on Religion and Writing

Our meetings are open, but a RSVP is required.  Columbia University’s COVID protocols apply to the in-person meetings:  If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to write to me (dar2111 [at]

Details for the 2023-2024 program will be published as they became available.  Our meetings will be organized as ZOOM or as hybrid events, depending on the location of the speaker and other practical considerations.  Hybrid events will be accessible to both ZOOM and in-person participants.  The in-person participants will convene in the Faculty House on Columbia’s Morningside campus (64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY 10027; for directions, please click here; for accommodation of access, please see below).


October 19, 2023 – June McDaniel (College of Charleston): Writing on Ecstasy in the Academy: Can It Be Done? Should It Be Done?

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, noon-2pm (ZOOM ONLY) – Andrew Dunning (University of Oxford): Deploying Writing and Craft in the Twelfth-Century Cult of St Frideswide

Anyone arriving to Oxford by train will pass through Frideswide Square. Visitors will quickly learn that Frideswide was an early English princess and abbess who became the patron saint of the city and university in the later Middle Ages. They are less likely to learn how this woman became a figurehead uniting Oxford’s town and exclusively male gown. The answer lies in a series of twelfth-century mishaps: a mismanaged foundation of a religious community, a Sicilian book-hunting expedition gone wrong, and an assassination. These seemingly unrelated threads come together in the journeys of a writer and regular canon, Robert of Cricklade, and his efforts to recreate a pilgrimage cult to an early English saint at St Frideswide’s Priory, an Augustinian community founded around 1120 out of the remnants of earlier foundations.

Thursday, March 28, 2024 – Dana W. Fishkin (Touro College): Immanuel of Rome: A Jewish Dante?

Thursday, April 18, 2024 – Ali Karjoo-Ravary (Columbia University)

Columbia University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  University Seminar participants with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations may contact the Office of Disability Services at 212.854.2388 or [email protected].  Disability accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, are available on request.  Requests for accommodations must be made two weeks in advance.

The official page of the Columbia University Seminar 751 is available at:  For more information about the seminar’s history, please see:  The abstracts of all talks since January 2012 are archived at:

Dagmar A. Riedel, chair
Columbia University
dar2111 [at]

Heidi Hansen, rapporteur
Columbia University
Department of History
heh2135 [at]

First published, 1 February 2012
Last updated, 21 October 2023