Philosophy and Religious Studies Faculty Receive Awards

A remarkable number of the faculty in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies—five—received awards during the 2021-22 academic year. These include two significant NC State awards and three prestigious external awards.

Marina F. Bykova, professor of philosophy, was designated as an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor in recognition of her outstanding teaching. Bykova is the department’s expert in 19th century German philosophy and more recent continental philosophy. She regularly teaches Kantian Ethics for the University Honors Program and Existentialism, Nineteenth Century Philosophy and Continental Philosophy Since 1900 for the department. Excellence in teaching, according to Bykova, involves “promoting the ability of students to think critically about any topic, broaden their intellectual horizons, and develop greater self-awareness and understanding of their place in the world.” She adds that “higher education should not only give students some specific skills that will help them earn a living, but perhaps even more important, it should teach the critical thinking needed for self-realization.”

Veljko Dubljevic, associate professor of philosophy and of science, technology and society (STS), was designated as a University Faculty Scholar in recognition of his outstanding academic achievements and his contributions to the university and beyond through his teaching, scholarship and service. Dubljevic was appointed to NC State as an assistant professor in the ethics of emerging science and technology in 2016 and was promoted to associate professor in 2021. His active, collaborative research agenda in neuroethics and the ethics of artificial intelligence has yielded an impressive and rapidly-growing list of professional publications. In 2021 the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded him its CAREER Award for a project on the ethics of autonomous vehicles. This very prestigious award including a five-year federal research grant of over $500,000. Dubljevic is only the second faculty member in the NC State College of Humanities and Social Sciences to have received a CAREER award.

William Adler, professor of religious studies, was awarded a fellowship by Dumbarton Oaks, a division of Harvard University, to pursue his scholarship at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC over the 2022-23 academic year. A world-recognized expert in early Christian historiography, Adler will work mainly on a critical edition of the Greek text of the Palaea Historica, a Byzantine retelling of biblical history composed no earlier than the ninth century. The Palaea is notable for its copious extra-biblical traditions about various biblical personalities, including Lamech, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Melchizedek, Moses, and Balaam. Adler’s edition will be based on 21 manuscripts, with dates ranging from the 13th to the 17th centuries. While devoting his attention to his scholarship at Dumbarton Oaks, Adler will be on scholarly reassignment from NC State.

Kathleen M. Foody, assistant professor of religious studies, was awarded a Summer Stipend by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), during the summer of 2022. An expert on Islam in the contemporary world, Foody has published journal articles on a range of topics, including religious argument in contemporary Iran; Muslims and the media; and liberalism and anti-liberalism in post-revolutionary Iran. Her NEH Summer Stipend will provided her with concerted time to work on a book project with the tentative title Islamophilia to Islamophobia: Liberal Religion and the Global Public Sphere.

Xavier Pickett, assistant professor of religious studies and Africana studies (AFS), was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to pursue his scholarship at Columbia University during the 2022-23 academic year, when he will be on scholarly reassignment from NC State. Pickett’s scholarly work focuses on African American religion, politics, emotions and social movements such as Black Power and #BlackLivesMatter. His project at Columbia is to complete the manuscript of a book entitled Black Irreligious Fire: Affect, Politics, Religion. This book will explore the affective space between the religious and the nonreligious in which a growing number of Americans find themselves, examining ways in which rage animates certain social and political movements and affects the actions of those movements. Pickett’s book will also offer an account of the underpinnings of African American literature and Black Power and draw out the consequences of that account for African American studies, the academic study of religion and public life.

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