Shipka lecture: “Religion, Race and Democracy”

Charles Long

Charles Long

Charles Long, former president of the American Academy of Religion, presents “American Dilemma: Religion, Race and Democracy” as part of the Shipka Speaker Series 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, examines the foundational elements of religion in the conception of America and traces its implications into the 21st century.

A native of Little Rock, Ark., Long served in the Army Air Forces before earned B.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Chicago. At UC, he studied with Professor Joachim Wach, the pioneer of the field of History of Religions. As Professor of History of Religions at UC, Long co-founded the international journal, History of Religions. He was also the founding editor of the series Studies in Religion for the University of North Carolina Press and has been involved in training several generations of scholars of religion and African American studies.

His publications include Alpha: The Myths of Creation (1963), The History of Religions: Essays on the Problem of Understanding, edited with Joseph Kitagawa (1967), and Significations: Signs, Symbols and Images in the Interpretation of Religion (1986). He has served as president of the American Academy of Religion (1973) and the Society for the Study of Black Religion (1987-1990), which he co-founded. He is also a member of various professional organizations, including the International Association of Historians of Religion, National Humanities Faculty, and the American Society for the Study of Religion. In 1991, he received the Professional Achievement Citation of the University of Chicago Alumni Association. Long has served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Syracuse University, where he served as director of the Humanities Doctoral Program, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was professor of Religious Studies and the director for the Research Center for Black Studies.

Since retiring in 1996, Long has continued to teach as visiting professor at the University of Capetown in South Africa, the University of South Carolina, the University of Michigan, and the University of Missouri. He has also served as a consultant to a wide range of programs and initiatives, including the African Heritage Museum in Philadelphia, and continues to serve as a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures at Claremont Graduate University.