Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life

The Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life is a gathering point within a public university in Canada focusing on a broad range of themes where religion and public life intersect. The Centre seeks to bring to the university and to the general public original contributions that embody the highest standards of academic scholarship.

Recordings of previous events

Augustana 110-Religion & Public Life: In Conversation with David Goa and Dittmar Mündel

Religion & Public Life: In Conversation with David Goa and Dittmar Mündel

Join David Goa (Founding Director of the Chester Ronning Centre) and Dittmar Mündel (Founding Associate Director) as they discuss the early history of the Ronning Centre and their work at Augustana during the Centre's formative years.

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Augustana 110- Chester Ronning's Mission: Then and Now

Chester Ronning's Mission: Then and Now

Ian Wilson—director of the Chester Ronning Centre and assistant professor of Religious Studies at Augustana—will sit down with University of Alberta alumnus and award winning filmmaker, Tom Radford, '66 BA, to chat about the legacy of Chester Ronning, '46 MA, '65 LLD (Honorary), and how it continues today. During the event, Radford will share his experience working with Ronning, which had a great influence on his own career and ideas.

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Event with Paul Bramadat

Religion and Beyond in Contemporary Vaccine Hesitancy

Normally, scholars and laypeople explicitly or implicitly distinguish between "cultural" and "religious" forms of vaccine hesitancy. In order to address urgent public health dilemmas that have become quite stark during the current pandemic, it is worthwhile to reflect on some of the shared roots of these phenomena. Many questions arise from these reflections: from the vantage point of a hesitant individual and community, what sort of world is being imagined as the problem, and the solution? What can the study of religion contribute to our understanding of hesitancy related to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in particular? Or, to look at this matter from a different angle, what do we learn about religion/spirituality by thinking about "conspirituality"?

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Event with Lori Beaman

Lunch & Learn: World-Repairing work and living well together in the New Diversity

This talk will focus on the idea of world-repairing work as a site for collaboration between diverse people. As the consequences of climate change become increasingly clear, humans are finding creative and innovative ways to address it through collaborations that transcend boundaries, manifest deep equality, and focus on similarity rather than difference.

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Event with Hannah M. Strømmen

"Biblical Assemblages in the European Far Right" with Hannah M. Strømmen

Taking the far-right terrorist attacks in Norway on the 22 July 2011 as a starting point, this talk examines the role Bibles play in European far-right circles. It is not just a matter of interpretations of the Bible informing far-right ideology. Rather, Bibles and biblical texts function in varied, sticky ways and in conjunction with multiple elements in the arsenal of symbols, artefacts, stories and statements on the far right.

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Events with Sarah Hurwitz

"A Jewish Journey in the White House" with Sarah Hurwitz

During the final years of her tenure in the White House as First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief speechwriter, Sarah Hurwitz reconnected with Judaism, exploring the wisdom of Jewish law, the power of Jewish spirituality, and the lessons of Jewish history, all of which had a profound impact on her political career. From drafting her first out of office message for Shabbat, to attending her first Jewish silent meditation retreat, to coming to understand that her role as a speechwriter is to tell the story of the stranger – those who are oppressed or forgotten – Hurwitz speaks about her Jewish journey and how her Jewish values shaped her time in the White House. And she shares insights from her new book, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life -- in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).

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Coffee and Conversation with Sarah Hurwitz

Grab a coffee and join us in this exclusive event! Chester Ronning Centre Director, Ian Wilson, will lead us in an intimate interview and Q+A session with Sarah Hurwitz.

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Events with Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Who is Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu?

We have created an exclusive animated short in collaboration with Rev. Tutu to share her journey.

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"Truth and Reconciliation in a Time of Crises" with Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

In the past five years, Canadians have learned about the impacts of residential school systems and the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Add in a pandemic, climate change, political strife and protests against police brutality and racism — it’s a lot to process. In response to these issues and crises, hear from the Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, who discusses how we can work toward truth and reconciliation in today’s complex world.

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Coffee and Conversation with Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Grab a coffee and join us in this exclusive event! Chester Ronning Centre Director, Ian Wilson, will lead us in an intimate interview and Q+A session with Rev. Naomi Tutu following  Truth and Reconciliation in a Time of Crises.

Watch on YouTube