Ulrike Wiethaus20110323wardle9375

Professor of Religion and American Ethnic Studies

Office: Wingate 310
Phone: 758-7169
Email: wiethaus@wfu.edu

Bio

Ulrike Wiethaus (PhD, Religious Studies, Temple University) holds a joint appointment as full professor in the Department of Religion and the American Ethnic Studies Program. Her research explores the history of Christian spirituality with an emphasis on gender justice and political history, and most recently, historic trauma, religion, and incarceration.  As the inaugural director, she has guided the creation of the Religion and Public Engagement concentration in Religious Studies, which is now being offered on the undergraduate and graduate level.

Ulrike Wiethaus has won several university awards for her work, including a Community Solutions Fellowship with the Institute for Public Engagement (2013), the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service (2013), a Shively Family Fellowship (2010 – 2012), the Innovative Teaching Award (with Gillian Overing, 2008), the Presidential Library Grant (with Mary Scanlon, 2008), and the Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts Award for Local Community Involvement and Outreach (2007). She has directed, produced, and co-produced several non-profit documentaries with elders on the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, and most recently edited a non-profit book of poetry and autobiographies by American Indian prisoners at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, NC, which is being translated into Spanish. Her interest in spirituality and community engagement is currently focused on contemplative practices and mindful action.

Publications

Monographs

German Mysticism and the Politics of Culture. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2014.

Trauma and Resilience in American Indian and African American Southern History, edited with Anthony S. Parent. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2013.

Brothers of the Buffalo Speak Up: Contemporary American Indian Prison Writings, co-edited with Brothers of the Buffalo Prayer Circle. CreateSpace, 2012 (non-profit).

The Seven Rites of the Lakota, editor, with texts by Harry Charger. CreateSpace, 2013 (non-profit).

The Seven Rites of the Lakota, editor, limited edition hand-printed book by artist Susanne Martin with texts by Harry Charger, 2010.

Foundations of First Peoples’ Sovereignty, edited, with an introduction and co-authored chapter. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008.

Agnes Blannbekin, Viennese Beguine: Life and Revelations, translated from the Latin with introduction, notes, and interpretive essay. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2002. Reissued in paperback in 2012.

Ecstatic Transformations. Ecstasies and Visions in the Work of Mechthild of Magdeburg and Transpersonal Psychology. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995.

Maps of Flesh and Light. The Religious Experience of Medieval Women, edited, with an introduction and previously unpublished essay. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1993.

Dear Sister. The Correspondence of Medieval Women, co-edited with Karen Cherewatuk, with an introduction and previously unpublished essay. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

 Articles (Select)

 “To the Ice‑House‑‑With Apologies to Virginia Woolf: Conversations on Place in the Humanities,” with Judith Irwin-Mulcahy, Michele Gillespie, Emily Wakild,and Gillian Overing, Forum,10 (2010).

“Mysticism, Experience, and Pedagogy in Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” with Andrew Ettin. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, IV:1 (2009),1-13. http://escholarship.bc.edu/scjr/vol4/iss1/30/

“The Eastern Band of Cherokee: Cultural Revitalization and Demedicalized Death,” by Lisa Lefler and Ulrike Wiethaus. Ch. 11 of v. 1, Lucy Bregman, editor, Religion, Death and Dying. Santa Barbara CA: Praeger, 2010. 213-227

“Diné (Navaho) Narratives of Death and Bereavement,” by Lawrence Shorty and Ulrike Wiethaus. Ch. 9 of v. 3 Lucy Bregman, editor, Religion, Death and Dying.171-190.

“Spatial Metaphors, Textual Production, and Spirituality in the Works of Gertrud of Helfta”, in A Place to Believe In. Locating Medieval Landscapes. Edited by Clare A. Lees and Gillian R. Overing, 132-50. University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 2006.

“Christian Spirituality in the Medieval West (600-1450)”, in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Edited by Arthur Holder, 106-22. Malden/Oxford/Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

“Dionysius of Ryckel: Masculinity and Historical Memory” in Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs. Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages. Edited by Liz Herbert McAvoy and Mari Hughes-Edwards, 116-31. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005.

“Mysticism, Experience, and Pedagogy in Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” with Andrew Ettin. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, IV:1 (2009),1-13. http://escholarship.bc.edu/scjr/vol4/iss1/30/

“The Eastern Band of Cherokee: Cultural Revitalization and Demedicalized Death,” by Lisa Lefler and Ulrike Wiethaus. Ch. 11 of v. 1, Lucy Bregman, editor, Religion, Death and Dying. Santa Barbara CA: Praeger, 2010. 213-227

“Dine (Navaho) Narratives of Death and Bereavement,” by Lawrence Shorty and Ulrike Wiethaus. Ch. 9 of v. 3 Lucy Bregman, editor, Religion, Death and Dying.171-190.

“Spatial Metaphors, Textual Production, and Spirituality in the Works of Gertrud of Helfta”, in A Place to Believe In. Locating Medieval Landscapes. Edited by Clare A. Lees and Gillian R. Overing, 132-50. University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 2006.

“Christian Spirituality in the Medieval West (600-1450)”, in The Blackwell Companion to

Christian Spirituality. Edited by Arthur Holder, 106-22. Malden/Oxford/Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

“Dionysius of Ryckel: Masculinity and Historical Memory” in Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs. Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages. Edited by Liz Herbert McAvoy and Mari Hughes-Edwards, 116-31.Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005.

Courses

COURSES (2007-Present)

FYS 100: Contemplative Traditions

FYS 100: Culture and Capitalism

REL 101: Introduction to Religion

REL 111: American Indian and First People’s Traditions

REL 245/ESE 322: Religion, Poverty, and Social Entrepreneurship

REL265/HMN265/AES 285: Contemporary Issues in American Indian Culture and Religion

HON 310: The Other Middle Ages

REL 367: Contemplative Traditions in Christianity

REL 392: Topics in First Peoples’ Traditions

REL 395: Seminar in Jewish-Christian Relations

REL 700: Theory and Method in Religious Studies

Pedagogy

An Open Letter to My Students: My Teaching Philosophy

To me, teaching in the humanities is an invitation to create knowledge in cooperation. My interdisciplinary training forms the foundation for our work together: to immerse ourselves in the complex process of increasing understanding, insight, and opportunities for advocacy. In the classroom and beyond, this process centers on what it means, has meant, and could mean to be a human being in community with other beings, human and non-human. An appreciation of place – our ties to the land, to home, to a specific landscape — and the meaning that places hold for past and future generations are also important in my work with you. Our conversations thus may begin with an inquiry into the ways in which religion, healing, and place-based cultures intersect; with an inquiry into the foundations of mystical experience; or with an inquiry of how academic, community-based research can support Indigenous sovereignty.  Our conversations may be guided by best practices in contemplative pedagogy such as mindful listening and inviting experiences of silence, spaciousness and stillness.

I am passionate about the intellectual and pragmatic possibilities that open up when the classroom is turned into a laboratory peopled with you as active learners and junior colleagues. At the beginning of each semester, you arrive already equipped with an impressive toolbox: your autobiographical experiences of place and people; your feelings, your values, and already existing knowledge about the topics to be explored. You are creative and talented. My pedagogy builds on your strengths, values, and skills through a variety of assignments. These include written, oral, and visual, and sometimes even kinesthetic modules. You will often work in teams to create a portfolio. You will develop and test research skills through the pursuit of hypotheses and the critical analysis and appreciation of scholarly work in any given area of study. You will often review films, art works, and web-sites, conduct discussion groups, and engage in community-based projects. We will learn with each other and from each other by contributing and complementing different voices and strengths. Assessing your intellectual growth, your expanding knowledge base and research skills, and your community-building skills will be an integral part of each new assignment. For example, assessments may take the form of in-depth feed-back on research paper drafts or grades given for weekly written assignments and engaged class participation. You will be encouraged to provide constructive feed-back to your peers in the form of oral and written comments, and will be given opportunities for honest self-assessment.

Precisely because I conceive of the classroom as a place for collaborative learning and open-ended conversations, I see my own intellectual and personal growth as deeply connected to your creativity and fresh insights.

Welcome to the world of engaged humanities scholarship!

Ulrike Wiethaus, Professor of Religion and American Ethnic Studies

RPE Projects (Select)

Facilitator, Learning Communities at Alexander Correctional Institution, 2012-present

Director, Medcat: Medical Careers and Technology, and C-Cat: College Careers and Technology, a joint project with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, 2007-2012

Director, Lakota Language Revitalization Documentary Project, Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, 2003

Faculty Adviser, “Ties that Bind” Project, Eagle Butte, Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota: Volunteer Work at Billy Mills Childcare Center, 2002

Director, Computer Literacy Training for Indian Youth (with Beth Boyd, WFU Technology Consultant), Guilford Native Association, Greensboro, NC, 2000