Sociology of religion scholar to deliver Jarvis Lecture

A top scholar in the sociology of religion will speak on Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Wright Auditorium, East Carolina University.



Dr. José Casanova, professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, will deliver the 2013 Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, part of the Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series.

Casanova heads the Berkley Center’s Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular.  He studied philosophy in Saragossa, Spain, received an M.A. in theology from the University of Innsbruck, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the New School for Social Research.

He moved to Georgetown from the New School, where he served as a professor of sociology from 1987-2007. Casanova has published works on a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions and sociological theory. His critically acclaimed work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field and has been translated into five languages, including Arabic and Indonesian.

In that work, Casanova examines how religious traditions around the world, from Islamic fundamentalism to Catholic liberation theology, have made their way – often forcefully – out of the private sphere and into public life, resulting in the de-privatization of religion in the contemporary world. According to Casanova’s analyses, religious institutions no longer simply administer pastoral care to individual souls, but instead are increasingly challenging established social and political frameworks. In this respect, Casanova challenges post-Enlightenment assumptions regarding the relationship between modernity and secularization in religious movements throughout the world.

Casanova’s other publications include “Rethinking Secularization: A Global Comparative Perspective,” The Hedgehog Review (2006) and “The Long Journey of Turkey into Europe and the Dilemmas of European Civilization,” Constellations (2006). In 2012, Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize from the Salzburger Hochschulwochen in recognition of life-long achievement in the field of theology.

Complimentary tickets for the Jarvis Lecture are available to all attendees through the ECU Central Ticket Office, or by calling 252-328-4788.

For additional information on the Jarvis Lecture, visit

For additional information about the lecture series,




ECU research awarded at conference

ECU graduate student Jessica Handloff, mentored by Dr. Christine Avenarious in the Department of Anthropology, received an award for the best research poster in a conference this month at Texas Tech University. (Contributed photos)

ECU graduate student Jessica Handloff, mentored by Dr. Christine Avenarius in the Department of Anthropology, received an award for the best research poster in a conference this month at Texas Tech University. (Contributed photos)

Research completed by faculty and students in ECU’s Department of Anthropology was named the best research poster presented at the Engagement Scholarship Symposium held Oct. 8-9 at Texas Tech University. ECU anthropology graduate student Jessica Handloff, a member of ECU’s Student Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, designed the poster .

The research displayed on the poster was collected under the guidance of ECU anthropology professor Dr. Christine Avenarius, who developed the project proprosal and assisted Handloff in collecting data. Handloff then designed the poster based on the community engagement aspect of the project. She represented ECU, the Department of Anthropology and SEOSA at the conference.

The poster was titled “Community Participation in Risk Management: Exploring Suitable Adaptations to Storm Water Flooding in Nags Head, N.C.” Research focused on community response and communication styles among stakeholders seeking solutions to the flooding problems.

The SEOSA program for ECU graduate students is part of the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, which pairs students with faculty to encourage the scholarship of engagement through workshops and research mentoring programs. For additional information about the academy, visit

Handloff accepts the best research poster award at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium at Texas Tech University.

Handloff accepts the best research poster award at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium at Texas Tech University.


Ku Klux Klan expert to speak on organization’s impact in Eastern N.C.

An expert on the history of the Ku Klux Klan will share his insights about the organization’s activities and impact Oct. 16 at East Carolina University.

David Cunningham

David Cunningham

Dr. David Cunningham, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, will present “The Contemporary Significance of the Klan and its Role in Communities in Eastern N.C., from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a brown bag lunch event in Room 1006 in the Bate Building. He will also present “Klansville USA” from 4:30 – 6 p.m. in Sheppard Memorial Library Meeting Room A.

Cunningham is the author of “Klansville USA: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan,” the first substantial history of the civil rights-era KKK’s rise and fall. The book focuses on why the United Klans of America flourished in North Carolina and how its rise shines a light on the complex appeal of the Klan as a whole.

Drawing on a range of new archival sources and interviews with Klan members, including state and national leaders, the book uncovers the complex logic of KKK activity. Cunningham demonstrates that the Klan organized most successfully where whites perceived civil rights reforms to be a significant threat to their status, where mainstream outlets for segregationist resistance were lacking and where the policing of the Klan’s activities was lax.

By connecting the Klan to the more mainstream segregationist and anti-communist groups across the South, Cunningham provides insight into Southern conservatism, its resistance to civil rights, and the region’s subsequent shift to supporting the Republican Party.

Cunningham’s work is unique not only in its focus on the Klan in North Carolina during the Civil Rights-era but also because his focus is largely on the Klan as an organization, its day-to-day activities, and its role and impact within communities. He conducted research at ECU, drawing from archival records available through the ECU library and conducting interviews.

His work has received significant national attention from outlets including NPR and The Washington Post. Follow the links below to review a selection of articles about his work.

Cunningham’s appearance is part of the annual Social Issues lecture series sponsored by the ECU Department of Sociology and its Center for Diversity and Inequality Research. Previous speakers have included Dr. Shirley Laska, University of New Orleans, and Dr. David Williams, Harvard University.



APA honors ECU geography student

East Carolina University geography student Bryn E. Terry was named the American Planning Association – North Carolina Chapter’s Outstanding Student at the 2013 Marvin Collins Planning Awards Ceremony in Winston-Salem Sept. 19.

Terry is a planning major with an outstanding GPA. She participates in sustainable tourism projects along Eastern North Carolina rivers and has conducted research to identify areas underserved by medical facilities and personnel.

The North Carolina Marvin Collins Planning Awards annual recognize agencies and individuals who have completed outstanding projects, excelled as planning students or made notable contributions to the planning profession. The awards signify the highest standards of achievement for planning in North Carolina, and highlight work that is worthy of attention.

The awards program is named in honor of the late Marvin Collins, a former planning director for Orange County. Collins developed the idea for the program in 1975.