University News

Gender, Religion and Law in Independent India Topic of Annual Woods Lecture

August 29, 2003

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MACOMB, IL - - Robert Baird, University of Iowa department of religious studies professor emeritus, will present "Refashioning Gender: Religion and Law in Independent India" at the Thursday, Sept. 25 Mary Olive Woods Lecture at Western Illinois University.

The 17th annual Woods Lecture, sponsored by Western's department of philosophy and religious studies, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Union Sandburg Theatre.

Baird will lead a discussion session from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 26 in Morgan Hall 453. The Sept. 25 lecture and Sept. 26 discussion are open free to the public.

A religion historian, Baird has written extensively about religion in modern India. His 1971 published work "Category Formation and the History of Religions" is considered among the most influential in opening up new intellectual territory in comparative religions. His methodology offered a neutral approach in comparative studies which was instrumental in shaping the discipline of religious studies, and throughout his career he has been awarded numerous awards and grants.

Baird was a professor of religious studies at the University of Iowa from 1966-2000. He was the Leonard S. Florsheim Sr. Eminent Scholars Chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences at the New College of the University of San Francisco (1988-89) and was the Goodwin-Philopt Eminent Chair in Religion at Auburn University (2001-2003).

Baird's lecture is made possible through the 1987 trust fund of Mary Olive Woods administered through the WIU Foundation. The Woods fund provides up to eight student scholarships each year in addition to the annual lecture presentation.

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