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University of Iowa News Release

Release: April 2, 2003

Jasper To Speak On Religion, Arts April 10 At UI

David Jasper, a leading figure in the interdisciplinary field of religion, literature and the arts will speak at the University of Iowa Thursday, April 10 as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. The lecture, "Wanderings in the Desert: From Exodus to The English Patient," begins at 8 p.m. in Room W151 of the Pappajohn Business Building and is free and open to the public.

Jasper is a professor of literature and theology and head of the department of theology and religious studies at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He holds degrees from Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham Universities and has served as visiting fellow at Emory University, elected visitor at the Smithsonian Institution and honorary fellow at Durham University.

He has published a series of books and articles that have given new methodological structure to the study of religion, literature and the arts. His book "The Study of Literature and Religion: An Introduction (1989, 1992)" is widely used in graduate seminars in universities throughout North America, Britain and Australia as the basic advanced textbook in the field.

Jasper founded and served as director of the world-famous Centre for the Study of Literature and Theology at the University of Durham in 1980; he moved the Centre to The University of Glasgow in 1991. The Centre supports master's and doctoral programs in theology, literature and the arts and attracts students from all over the world.

He founded The Conference on Literature and Religion, which meets bi-annually and publishes its proceedings through St. Martin's Press. The conference draws more than 250 scholars from around the world. He also founded the book series at Macmillan Press called Studies in Literature and Religion and is general editor of the series, which now has more than 30 titles.

Jasper's visit is sponsored by the department of religious studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His activities at the UI are supported by the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, which brings outstanding scholars to the UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year. A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: David Klemm, 319-335-2164, Writer: Michelle Yong