UNO professor attends world congress


By Brooke Criswell
Online Content Manager

Between Aug. 23 and Aug. 29, Dr. Paul Williams, Religious Studies Program Chair and Curtis Hutt, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies presented at the 21st World Congress of the International Association of the History of Religions in Erfurt, Germany.

The conference hosts 1,600 scholars from 40 countries across the world. This is the most important event for scholars engaged in the academic study of religion. This year, 54 percent of the attendees were from Europe.

There were many different types of scholars from historians, anthropologists, sociologists or scientists discussing the “religious brain”.


“Now imagine having up close, personal access to the Einsteins in your field for this period of time. It was priceless,” Curtis Hutt said.

To be selected is a huge honor. The professors have to submit papers and go through a blind peer review
before being accepted for presentation at the World Congress. This is where they reach out to other experts in their research area and plan a session on a topic of their choice. Hutt organized two panels.

“This is very intellectually stimulating and fun as you get to spend time with people of your choosing and are interested in the same things that you are,” Hutt said.

Overall, the professors listened to a lot of short papers on topics in which they were interested. Professor Hutt gave a paper of the quietism of Ludwig Wittgenstein in a panel on the philosophy of religion.

The second panel was on “Blood Rituals and Animal Sacrifice” that Hutt organized with Dr. Williams — a huge success.

“The room was packed, standing room only, and we were forced to face criticism of our peers. I’m not going to lie, we drank a lot of good German beer too and this loosened our tongue,” Hutt said.

Right now, Professor Hutt is working on multiple research activities right now.

In conjunction with the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish studies, he is editing a book on Jewish Religious and Philosophical Ethics with Professor Halla Kim from the Philosophy Department.

He is also working on severed other publications some related to papers he presented in Germany and others not.

“The leaders of religious traditions are not setting the research agenda, academics are,” Hutt said.