Dr. Ulrike Wiethaus

Portrait of Ulrike Wiethaus, Emeritus Faculty of Religious Studies

Professor Emeritus of Religion and American Ethnic Studies

Email: wiethaus@nullwfu.edu

  • Bio

    ULRIKE WIETHAUS, Professor Emerita, held a joint appointment as full professor in the Department for the Study of Religions and in American Ethnic Studies. She was elected as the 2013 Community Solutions Fellow with the Institute for Public Engagement at Wake Forest University, and the 2013 recipient of the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service. She served as a Shively Faculty Fellow from 2010-2012. As the inaugural director, she has guided the creation of the Religion and Public Engagement concentration in Religious Studies. She also served as one of three Founding Planning Board Members for the American Indian Women of Proud Nations Annual Conference, 2007 – 2017; as Founding Co-Director, MedCat: Medical Careers and Technology (Culturally Based College Preparation Seminar with Health and Medical Division, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), 2007- 2012; as Planning Board Member, Feather & Stone Exchange, San Carlos Apache Community Engagement, 2008 – 2011; as Co-Producer and Director (with Jack Lucido and Harry Charger), The Seven Rites of the Lakota, 2008 – 2009; as Director, Internship Projects with Guilford Native American Association, Greensboro, North Carolina, 2005 – 2015; and as Director and Producer, Lakota Wo’okiye: Lakota Language and Culture Preservation and Revitalization Project, Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, 2003 – 2006. 

    Her publications in American Indian Studies include American Indian Women of Proud Nations: Essays on History, Language, and Education. Co-edited with Cherry Maynor Beasley and Mary Ann Jacobs. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2016, “Re-imagining Nature and American Indian Identity in Film” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, 10.2 (2016), 189-207, and “Indigenous Spirituality in Film and Television” in Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religion, Film and Television, eds. Carole Cusack and Venetia Robertson, in press. Other related publications include Trauma and Resilience in American Indian and African American Southern History. Co-edited with Anthony S. Parent Jr. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2013. Brothers of the Buffalo Speak Up: Contemporary American Indian Prison Writings. Edited. Non-profit, CreateSpace 2012. Foundations of First Peoples’ Sovereignty. Edited, with an introduction and co-authored chapter. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008.  

    Her newest book project, Upon Her Shoulders: Southeastern Native Women Share Their Stories of Justice, Spirit, and Community, is co-edited with Mary Ann Jacobs and Cherry Maynor Beasley, and will be published by Blair Publishing, a non-profit press “focusing on authors and subjects historically neglected by mainstream publishers, including women, people of color, authors with disabilities, and LGBT authors. True to Blair’s roots in North Carolina, Blair looks to the many voices of the South—and beyond—as sources of work and inspiration.”https://www.blairpub.com/

  • Education and CV
  • 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 Womenco-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
    • 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