The Paul and Marie Castelfranco Chair


About the Chair
  The Castelfranco Chair in Religious Studies was generously endowed by Professor Paul A. Castelfranco and his wife Marie in 2002. The purpose of the Chair was to attract a senior scholar in the history of post-New Testament Christianity with a proven interest in inter-religious dialogue and comparative religion and a sensitivity to contemporary religious and cultural issues. The initial term of the endowed Chair was five years with the option of reappointment. The first appointee to the Chair was Dr. Allison P. Coudert, whose focus of interest is on the interaction between religion and science, with a special emphasis on Jewish contributions to science and issues dealing with race, class, and gender.


Professor Castelfranco has been an important supporter of the Religious Studies Program at UC Davis since its inception, and it is with gratitude that the Castelfranco lectures series has been established in his name. These lectures are given by distinguished scholars on important issues in the field of religious studies. During the academic year of 2015-2016 three Castelfranco lectures were delivered. Professor Elizabeth Bucar from Northeastern University came to campus on November 5, 2015 to deliver a lecture on the divergent ways transgender issues are dealt with by the Catholic Church in the US and by government and religious organizations in Iran. On February 18, 2016 Professor John Kelsay from Florida State University delivered a lecture on just war theory in Christianity and Islam entitled, “God’s Warriors: Individuals and the Rights of War in Christianity and Islam. On May 17, 2016 Professor Claudia Rankine, whose book Citizen: An American Lyric was a runner up for the National Book award in 2015, delivered a lecture about the her book and the racial divisions in the US. 



About the Donor

Paul Castelfranco was one of the co-founders of Religious Studies, and was a leader in getting the program established.

In 2002, Paul and his late wife Marie established two endowments for Religious Studies.  One was the Castelfranco Endowed Chair in the History of Christianity, now held by professor Allison Coudert.  The other was The Castelfranco Endowment for Comparative Religion, which provides important support for lectures, courses, and student enrichment in Religious Studies.  Thank  you, Paul, for this very kind support.


Events: Upcoming and Past


Welcoming Souls: Pluralism in American Spiritualism
Presented by Scholar-in-Residence Cathy Gutierrez, New York Public Library
April 27, 2017

religious studies


Damned Nation
Presented by Professor Kathryn Gin Lum, Stanford University
October 27, 2016

The Making of a Citizen
Presented by Claudia Rankine
May 18, 2016

The Imaginative Impulse: Law and Aspirational Ethics in Medieval India
Presented by Professor Donald R. Davis, University of Texas at Austin
April 21, 2016

God's Warriors: Individuals and the Right of War in Christianity and Islam
Presented by Professor John Kelsay, Florida State University
February 18, 2016

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