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.

Recent & Upcoming Events

  • Michelle Lelwica (Concordia College), “Shameful bodies: Religion and the Culture of Physical Improvement ” (April 4, 2019)
  • Daisy Deomampo (Fordham University), “Transnational Reproduction: The Bioethics of Crossing Borders for Fertility Services” (April 18, 2019)
  • Bénédicte Boisseron (University of Michigan), “Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question,” (May 1, 2019)
  • Harvey Stark (California State University, Sacramento), “Life, Death, and Spiritual Healing: American Muslim Hospitals Chaplains at Work (4/4 2022)
  • Michele Margolis (University of Pennsylvania), “Morality Politics: Abortion, Evangelicalism, and the /Republican Party (5/3 2022)

To Learn More

Learn more about the Paul A. and Marie Castefranco Chair.