2003 Religion & Philosophy Speaker

Charles H. Long
“Critical Perspectives on the Study of Religion in the 21st Century”

Former President of the American Academy of Religion

Co-founder of the international journal, History of Religions

Author of:
Alpha: Myths of Creation
History of Religions: Essays on the Problem of Understanding
Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion

Charles H. Long was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and attended the public school system of Little Rock through Dunbar Junior College. He volunteered for the United States Army Air Forces and served in World War II. Matriculating at the University of Chicago in 1949, he received the D.B. and Ph.D. degrees from that institution.

At the University of Chicago he studied with the pioneer of the development of the discipline, History of Religions (Religionswissenschaft) in the United States, Professor Joachim Wach. He eventually became a Professor of History of Religions at Chicago, joining with Professors Mircea Eliade and Joseph Kitagawa in establishing the international journal, History of Religions. He, along with a group of his colleagues, established the first curriculum for the study of religion in the College of the University of Chicago. He has been involved in the training of three generations of scholars in religion and African-American studies. Long thus has a unique perspective from which to speak of the general meaning of religion in history and culture, and specifically about African religions in Africa and in the Atlantic world.

Long served on the faculties at the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Syracuse University and, most recently, the University of California at Santa Barbara where he is professor emeritus. He has been a Visiting Professor at Carleton College, as well as St. Xavier’s College in Chicago, Princeton University, University of Tennessee, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, Syracuse University, Colgate University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and San Francisco Theological Seminary. Outside the United States he has taught at the University of Queensland in Australia, Tsukuba University in Japan, and Capetown University in South Africa. Long has lectured at most of the major universities in the United States, including, among others, Harvard, Yale, UC-Berkeley, UCLA; the Universities of Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, and Texas; and at Spellman, Morehouse, and Emory in Atlanta, Xavier University in New Orleans, and at Brown in Rhode Island.