Faculty

 

Rev. Dr. John Ranieri
Director of the Honors Program
Thomas and Ruth Sharkey Professor of Humanities
Professor of Philosophy

Fr. Ranieri is interested in the relationship between the biblical tradition and political philosophy. Influenced by the thought of René Girard, he has been exploring the role of violence in philosophy and religion. In addition to Girard, Fr. Ranieri also has a special interest in the work of Bernard Lonergan. Fr. Ranieri is the author of Eric Voegelin and the Good Society (University of Missouri Press, 1995). He has published “Modernity and the Jewish Question: What Leo Strauss Learned from Nietzsche,” which can be found in Politics and Apocalypse (Michigan State University Press, 2007). His book, Disturbing Revelation: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Bible, has recently been published by University of Missouri Press, 2009.

Dr. Peter G. Ahr
Associate Director of the University Honors Program
Associate Professor of Religion

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am an alumnus of Seton Hall (class of 1962), and I have been a member of the faculty of the Department of Religion since 1964. I served as Dean of Freshman Studies at the University from 1987 to 1996, acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1997, interim provost of the University in 1997-98, and am now back in full-time teaching, and very much involved in the University’s efforts in developing information technology and in developing and implementing our new Core Curriculum.

My roots at Seton Hall go very deep: my father was an alumnus, and so were all my uncles. I have been involved in all sorts of activities at Seton Hall over the years. Beyond teaching a number of courses in Religious Studies, I have taught the IDIS 1501 Peoples and Cultures of America course, several versions of Freshman Seminars, and both the Classical Cultures and Medieval Cultures colloquia in the Honors Program. I have been adviser to several student organizations over the years; at present I am faculty adviser to the New Jersey Phi Beta chapter of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity (since 1973), and to FLASH, the Filipino student organization.

Dr. Dermot Quinn
Associate Director, Honors Program
Professor of History

Before coming to Seton Hall in 1990 he taught at Amherst College in Massachusetts and at Oxford University. He has degrees from Trinity College, Dublin and Oxford University. His first book, Patronage and Piety: English Roman Catholics and Politics, 1850-1900, was published in 1993 by Stanford University Press. Another book, Understanding Northern Ireland, was published by Baseline Books, also in 1993. Professor Quinn is a native of Derry, Northern Ireland. He has published articles and reviews in Recusant History, The Chesterton Review, The American Historical Review, Labor History, The Review of Politics, The Welsh History Review, and other scholarly journals. Professor Quinn’s third book, The Irish in New Jersey: Four Centuries of American Life, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2004, winning New Jersey Author award for scholarly non-fiction in 2005.

Dr. Frederick J. Booth
Associate Professor of Classics
Director. Program of Classical Studies

I received my A.B. and Ph.D. in Classics at Rutgers University. Before I came to Seton Hall in 1999, I taught Classics at New York University and at Rutgers University. My research interests are Greek and Roman mythology, epic, and the Classical tradition. I am now working on translations and texts of Slavic Neo-Latin poetry.

I serve on the Executive Committees of the American Association for Neo-Latin Studies, and of the New Jersey Classical Association, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States. I wrote and administer the New Jersey Latin Test for Teacher Certification for the State Department of Education.

Since 1993 I have hosted a Latin and Greek reading group at my dining room table on Friday afternoons.

Dr. Raymond Capra
Assistant Professor of Classics

I began teaching in the Department of Classical Studies in 2006 replacing Fr. Eugene Cotter who had been at Seton Hall University since 1965. I teach all levels of ancient Greek, and also a full range of Classical Studies courses in translation.

My research centers on Epic and Lyric poetry of the ancient Hellenic world, in particular the western poets Stesichorus and Ibycus and their reevaluation of the Homeric tradition. I am particularly interested in the role of the poet as an agent in the formation of cultural identity from Homer to Dante.

Dr. Colleen Conway
Professor of Religion

Colleen Conway earned her PhD in New Testament Studies from Emory University in Atlanta. Her research interests have focused on the construction of gender in the the New Testament texts, both from a literary perspective and from a socio-historical perspective. Her first book, Men and Women in the Fourth Gospel: Gender and Johannine Characterization (Scholars Press, 1999) explored the role of the female characters in the narrative of the Gospel of John. Her recent book, Behold the Man: Jesus and Greco-Roman Masculinity (Oxford Press, 2008), examines the way the New Testament authors responded to cultural ideals about manliness in their presentations of Jesus. Dr. Conway has also published several articles on the Gospel of John dealing with both literary and historical questions in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Biblical Interpretation, and other volumes. She is currently co-authoring a college textbook titled Introduction to the Bible: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts, to be published with Wiley Blackwell Press.

Dr. George Faithful
University Core Fellow

George Faithful was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and studied in Ohio, North Carolina, France, and Germany, before receiving his Ph.D. in historical theology from Saint Louis University in 2012. He has taught at Seton Hall in the Department of the Core since Fall 2011. He and his wife live with their beagle-shepherd mix in Union City.

Dr. Faithful’s research interests are wide-ranging. He has adapted his dissertation into the forthcoming book Mothering the Fatherland: A Protestant Sisterhood Repents for the Holocaust (Oxford University Press). Some of his published articles include a study of the interrelationship between Cotton Mather’s prayer life and scientific research (Theology and Science), and a comparative analysis of blood and eroticism in the 17th-century German and 19th-century English hymn translations of the 13th-century Latin Passion poem “Membra Jesu Nostri” (Church History). He finds the broad scope and interdisciplinary nature of the Honors Program especially compelling.

Dr. Jonathan Farina
Assistant Professor of English

I study nineteenth-century British fiction, Victorian culture, and the history of science. My present project, which I’ll be working on as an Associate Fellow at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University, is a book that analyzes the everyday assumptions about reality that are inscribed in colloquialisms and paradigmatic stylistic tics, like “as if,” “that sort of thing,” “in particular” and “in general.” Analyzing novels by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, W. M. Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope, in conjunction with Victorian scientific prose and nineteenth-century cultural criticism, I describe the grammatical forms that underwrite what counted as knowledge for Victorian writers. So many of the fundamental forms of characterizing fictional characters — fictional people — turn out also to be the forms of characterizing inanimate, abstract things, like physical laws, the economy, and the function of art.

I am also interested in Romantic literature and culture, British periodicals like Household Words and Cornhill Magazine, the histories of “character” and “culture,” sympathy and abstraction, and Victorian aesthetics.

Dr.  Martha Easton
Assistant Professor of Communication and the Arts

Before coming to Seton Hall, Martha Easton taught art history for many years at Cooper Union, New York University and Bryn Mawr College, and she worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters. While Easton specializes in medieval art history, she also has extensive experience with Japanese art cultivated during the six years she spent living and working in Japan. Her particular research interests include illuminated manuscripts, gender and hagiography, feminist theory, the history of collecting medieval art and medievalism.

Dr. Michael Maloney
Instructor of Religion

Michael Maloney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion. He holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University in Systematic Theology. His research interests are in the area of philosophical theology, specifically conceptions of the God-world relation as these are presented in the pagan, Christian, and Eastern traditions.  He is also interested in how different philosophical allegiances shape theological reflection. Within the Catholic intellectual tradition his allegiance, and his training, is in the tradition of Thomism, and more narrowly, in the work of those thinkers who would either be classified as representative of, or sympathetic to, the project of Transcendental Thomism, such as the theologian Karl Rahner and the philosopher Bernard Lonergan.

Dr. Michael Mascio
Assistant Professor of Classics

Dr. Robert Pallitto
Associate Professor of Political Science

After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1989, I began my professional career as a public interest trial lawyer in New Jersey. After several years of practice, including litigating several precedent-setting cases in housing and welfare rights law, I returned to graduate school for my Ph.D., which I completed in 2002 at The New School for Social Research in New York. I came to Seton Hall University in 2007, and I teach courses here mainly in public law and public administration. I am also the undergraduate pre-law advisor. My research focuses on contemporary political theory and constitutional law. My most recent publication is “The Legacy of the Magna Carta in Recent Detainees’ Rights Decisions,” PS: Political Science and Politics, 43(3): 1-4 (July 2010). My second book, which is a study of torture in the U.S., will be published in 2011 by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Dr. Peter Savastano
Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Savastano’s research and writing focus on the intersection/clash of religion and sexuality; vernacular Christianity (or “folk” Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) and the devotional and ritual practices associated with it; the cult of the Virgin Mary and the saints in both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Dr. Savastano also studies Christian monasticism both in late antiquity and its 21st century context; contemplative life, practice and pedagogy and the negative effects of globalization and information technology on the human capacity of wonder and awe; the lives and works of Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, and Henri Le Saux — Roman Catholic mystics, social reformers and pioneers of inter-religious theology, dialogue and practice; and the relationship between altered states of consciousness, ritual, healing and religion in western and eastern religious traditions and in Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria.

Dr. Judith Chelius Stark
Associate Director of the Honors Program
Professor of Philosophy

I have been teaching at Seton Hall University since 1980 after receiving my Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in New York City. My scholarly interests include the philosophy of St. Augustine, medieval thought, the works of Hannah Arendt and feminist theories. In 1995 I co-authored Hannah Arendt: Love and Saint Augustine (with Joanna V. Scott) published by the University of Chicago Press.

I am a full professor in the Philosophy Department. For nine years I was director of the Honors Program, overseeing its expansion to 130 students from Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Human Services and the new School of Diplomacy and International Relations. I am also very much involved in the Women’s Studies Program and the Environmental Studies Program at Seton Hall. In my spare time, I do sea kayaking and am an avid amateur birder.

Dr. Todd Stockdale
University Core Fellow

My research interests rest within the discipline of practical theology. As a practical theologian, I find myself drawn to the complexities present in lived Christianity and therefore I seek to investigate theological themes through the particularities of concrete situations. This means that much of my own work has been cross-disciplinary in nature and I routinely draw upon various qualitative research methodologies from the social sciences—such as participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus groups—in order to explore a range of theological issues.

Dr. Edgar Valdez
University Core Fellow

My research focuses on the work of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. I am particularly concerned with revisiting his critical philosophy and understanding what implications Kant’s claims have for other human investigations like Ethics and the natural sciences. My dissertation, for example, revisiting Kant’s claims about the role of space in human knowing and its relationship to pure mathematics. I in turn evaluate this claim in light of advances in nonEuclidean geometries.

My teaching focuses on introductory courses and interdisciplinary approaches to bringing students to “big questions,” questions that are fundamental to the lived human experience. Kant, for instance, suggests that all worthwhile questions relate to four central questions: 1) What can I know? 2) What must I do? 3) What can I hope for? 4) What is a human being?

Dr. Iuliana Viezure
Instructor of Religion