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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Drake professor visits, talks religious diversity

Tim Knepper spoke about him work in computer science on Thursday.

Eva Lilienfeld, News Editor

A chaplain, a rabbi and a religious studies professor walk into JRC 101. In the first collaboration of the Department of Prairie Studies and the Department of Religious Studies, Drake Professor Tim Knepper, Philosophy, visited the college to give a talk entitled “Diversity of Faiths in the Heartland.” He spoke about his work studying different religious communities in Des Moines.

Tim Knepper spoke about him work in computer science on Thursday.
Tim Knepper spoke about him work in computer science on Thursday.

In an effort to bring his students into his academic studies, Knepper has given assignments in his classes to become part of communities near the Drake campus. While one student studies the nearby Greek Orthodox Church, another learns about tensions between the Sikh congregations.

“We’re doing the things I imagined we’d be doing, and that is addressing a lack of exposure and religious diversity in the academic field of philosophy of religion,“ Knepper said.

Knepper hopes to put his students’ research together with photographs taken by a local photographer and create documentary shorts. He hopes this digital storytelling will present a portrait of Des Moines as a diverse community.  Some Grinnell students, however, have reservations about Knepper’s project and the pressures some communities feel to participate.

“Even though his project is bringing awareness about these traditions, I just still wonder as to how he will do justice to it to make sure this is exactly what the communities want,” said Mari Holmes ’17.

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