Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Key Note Speakers


Dr. Weisenfeld is a historian of religion in the United States and she focuses on early twentieth-century African American religious history with particular attention to urban religion, religion in film and popular culture, religion and constructions of race, and women's religious history.

She is currently a Professor of Religion at Princeton University where I am Associate Faculty in the Center for African American Studies and serve on the Executive Committees of the Council of the Humanities and the Programs in American Studies and Film Studies. She also serves as the Faculty Coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Princeton. Prior to going to Princeton, she taught in the Departments of Religion at Vassar College and Barnard College.

She is the author of Hollywood Be Thy Name: African American Religion in American Film, 1929-1949 and African American Women and Christian Activism: New York's Black YWCA, 1905-1945. She is currently working on a project titled Apostles of Race: Religion and Black Racial Identity in the Urban North, 1920-1950, for which she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.


David Frankfurter is a scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions with specialties in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, magical texts, popular religion, and Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods. Frankfurter’s particular interests revolve around theoretical issues like the place of magic in religion, the relationship of religion and violence, the nature of Christianization, and the representation of evil in culture.

He teaches courses on Western religions, comparative religions, Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, and the documents of early Christianity, including extra-canonical sources, magical texts, and saints’ lives. After earning his B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University, M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and M.A./Ph.D. from Princeton University, Frankfurter taught at the College of Charleston and the University of New Hampshire, and he held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study (1993-95) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study (2007-8), as well as research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1992) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2007-8).

His publications include Elijah in Upper EgyptReligion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance, and Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History, as well as the edited volume Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt. Both Religion in Roman Egypt and Evil Incarnate won the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion. His current research, tentatively entitled Christianizing Egypt: Syncretism and Local Worlds in Late Antiquity, concerns the various religious sites in late Roman Egypt, like homes, shrines, and workshops, where Christianity was combined with Egyptian traditions.


  •   Map
  • Middle Eastern Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    204 W 21st Street Stop F9400
    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712