We may imagine that the sacred is set apart from life, but religion is involved in every aspect of our day-to-day world. How we live together and apart. How we argue. How we flourish. The sacred is the profane

Set Apart

Set Apart

Episode 6

What happens when a religious idea like sanctuary is transformed into a secular and bureaucratic one?

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I Sent The Gods Back

I Sent The Gods Back

Episode 5

A victorious army marched into the the mighty city of Babylon in 536 BCE. Soon after came a decree: all the conquered peoples in the city could return home.

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Consider Hassan

Consider Hassan

Episode 4

Is there a place for refugees in Austria?

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What Would Krishna Do?

What Would Krishna Do?

Episode 3

When extraction companies come asking to buy your mineral rights, do you take the money? That’s the question the residents of New Vrindaban, WV have to answer.

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A New Life, Together

A New Life, Together

Episode 2

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, when close to a million people were killed in just 100 days. Can Rwandans trust each other again?

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A Common Thread

A Common Thread

Episode 1

Over 2,000 years ago, the Indian emperor Ashoka Maurya wrote a code of ethics that drew on faiths and philosophies across his vast empire.

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Sacred & Profane Team

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor

Co-Director and Associate Professor, Religious Studies

A scholar of the Hebrew Bible, Halvorson-Taylor focuses on the interpretation of the Babylonian exile, diaspora literature, the book of Job, and the reception of the Bible. An award-winning teacher, she offers large enrollment classes on the Hebrew Bible, as well as specialized courses on the books of Job, Genesis, and the Song of Songs. She currently serves as the Director of UVA’s Pavilion Seminars, which are focused on big topics with enduring relevance across disciplines and are aimed at advanced third- and fourth-years.

Kurtis Schaeffer

Kurtis Schaeffer

Co-Director and Frances Myers Ball Professor, Religious Studies

An expert in the cultural history of Buddhism in Tibet and the author or editor of nine books, Schaeffer is interested more generally in the workings of religion in social life. He is especially interested in the ways religion moves people to action through art, literature, history, and ritual. He has directed multiple NEH summer institutes on the academic study of religion, and manages multiple collaborative digital projects. Schaeffer routinely conducts research in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. He served as Department Chair of Religious Studies, the largest such department at a public university in the US, for eight years.

Emily Gadek

Emily Gadek

Senior Producer

These days, Gadek spends her time producing Sacred & Profane, the Lab’s podcast exploring the many ways religion shapes our daily lives. Previously, she was a producer for Virginia Humanities’ popular American history show, BackStory, and worked on WBEZ Chicago’s morning news show Eight Forty-Eight. In other lives, she’s been an ESL teacher, a freelance audio producer and videographer, and ran a website for a midcentury modern house museum in the deep desert of Southern California.

Ashley Duffalo

Ashley Duffalo

Program and Communications Manager

Before joining the Lab, Duffalo spent 13 years working at the Walker Art Center, a contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her various roles allowed her to develop public programs for youth, families, and adults; manage large-scale artist residencies; and oversee the graphic design studio. She also served on and chaired the board of a non-profit arts organization, Kulture Klub Collaborative, which brings together artists and homeless youth in the Twin Cities.