Ingrid Mattson, an Islamic studies scholar and Muslim religious leader who is a leading voice for interfaith engagement, will deliver the 2016 Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt Divinity School Oct. 6 and 7.
Mattson is the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. Her first talk, "The Landed Muslim, at Home, On the Earth," will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 6. Then Mattson will address "Solomon and the Ant: A Qur'anic Story of Perspective" at 10 a.m. Oct. 7. Both talks will be in Benton Chapel.
"We are pleased to bring Dr. Mattson, an ardent supporter of interfaith dialogue and an advocate for Muslim women as religious leaders, to our campus," said Emilie M. Townes, dean of the Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society. "She will speak on what it means to be a Muslim in the world and what is necessary to live in an authentic religious perspective that is crucial for peace-building."
Mattson was the first women to serve as vice president and president of the Islamic Society of North America. She has written extensively about Qur'an interpretation, Islamic theological ethics and interfaith relations. Her book The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities for inclusion in its "Bridging Cultures" program.
Mattson earned her doctorate in Near Eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. She received a bachelor of arts in philosophy and fine arts with joint honors from the University of Waterloo.
Prior to Mattson's appointment at Huron University College in 2012, she taught at Hartford Seminary, where she developed and directed the first accredited graduate program for Muslim chaplains in America. She also directed the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.
Mattson is a senior fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan, and has served on numerous boards, including the Interfaith Taskforce of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Council of Global Leaders of the C-100 of the World Economic Forum and the Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project.
Philanthropist Edmund W. Cole, president of Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and treasurer of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, endowed the annual Cole Lecture Series in 1892 "... for the defense and advocacy of the Christian religion." Cole's gift provided for the first sustained lectureship in the history of Vanderbilt University.
Previous Cole Lecturers include Harry Emerson Fosdick, George Buttrick, H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, James Barr, Gustavo Gutierrez, James Cone, Edward Farley, Don Beisswenger, Gene TeSelle, David Buttrick, Jim Wallis, James Lawson, Elaine Pagels, Tex Sample and Nikky Finney.