Slavica Jakelić, Ph.D., associate professor of humanities and social thought, has been named to the Richard P. Baepler Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities at Valparaiso University. The four-year professorship is a rotating appointment honoring exceptional teachers focused on advancing interdisciplinary and integrative study of the humanities in accord with Valparaiso University’s mission. Through this appointment, Jakelić will lead the Wente Faculty Seminar using her research to promote interdisciplinary teaching, course development and scholarship to a small group of faculty.
“Professor Jakelić will effectively and powerfully carry out the activities of the Baepler Distinguished Professorship,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Professor Jakelić will bring an impressive background to bear in her role in the Baepler Professorship, and her wisdom and perspective will benefit the students, faculty and staff with whom she will interact over the next four years. I look forward to seeing the wonderful things that she will do through the Baepler Professorship.”
Her project is titled “Christianity and the Ethics of Nationalism” and aims to explore how Christian communities condone the creation of exclusionary nationalist ideologies but also how Christian communities can critique and undermine these intolerant ideologies, to help shape inclusive narratives of national belonging.
Jakelić joined Valpo in 2013 as an assistant professor in Christ College — The Honors College. During the spring of 2016, she served as the Luce Visiting Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding for the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Jakelić’s first book, “Collectivistic Religions: Religion, Choice, and Identity in Late Modernity,” also reflects her research into the complex relationship between religion and nationalism. Jakelić’s students inspired her to propose her research for the Baepler Professorship as she realized the tensions between religious and national identities needed to be addressed anew with each generation.
The Richard P. Baepler Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities is endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a gift from Dr. Walter H. and Pauline Scaer Wente. It honors the informed vision, academic leadership and Christian service of Dr. Richard P. Baepler at Valparaiso University from 1954 until his retirement in 1999.