College of Human Development, Culture, and Media

A Semester of Scholarship with ICR Director Jon Radwan, Ph.D .  

A photo of Jon Radwan, Ph.D.Research and public scholarship are essential parts of university work. To wrap up the Fall 2022 semester, Jon Radwan, Ph.D., director of Seton Hall’s Institute for Communication and Religion, shared a recap of recent scholarship and pointed toward exciting plans for Spring 2023.  

Most recently, Radwan was invited to deliver a keynote lecture at the Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog Bhagavad Gita Summit at the Radha Krishna Temple in Dallas, Texas. On December 2, Radwan spoke on "Balance, Centering, and Transcendence: Krishna on Communication and Work," exploring spiritual principles from the Bhagavad Gita. The thesis of this research is twofold. First, communication is a gift cycle, where giving and receiving patterns drive social systems toward growth or decay depending on varying degrees of reciprocity. Second, Krishna’s teaching in the Bhagavad Gita values balance in spiritual observance and physical work to promote transcendence. Travel was funded by Seton Hall University’s CORE, and the talk was well attended both in-person at the Temple and via YouTube stream.  Sri Ramya Toleti was among online viewers, posting, "This is the first time I'm hearing Bhagavadgita from the perspective of working … system[s]. Amazing speaker!!" As of this writing, the YouTube video has earned 15K views, demonstrating how the work of Seton Hall University scholars reaches a wide international audience.  

The National Communication Association (NCA) is the premier academic organization for Communication scholars.  At their annual conference this past November, Radwan and fellow Seton Hall faculty member Roger Alfani, Ph.D. were recognized as winners of the Spiritual Communication Division’s Outstanding Article award. Their article, titled "Communicating Transcendent Love: Interpersonal Encounter and Church-State Traditions in Fratelli Tutti" analyzes Pope Francis’ teaching on relationality. Radwan and Alfani explain how Francis casts the relationship between the Church and modern states as growing from the bottom up, from interpersonal encounters through groups into countries and on to the United Nations. In addition to accepting the award, Radwan delivered a presentation entitled "Improving Places of Work:  Genius Loci and Organizational Spirituality." Radwan shared research on St. John Henry Newman’s vision of Catholic education in a panel sponsored by the Spiritual Communication Division and chaired by the College of Communication and the Arts’ Interim Dean Renee Robinson. The panel, "Improving PLACEs of Work: Religious Traditions, Organizational Spirituality, and Workplace Wellbeing," brought together scholars from five different Universities to speak about the formative nature of long-term work patterns within employee lives.

In October 2022, Radwan delivered a presentation at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. "Inter Mirifica in Context: Mediation, Contact, and Love in Catholic Theology," outlined research on mediated communication conducted by Radwan in collaboration with theologian Eric Johnston, Ph.D. of Seton Hall’s Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. Their thesis maintains that media and mass communication technologies may be utilized as powerful tools, but cannot decenter or replace immediate love within Christian relational dynamics. 

Lastly, September 2022 saw the publication of Radwan’s "Newman on Genius Loci and Liberal Education: Organizational Spirituality for Civilization" in the inaugural issue of Integratio, a new publication from Seton Hall’s Center for Catholic Studies (CCS). In this article, Radwan explores John Henry Newman’s idea of religious universities creating organizational cultures with a unique spiritual element. By "engaging theology as a valid knowledge domain," Radwan explains, "institutions become spiritual matrices that open up student horizons and leaven society." This research was produced from the CCS’ Summer 2022 faculty seminar on Newman’s famous book The Idea of a University and was also published as part of the seminar’s conference proceedings.  

Spring 2023 is scheduled to produce a similar level of scholarly activity.  In January, Radwan plans to participate in SHU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Symposium, and on February 7 the Institute for Communication and Religion will co-sponsor a Peace Workshop with the Center for Faculty Development featuring research on Howard Thurman. "Thurman was an amazing influence on MLK," Radwan explained. "It was Thurman who led a pilgrimage to India to learn about non-violent protest and how spiritual energy can drive social change." Additionally, on April 5 at 11:00 in Walsh Library’s Beck Rooms the ICR will host a guest lecture from Indian Bhagavad Gita expert Pravrajika Divyanandaprana (Mataji). "The ICR is very excited to have booked Mataji to speak on campus" Radwan explained. "Her April 2023 lecture tour of the east coast includes Seton Hall alongside MIT and Princeton.  We are definitely in good company and proud to help share the best in religious communication research."

About the Institute for Communication and Religion 

Launched in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion within the College of Communication and the Arts provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Guided by the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, the Institute seeks to engage in public dialogue and debate, promote academic inquiry and support the religious dimension of creativity — all while upholding the values of servant leadership, curricular innovation and intellectual excellence. For more information about the Institute for Communication and Religion, click here

Categories: Arts and Culture, Education