Religion in

Religion in Culture Lunch Series

On Wednesday, October 11, 2006, the Department, along with the Religious Studies Student Association (RSSA), hosted the first Religion in Culture Lunchtime Discussion of the new semester, featuring the work of our own Associate Professor Steve Jacobs. Prof. Jacobs--who is on the Secretary/Treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and regularly teaches courses and publishes in this subject area--has held the Department's Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies since January 2001. The predistributed article that was discussed during lunch was his recently published essay, "The Study of Genocide Gets Religion" (PDF; this article is posted on the Department's "secure" server, requiring your Bama ID/Password).

Keke Pounds, a student in Prof. Jacobs's REL 238, also attended the lunchtime event.

Prof. Jacobs's essay, which he described as exploring a newer area of study, advocated for scholars both within and outside the academic study of religion to take more seriously the possible role played by religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions in providing some of the conditions in which acts we commonly designate as genocides might take place. Although scholars routinely study such things as myth, ritual, systems of authority, etc.--it is odd that they so rarely focus their studies on genocides, given that (as he argued in his essay) all of these "have been factors in genocide."

RSSA Vice President, Justin Nelson, introduced Professor Jacobs.

To say that the box lunches provided by the Department were rib-ticklingly delicious would be a sad, sad understatement.


"Holocaust and Genocide Studies: The Future is Now," a 1998 article by Prof. Steve Jacobs

Holocaust and Genocide Studies, An International Journal

Institute for the Study of Genocide

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Raphael Lemkin and the term "Genocide"


Our thanks to Betty Dickey and to Donna Martin for all of their work to plan Department events. And thanks once again to Jennifer "Say Cheese!" Alfano for taking photos of this event.




Prof. Jacobs opened the lunch with a summary of his article and fielded a number of engaging questions throughout the discussion.

Our lunchtime discussion events are limited to majors and minors in the Department and provide an opportunity for them to read scholars' current work and discuss it with them--whether they are our own faculty or visiting lecturers.

Sarah Luken, a graduating senior and student worker in the Department once again this year, was overhead to exclaim in a surprisingly exercised manner: "Trade you my chocolate chip cookie for an apple? You've got to be kidding!"

REL students Zach Price (left) and Brooks Harvard (middle), along with Prof. Russell McCutcheon, all listen attentively.

Prof. Jacobs and Chris Hurt, RSSA President. In the background can be seen the framed flyers for all past Religion in Culture Lectures.