Computational Thinking in the Humanities

Woman in 1955 working at an early, large computer

As previously announced, REL has established its own digital lab (RELdl), directed by Prof. Jeri Wieringa. The lab is an outgrowth of REL’s long investment in integrating computing skills into the life of the Department and its degree programs; among our goals is to see the lab inject energy and expertise into a variety of collaborative research projects and curricular initiatives. Continue reading

Welcome to the REL Digital Lab (RELdl)

Annoucement of the REL Digital Lab on new website.

Visit the RELdl Webpage: http://digitallab.religion.ua.edu/

The new school year has started and the REL Digital Lab is open for business, under the leadership of Prof. Jeri Wieringa.

Visit the new RELdl website to learn more about the Lab and how it will specifically support REL teaching and collaborative research.

Note: the RELdl is not an open lab (i.e., for checking email, writing/printing essays, etc.).

Welcome Back!

It's been quite a year...Where did the last year go…?

The new routine of remote and, when in-person, masked and socially distanced classes was so different from what we all were used to that our sense of time has really been thrown off; for while it may seem like an eternity ago, the start of the Fall 2020 semester, not to mention the swift move to remote classes to complete the Spring 2020 semester, also seems like it was just yesterday.

And suddenly it’s the summer of 2021. And then it’s the third week of August. And then…

We’re hopeful that everyone stayed as safe and healthy as possible this past 18 months, that you’re all taking the risks and dangers of the COVID virus’s variants seriously, and that we’ll again see you in-person on the balcony for the Fall 2021 semester.

As always, there will be peanuts — but, sadly, they’re not for you.

REL Update: Start of Fall 2021

Crimson-colored mask

With the start of Fall 2021 classes just a couple weeks away it’s time to send out an update to ensure that everyone in REL is on the same page for how the semester will start.

New Mask Mandate

If you have missed it, UA recently announced implementing a mask mandate on campus, to be regularly reassessed throughout the semester. All classrooms are back to full capacity, however, and the plexiglass has been removed from classrooms, though stand-alone plexiglass barriers are, we believe, still present at the lectern/multimedia podium of many classes. Also, COVID accommodations — unless it rises to the level of a disability, and that is determined by making an application to UA’s Office of Disability Services (ODS) — have been discontinued.

Read the new policy and find more info.

This means that masks are required of all students in REL, whether you are in the Department to visit the main office or see a faculty member or attending any of its classes. Continue reading

Got a question? 1-800-REL-HELP is here with an answer.

Sometimes there are tough questions in the academic study of religion. That’s why there’s 1-800-REL-HELP, a hotline for your most difficult religious studies quandaries. Written by participants in the 2020 American Examples working group and produced by recently graduated MA students Jack Bernardi and Jeremee Nute, these videos answer questions about everything from atheism to ritual and cults to charisma.

The videos are posted on the American Examples YouTube channel (Subscribe!) or you can watch them on the playlist below.

 

UA’s Fall 2021 Operations Plan

UA COVID-19 Update IconBelow is the content (complete with links) of an email sent to all UA faculty and staff on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, discussing the university’s expectations around UA’s return to classes in the Fall 2021 semester.

REL faculty and staff have taken the risks of COVID-19 very seriously since early in 2020 and we hope that all students, as they return to campus, comply with the various requirements and recommendations outlined below.

___________________________

The University of Alabama System released today its Fall 2021 Operations Plan. In accordance with the System plan, The University of Alabama updated its COVID-19 plan with guidelines for Fall 2021. Widespread utilization of the life-saving COVID vaccine has helped UA officials plan for our Fall semester experience. Every member of our campus community is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated to keep you and our campus safe and Protect Our HerdContinue reading

Third Time’s the Charm

Prof. Steve Jacobs seated at the University Club in 2017

Prof. Steve Jacobs, above, in April of 2017 at the annual Arts & Science reception at the University Club, for newly promoted faculty — celebrating his promotion that year to Full Professor.

Since starting full-time at UA in 2001 (my “start date” is easy to remember: 1/1/01), past A&S Dean Robert Olin and current Dean Joseph Messina have accorded me three one-semester sabbatical research leaves to pursue avenues of research in my areas of academic specialization: the Holocaust of World War II, historical and contemporary genocides, and Judaic Studies. This work and the sustained opportunity to do so without teaching and/or committee responsibilities during my time away has resulted thus far in books, articles, and conference presentations and lectures. The third of these research sabbaticals is this Fall. Continue reading

Tip of the Iceberg

Graph showing the increasing frequency of the phrase "religious expression" since 1800The common English phrasing “religious expression” carries with it a set of assumptions about what scholars of religion study as well as how and why they study it, though the term is today so widespread that I doubt many think much about what it entails. Continue reading

The Inquisition’s Baggage

Torturer and rack from a movie about the Inquistion

Christopher Hurt is an REL alum who works in Los Angeles. He is best known for his work with the rock ‘n’ roll group, Jamestown Pagans.

Have you ever seen Inquisición (film, 1977)? If you’re a lover of period-piece horror movies, like I am, then you’ll want to check it out. Mondo Macabro has a Blu-ray release that is standout. The subject matter calls to mind this data…

Several years into his papacy John Paul II initiated a commission to study the Inquisition in the hopes of creating a sort of tally for the Catholic Church. The thinking, it seems, was that by initiating a closer examination of the wrongdoings of the past, and formally acknowledging them, it would leave one less strike against the institution, which had already done this with the Galileo incident. Continue reading

Fulbright Scholar Joining REL for 2021-22

Oleg Kyselov

We’re very pleased to announce that Dr. Oleg Kyselov, a senior researcher at the H. S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy in Ukraine, will be joining REL as a Fulbright Scholar from October until June.

His own teaching covers a broad area, including the sociology and geography of religion along with a variety of topics in the history of religions, globalization, and methodologies. Among his most recent publications are: “Interaction Between Religion and Science: Comprehension of Ukrainian Scientific Atheists” in Studia Sociologica 12/1 (2020) and his co-authored chapter, “Atheism in the Context of the Secularization and Desecularization of Ukraine in the 20th Century” in Freethought and Atheism in Central and Eastern Europe: The Development of Secularity and Non-Religion, 284-309 (Routledge, 2020).

While at UA he aims to become more conversant with recent developments in the academic study of religion as practiced in the US, looking for possible points of contact with the field as it has developed in the Ukraine. He will also take advantage of his time in the US to travel and meet with a variety of other scholars of religion throughout the country.

We’re very pleased to host Dr. Kyselov and look forward to conversations on the balcony, more than likely a variety of class visits, and also to learning far more about how the field has taken shape in Ukraine.