Racial or Religious Humor as Means of Negotiation

By Zach Price

Zach Price is a Religious Studies major; a Black Belt in Isshin Ryu; a student of Shen Lung Kung Fu; and a guitar, banjo, and tin whistle enthusiast. This post originally appeared on the blog Monks and Nones, the class blog for REL 371.

So if you missed the “joke” that Rick Warren posted on Facebook and the proceeding backlash then you can catch up on all of it here. Basically Rick Warren, a famous mega-church pastor, posted an image of a Red Guard from the Chinese Cultural Revolution and made a joke about how his co-workers are like that on Mondays. Other pastors were upset that a religious leader like Warren would use a joke making light of the horrific acts committed during the Cultural Revolution. Continue reading

Curios and Classrooms

20109932_BG1By Kim Davis
Kim Davis earned her B.A. in French and Religious Studies from the University of Alabama in 2003. She went on to get her Masters in French Linguistics and Literature in 2007 and a Masters in Secondary Language Pedagogy in 2010, both from UA. Kim now teaches French and Mythology at Tuscaloosa County High School.

I’m a collector. The picture above is of Kenner Star Wars action figures that I have kept until I had a house to display them in a small curio cabinet. I suppose you wonder what that has to do with my degree in Religious Studies. Much like I now display these figures, I would like to tell you how I now display the knowledge gained in the Department of Religious Studies. Continue reading

Who Gets to Think?

Think New ThoughtsThink New Thoughts! A recent tagline promoting the Department of Religious Studies is not simply highlighting our desire to challenge student preconceptions but emphasizing our department’s effort to develop important intellectual skills. While public discourse often emphasizes education as the means to gain economically and overcome poverty, some evidence suggests that economic privilege breeds economic success and that education for the children of the 1% may differ from education for children of the lower rungs of society. Continue reading

Mind the Gap

HamletBy Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She currently works as a staff member in the Department as a Student Liaison and filmmaker. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across this video that discussed the benefit of performing Shakespeare’s plays in their “Original Pronunciation,” or “OP.” Take a look… Continue reading

Race and Displacement

212-5687-Product_LargeToMediumImageRace and Displacement, co-edited by our own Prof. Simmons and Prof. Marouan (formerly of REL and now of Gender & Race Studies), has just been published. It is based on a conference held at UA several years ago.

As the University of Alabama Press’s site describes it: “it captures a timely set of discussions about the roles of race in displacement, forced migrations, nation and nationhood, and the way continuous movements of people challenge fixed racial definitions. The multifaceted approach of the essays in Race and Displacement allows for nuanced discussions of race and displacement in expansive ways, exploring those issues in transnational and global terms. The contributors not only raise questions about race and displacement as signifying tropes and lived experiences; they also offer compelling approaches to conversations about race, displacement, and migration both inside and outside the academy. Taken together, these essays become a case study in dialogues across disciplines, providing insight from scholars in diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, literary theory, race theory, gender studies, and migration studies.”

“The Stories of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated…”

Picture 3Seen this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education? Give it a read and ask yourself why — if this is what the public actually thinks — we all seem to assume that there’s a crisis in the liberal arts?

That is, if the skills taught all across the liberal arts are so essential (read the results [PDF] of the study for yourself) then why do we all seem to agree so easily that they are so non-essential — i.e., that they deserve budget cuts, that they are not relevant, that you won’t get a job if you know how to use and apply them…?

Might the stories of the liberal arts’ irrelevance be greatly exaggerated and, perhaps, in the service of other fields or social forces…?

What’s of Value to You?

Picture 1Did you see this article in the New York Times‘ “Common Sense” column? A lot of people now seem to be measuring the worth of their investment in higher education in terms of the possibility of future earnings — their “return on investment.”

But what would happen if the return that concerned you was something else that’s empirically measurable and that’s likely pretty relevant to people too, something like, say, life expectancy? After all, earning potential is a speculative generalization based on a variety of factors well beyond your choice of undergraduate major (that is, there are unemployed and underpaid business grads out there, no?). So why not introduce a few other metrics into the speculative soup?

So the question is, what’s of value to you? And how do you measure it?

And while we’re asking question, I wonder what the author, James B. Stewart‘s undergrad degree was in since you can become a lawyer and then a journalist by majoring in all sorts of seemingly low paying areas in the Liberal Arts, right?