Wafer Thin Mint Veneer

Picture 9As I mentioned briefly yesterday in a post, I was recently a respondent on a panel at our field’s main annual conference; the panel was devoted to whether there could be a consolidation of different trends in inter-religious/interfaith dialogue. Now, this is not what I work on and, as I made plain in my response, my own work would take those who aim toward identifying so-called mutual understanding across religions as being themselves an object of study, inasmuch as it represents but one position along a complex continuum — after all, not every so-called religious person wants to talk to others; for some want to convert them while others may either ignore those who strike them as different or, yes, do something rather worse.

So I see no reason to champion but one of these many positions when I could, instead, study each of them as differing responses to, well…, difference. Continue reading

Common, Yes, But Also Compelling

Picture 6 Having just come from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, where scholars of religions’ input on the topic of climate change was encouraged, inasmuch as we are presumed to have some special expertise based on what we happen to study — as phrased in a memo sent last year to the chairs of its various program units, written by our then incoming President:

It is our scholarly duty, I would argue, that we bring forward a scholarship from a wide set of traditions that may suggest a meaningful set of actions in response to an unprecedented and shared crisis…

— and at which, in my reply to a session on interreligious dialogue, I once again critiqued a statement from 1997 in which Jacob Neusner argued that the:

special promise of the academic study of religion is to nurture this country’s resources for tolerance for difference, our capacity to learn from each other, and to respect each other…

I find it interesting to turn attention to the manner in which scholars of religion apply their work to domains outside those of their expertise. Continue reading

“It’s what makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.”

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By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

With Thanksgiving upon us, television commericals have been selling holiday food and related items. The closer Thanksgiving got, more and more ads for sweet potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, etc., starting popping up on TV. That’s no surprise, right? It’s a day of family, eating, football, eating… Did I say eating? So a lot of preparation goes into planning and hosting Thanksgiving dinner. It can be somewhat chaotic. We’ve all had some version of the “I forgot the cream of mushroom soup!” moment of running to the grocery only to find they’ve sold out.

But of the commercials I’ve seen, the one that sticks in my mind the most is the Stouffer’s pilgrim commercial. Take a look…

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A Good Alabaman


Allie Rash is a senior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She hails from Franklin, TN but calls North Carolina and Kansas home as well. She wrote this post for Dr. Finnegan’s class, REL 370: Hijab, Hip Hop, and Halal.

Gerald Allen is the State Senator from the 21st district of Alabama, representing Hale, Pickens, and Tuscaloosa counties.  Before his election to the State Senate, Allen served four terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.  Politically, according to his most recent ad in May, he is a ‘real conservative.’

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A Few Moments with Kelly Baker, Part 2

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The second part of our interview with Dr. Kelly Baker, this year’s Day lecturer, is now up and running!  In this second installment, Dr. Baker discusses  reactions to her work, her favorite monsters, and more.

If you missed the first part of the interivew, you can read the blog post here.

Have you seen Dr. Baker’s lecture? Watch it here.

A Few Moments with Kelly Baker, Part 2 from UA Religious Studies.

All Work and No Play…

livetweetsfromthelounge2We’re experimenting with a new feature in our Department this year: Live Tweets form the Lounge. For we’re now on Twitter, and it occurred to us that periodically inviting a different faculty member to just hang out in our Department lounge for an hour and tweet about what’s going on, what they’re teaching this semester, or what they’re working on in their own research might be a way to engage students or any other Twitter followers. It’s fun, sure, but it’s surprisingly informative; we’ve done two of these so far (some tweets from our most recent are below) and, if they’re any measure, it seems to be a real success — if you’re measuring success by a variety of people on a large campus feeling involved in the life of the Department and learning about/communicating with each other. (Search #loungetweets on Twitter to see more.)

loungetweets Continue reading