The Eternal Return All Over Again

Picture 8I wrote a post recently in which I critiqued a new book by Brent Plate, saying it (along with other developments in the field, such as the turn toward so-called embodied or lived religion) was evidence that the work of Eliade was still representative of the field, no matter how much distance some may claim separates us today from when he first wrote many of his now famous studies in the history of religions (that is, back in the 1950s). I was lucky enough to have Brent comment on the post and a brief back-and-forth resulted, during which he posted the following comment:

I may be an unwitting Eliadean. So be it.

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On Being Freaked Out

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There’s been lots of web traffic in the past 24 hours about the colors of a certain dress. You’ve seen it, right? While it’s kind’a curious, and while its sort’a neat that my wife and I both differ on what it’s colors are, what I think is even more important to note is that so many people are so freaked out over this.

“Now I see blue and black,” says a student right outside my office, as I type this very line. “I’ve got trust issues now,” he concludes (unironically, I might add).

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Is It Really About the Color?

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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.

Last night, as I was gearing up for TGIT, my friend texted me a link to this Buzzfeed article that started going viral. The article featured a photo of a dress (pictured above), that in particular lighting and with a particular perspective, can be viewed as either blue and black or white and gold, or some variation thereon. It’s all over social media, with people posting their opinion versus their friend’s, etc., etc. The original post appeared on Tumblr, and as such, has some amusing comments, namely calling on NASA to resolve the issue.

But the big question of the night: Is the dress blue and black or white and gold? Continue reading

The More Things Change….

patterns4In October of 2013 I wrote a post elsewhere on how recent advances in the study of religion — studying so-called lived or material religion and religion on the ground — were but new names for a very old way of studying religion; for although many now opt for more empirically-sounding “embodiment” over what we once called “manifestation,” there’s still the presumption that the material is merely the domain in which the immaterial is projected, whether we call the intangible it spirit or meaning. Continue reading

On Having an Effect

Picture 2It’s National Adjunct Walkout Day, during which university instructors who are not part of the tenure-track system (or even those who are) may not be showing up to teach or, instead, may take this opportunity to have a “teach-in” during which they depart from the regularly scheduled material, to whatever extent, so as to ensure their students understand some of the challenges facing higher ed at this particular moment in history.

It’s a snow day here at the University of Alabama — we’re expecting a few inches, perhaps, and so the state is shuttered tight and prepared for the worst, having already emptied local store shelves of both bread and milk — so a blog post will have to do today. Continue reading

“But How Many Points is it Worth?”

confusedstudentI’m giving a test this week and, predictably, it’s worth a certain percentage of the students’ final grades in the class — which reminds me of a much earlier experience I had when students in my intro course complained that my syllabus was only out of 100 possible points when their other courses were worth 715 points or maybe 864 points, or sometimes even more!

Who was I to limit their chances by making my course out of only 100? Continue reading

Button, Button, Whose Got the Button? Part 1

whosegotthebutton1Will Prof. Jacobs hear the siren call?
Come back next week to find out.

“If I tell you I believe Elvis is still alive…”

Picture 3Do you know about the sometimes outspoken Sam Harris, the American neuroscientist much associated with the so-called “new atheist” movement?

Well, he’s got a new book out, published last Fall. Continue reading

“A Reluctance to Put the Religious Label”

Picture 2Did you hear about the White House summit this past week? It was in the news a fair bit and was on “countering violent extremism” — not just those attributed to Muslims but, because such adjectives as Islamic or Jihadist are often glued pretty tightly, at least in some North American and European media and politics, to the words violence or terrorism, that angle on the event has received a lot of attention. Continue reading

Studying the Shifting Tides

Picture 2There’s an interesting study to be written on the shifting tides, over the past fifteen years, in the representation of Islam in North America.

Case in point: take the above article, posted just days ago. It deviates in significant ways from the rhetoric that was mobilized immediately after the 9-11 attacks, in which the legitimacy of the attackers’ religion was quickly called into question, thereby creating a zone of peaceful and tolerant Muslims who were seen as safe and who were thus differentiated from those who were quickly turned into enemies and thus targets. Continue reading