Out in the Open: Everybody’s Nobody


Sarah Griswold is a junior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She spends her “free time” analyzing her favorite shows on Netflix, which of course winds up ruining them. She is currently enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Simmons where she is analyzing the popular HBO series “True Detective.”

“[People] are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are somebody. When in fact, everybody’s nobody.” – Rust Cohle

In the first blog post of this series, Out In the Open: We All Fit a Certain Category, I discussed classification as a political act in HBO’s popular series True Detective. In the show, Detective Marty Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, exemplifies classification and living stereotypes astoundingly well, while also performing dominance through categorizing and therefore (in this case) dehumanizing the people in his life. I plan to explore this through examples of Marty’s relationships with women, but first some notes about the series:

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Of Good Things and Small Packages

smallpackageOn the weekend I saw the news stories about Columbia University’s bizarre — yes, I’ll just go ahead an label it as such — attempt to ban food services workers from, among other things, speaking Spanish while on the job. The rich irony, at least as posed by one blogger (a Brooklyn College poli sci prof) and then repeated in other online stories, was that while seeking to contain or marginalize lower class workers who might speak Spanish as their native language:

Columbia University has a renowned department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. It boasts a faculty of 36 professors and lecturers. In the last five years, they’ve produced 52 publications on topics ranging from the regional novel to medieval heresy.

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other


Khara Cole graduated from The University of Alabama in 2013 with a double major in Religious Studies and Public Relations. She currently lives in Chattanooga, TN working as an Associate Product Manager in Marketing/New Product Strategy for BlueCross BlueShield of TN.

If you’ve been on social media at all recently, you might have come across the image pictured above originally posted by a far right conservative group that’s been shared countless times across Facebook and other social media sites. When I first came across this terrible comparison, my critical thinking senses immediately kicked in and I thought why in the world would anyone ever compare these two figures, and what are they trying to say? Not only is this image devastatingly offensive to several communities, it was blatantly obvious that there were major political and totally uneducated implications behind this comparison as well, and I wanted to think it through.

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Borderlands and Disenchantment: A Case Study of Assumptions


Jamie Bowman is a senior English major at the University of Alabama. She has two minors, Creative Writing and Religious Studies. She is the current President of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and Editor of Dewpoint, the society’s literary magazine. Beginning in the fall, she will be attending Durham University, England, to work on a Master’s of English in Literary Studies.

Attending academic conferences is fun. You get to present papers, explore new places, eat great local food, and meet new people. You also get to sit through dull business meetings where some people are more enthusiastic than they should be, go to a talk where a speaker who once majored in the humanities reminds you that your own humanities degree is eligible for monetary gain, skip the gala dinner because you know the chicken will probably be dry, and constantly remind the hotel room maid (to no avail) that you want extra English Breakfast tea in the morning.

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#LoungeTweets with Dr. McCutcheon on Wednesday


Our next #LoungeTweets event is coming up, and this time Dr. Russell McCutcheon has answered the call of duty! He’ll be hanging out in the REL lounge on Wednesday, April 22nd from 2:30-3:30 to respond to your questions, give us a play-by-play of lounge activities, and more. Follow him at @McCutcheonSays.


Keep up with the live tweets by searching #LoungeTweets.



What’s the Point?

15628288442_6ec7bf0571_zAs discussions about the relevance of what we do in religious studies, and academia in general, have become more common lately, my own emphases have coalesced around the skills that the humanities help scholars (whether students or faculty or interested blog readers) develop. And that emphasis on skills is not limited to our work in the classroom.

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