Have you seen the video making the rounds with the Boston Dynamics robots — notably the parts where they demonstrate their ability to adapt by pushing them around?
No? Well then this is your lucky day. Continue reading
Our first RSSA Coffee Break last month was a huge hit, and our next one is fast approaching! Be sure to stop by the lounge in Manly 200 on Tuesday, March 1st from 1:30-3:00pm and enjoy a free cup of coffee, on the house! Mix and mingle with your fellow REL students, and maybe even a professor or two.
We’re also bringing back Live Tweets from the Lounge for this Coffee Break! Dr. Altman will be live-tweeting the event, so find him on Twitter and keep those tweets coming! Don’t forget to tag it #LoungeTweets.
Group identifications are not something inherent or automatic; they require work to construct and maintain, and that work only makes sense when those group identifications serve some interests, such as gaining access to power and resources. Currently in India, communities based on caste identification, specifically Jats in Haryana (a province in northern India near New Delhi), are protesting for special access to government jobs under the reservation system. Jats are an interesting example of a contested community, as their status in the traditional hierarchy of communities is unclear. Some claim that they are upper caste, like the Rajputs, but many Rajputs dispute that. Some suggest that they lost their upper caste status by failing to maintain upper caste rituals, yet others assert that they were Dalits (formerly untouchables) but eventually raised their status to simply low caste. Each of these status positions creates winners and losers, people who gain or lose access to status, resources, and power. Continue reading
Have you seen the media trying to explain why so-called evangelical Christians are supporting Donald Trump so much in the Republican primaries? For he’s hardly a model for the sort of family values they’re thought to find important — so why back him?
It’s a puzzle. Continue reading
Sometimes ordinary language tells us far more about social life than we at first realize.
For example, take two common phrases:
“I can’t believe it”
“Let it sink in…”
What’s going on when we say that? Or, better put, when do we say that? And what does it tell us about the word “belief” — a word we usually use as if it names some pristine interior realm that’s only secondarily projected out and expressed in public. Continue reading
Alumni from our department emphasize how various skills that they developed in Religious Studies have been useful in a range of careers (e.g., on the Graduate page of this blog here, here, here, and here and through our Grad Tales events). Creative problem solving helps when planning language lessons or legal arguments. Recognizing the range of perspectives and dangers of stereotypes can aid in developing marketing strategies. Clear communication can assist in preparing a persuasive business plan or grant application. Current students similarly have discussed ways that they use skills from Religious Studies classes in courses outside our department. Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve seen that statement at the tail end of the movie credits — as you waited to see if a blooper reel would end off the film; ever wonder why it’s there? Continue reading
We’re extremely pleased to announce that, as of August 2016, we will have another new colleague in REL.
Suma Ikeuchi is currently a doctoral candidate at Emory University, where she will receive her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology in May 2016. She also has an M.A. in Anthropology from Brandeis University and a B.A. in both History and Anthropology from Hokkaido University, Japan. Continue reading
REL 360–our one credit hour course–is hosting yet another movie night! To follow this semester’s theme on Democracy, Race, and Religion, the course will be screening Lilies of the Field. The 1963 film focuses on Homer Smith (also known affectionately as Schmidt) who stops for water in a small farm in Arizona and ends up drawn into a lengthy endeavor by Mother Maria and her fellow nuns to build a church for the impoverished community. What begins as a battle of biblical quotes between the two hard-headed protagonists over the simple matter of payment for his work ends in a project that forever changes the people involved.
The screening is open to everyone!
(Even if you’re not in the class!)
WHAT? REL 360 is a one-credit course designed to show four films throughout the semester that will provoke discussion about what exactly takes place when the humanities and popular culture collide.
WHEN? Thursday, February 18th @ 6:00 pm
WHERE? 203 Garland Hall
WHY? To broaden your horizons! The film allows the viewers insights into the backdrop of race and religion in 1960s America. It’s also free to see!
Hope to see you there!