#RELResearch: Professors Simmons, Loewen, and Altman Publish Together

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If you pick up the most recent issue of the venerable journal Method and Theory in the Study of Religion you will find three essays from REL faculty discussing the recently published Norton Anthology of World Religion. Rather than a simple review of the multivolume work, the essays from Merinda Simmons, Nathan Loewen, and Mike Altman consider what the publication of the anthology means for the larger field of religious studies. Each essay puts the anthology into a larger context of how scholars research and teach about religion. Curious what they said? Abstracts and links for the essays are below. Continue reading

Ar·ti·facts Returns for the 2016 Semester!

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We’re kicking off the fall semester with the resurgence of the ar·ti·facts series, in which faculty showcase an item from his or her office that bears some significance or importance to the professor and his/her role in the department. This season starts off with Dr. Nathan Loewen and a bit of family history… Continue reading

REL Movie Nights Return with Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

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Our one credit hour course–REL 360–returns for the fall semester with the showing of Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. This 1999 crime/action film follows “Ghost Dog”, a hit-man for the mafia who models his life by the code of the samurai. When one of his missions goes awry, causing him to leave a witness alive, Ghost Dog himself becomes a target of the mafia. Continue reading

Constructing Judaism and Claiming Christianity: Modern Jewish Philosophy in an Age of Theory

Creator: Doré, Gustave, 1832-1883., French.; Date: 1856.; Material: wood engraving on wove paper; Measurements: sheet: 55 x 38.9 cm. ; image: 39 x 30.2 cm.; Repository: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Dept. of Prints, Drawings and Photographs.; Williamstown, Mass.; 1977.55B.; http://www.clarkart.edu

Creator: Doré, Gustave, 1832-1883., French.; Date: 1856.; Material: wood engraving on wove paper; Measurements: sheet: 55 x 38.9 cm. ; image: 39 x 30.2 cm.; Repository: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Dept. of Prints, Drawings and Photographs.; Williamstown, Mass.; 1977.55B.; http://www.clarkart.edu

Robert Erlewine is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University where he teaches courses related to philosophy of religion and Judaism. He is the author of two monographs, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) and Judaism and the West: From Hermann Cohen to Joseph Soloveitchik (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016).

In recent years, in the academic study of religion there have been rather public disputes about the nature of religious studies. Russell McCutcheon and William Arnal note an important sea-change that seems to have taken place in the field over the last few decades, that there has been a “widespread turn from practicing [religious studies] as if it was a branch of the history of ideas toward studying what is now known as ‘religion on the ground’ or ‘material religion.’” This shift “estranges former close relationships with our cousins in philosophy and, instead, forges affinities with our new friends, the social anthropologists and culture studies.” What does this change in religious studies mean for more philosophically oriented sub-disciplines — other than shrinking job prospects for young scholars? Can recent developments in theories and methods enable a rethinking of subfields in religious studies that remain close to philosophy departments?

Rethinkings that can generate energy and foster vitality? Continue reading

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Faculty Scorecard jpgIt’s a new academic year so, yes, we have some new posters going up around Manly Hall — one being the new and improved faculty display case.

Located between the offices of Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Touna, this new poster reveals, for the first time ever, some fun facts that you probably didn’t know about your professors. Continue reading

Welcome Back 2016

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The Department of Religious Studies is thrilled to welcome you back to the start of another eventful academic year! We’re ushering in the new semester with a bit of a blast to the past as the Department celebrates fifty years of studying religion in culture. Check out the video to see just how much things have changed around Manly Hall.

Welcome Back ’16 from UA Religious Studies.