Studying Religion in Culture. That’s what we emphasize in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. As opposed to seeing religion as set apart and periodically interacting with other items of culture–as typically implied by the more common “religion and culture” or “politics and religion”–work in the Department highlights the manner in which those behaviors and institutions named as religion are elements of ordinary cultural practices.
To serve not only the needs and interests of our students but also the wider University as well as the local Alabama community, the Department of Religious Studies hosts a number of lectures each semester. In part, this site facilitates discussion about those lectures both before and after they take place: the Aronov Lecture (begin in 2001-2) each year introduces to the University of Alabama community a nationally recognized scholar of religion who is capable of reflecting on issues of wide relevance to scholars from across the humanities and social sciences; the Day Lecture (begun in 2013-14) focuses on the study of religion in popular culture; and the Religion in Culture series provides a venue for local and visiting scholars to address the role played by religious beliefs and practices in creating and contesting culture.
But this site also provides a venue not just for our faculty and students but also our graduates and graduate teaching assistants (GTA) to draw upon their expertise to make contributions to contemporary debates concerning the study of both the past and present, in order to demonstrate the contributions to be made by that broad grouping of disciplines known as the liberal arts. Each of the four above-named groups have their own blog on this site; but, inasmuch as the posts may overlap thematically they are also categorized and tagged so that those who are all posting on related topics will intersect for readers.
We hope that the site provokes a new thought or two and elicits some engaging responses from readers along the way.