Humans and Nazis: Reevaluating the Conversation of Us and Them 

Kadence D. Jackson is a freshman majoring in Political Science and Religious Studies, along with a minor in Judaic Studies. “Evil, animals…,” “Devils, monsters, equivalent to Satan himself…”—these are expressions commonly used when we reference those who belonged to the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party during the Second World War. This language is usually voiced casually, perhaps as a means of rationalization; but ironically, I believe it’s actually disassociating Nazis from mankind. […]

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Welcome to Spring 2023!

Classes begin this week, and REL’s faculty are looking forward to seeing who’s there. The on-campus undergraduate courses in REL this semester include introductions to religious studies by Profs. Altman and Szanto. Other 100-level, introductory courses are being offered by Profs. Ramey, Loewen, and Kyselov. The 200-level courses have a variety of topical foci, with Prof. Jacobs teaching on Judaism, Prof. Newton on African Diaspora Religions, and Prof. Szanto on Islam. Prof. Jacobs also teaches a 300-level course on Jewish-Christian […]

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A Feature of the System of Governance

A folk healer like Agnis trod a fine line between being someone people called upon when they needed help and someone they blamed when misfortune struck (21:30) So says Lucy Worsley, the joint chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces in the UK and also the host of a variety of recent TV shows on British history. The above quotation is twenty minutes into a recent episode on the late sixteenth century Scottish witch trials, specifically focusing on that of Agnis […]

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Making Sense of Debates on Harry Style’s Fashion with Religious Studies: Authority, Legitimation, and Authenticity

Callie Mastin graduated this August with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and International Studies with a minor in French. Callie was a student in REL 105 with Professor Griffin in Spring 2022. It’s no secret that Harry Style’s use of gender non-conforming fashion is a hotly debated topic. When Styles, wearing a custom Gucci dress, appeared on the front cover of Vogue as the first solo male cover in Vogue’s history, both fans’ and critics’ reactions were mixed. […]

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Hunting Witches: a Social Constructivist Perspective

Lauren Thompson is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Asian Studies. Lauren was a student in Prof. Loewen’s REL101 “The Violent and the Sacred” in Spring 2022. As a senior this year, Lauren will further explore an interest in Religious Studies and Occultism while applying for graduate studies. The history of Western Europe is punctuated by massacres and individual killings of ‘witches.’ Neighbors turned on neighbors, Church turned on parishioners, and the higher classes turned on the lower: […]

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Behind the Scenes of ‘Uncivil Religion’ with Our MA Students

In January the Department of Religious Studies, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, launched the digital project Uncivil Religion. Three MA students in our Department’s Religion in Culture program worked alongside Prof. Mike Altman to build the website for the project. In the latest episode of the Study Religion podcast, fellow MA student Erica Bennet sat down with those three students to hear about their experiences working on Uncivil Religion and what went into building the […]

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What Can You Do With a Degree in Religion?

Al McGowen majored in Religious Studies (minoring in Social Work and English) while at UA in the late-1970s, after having served in the USAF during the Vietnam era. He went on to earn an M.Div. from Memphis Theological Seminary and did his clinical training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Al became a Fellow In The College of Chaplains, which later became the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), and a Board Certified Chaplain, a Clinical Member of the Association for […]

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Thinking With Baudrillard

Jacob Barrett is a second year M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. He is originally from Colorado Springs, CO, and received his B.A. in Philosophy & Religion from Nebraska Wesleyan University. He is interested in pursuing questions about religion and governance, law, and the state through contemporary examples from American politics. In March 2022, he will present his research at the southeast regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion. On June 27, […]

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Simulation Theory: How is ‘Religion’ Part of It?

Tyler Dettmar developed this post from a presentation originally created for Prof. Lauren Horn Griffin’s REL 245, American Religious History. Special thanks for editorial assistance from REL’s graduate student Jacob Barrett. In recent years, something called simulation theory has begun appearing more frequently in public discourse. Public figures such as Elon Musk have called attention to this ideology, spreading quickly over social media. With the latest movie in The Matrix franchise coming out a few weeks ago, conversation about simulation […]

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Sneaker Culture: An Item-Based Religious Movement?

Drew Whinery, from Tuscaloosa, AL, is a senior majoring in Music, with a minor in Criminal Justice. The following post developed from a presentation originally created for an REL class with Prof. Lauren Horn Griffin. As a college student, I tend to stay up with trends. One that has been popular for years is known as “Sneaker Culture.” The idea behind Sneaker Culture is that certain shoes, or sneakers, are released in a limited supply and many people seek them […]

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