About Russell McCutcheon

Russell McCutcheon is the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Interested generally in issues of theory in the study of religion, and specifically in the social and political utility of the very term "religion" itself, he has worked at three different public universities in the US. He teaches a variety of courses -- from the intro course to theories of myth -- and continues his research on such topics as religion and modernity. He also has a dog, Izzy.

Yes, Patches O’Houlihan is My Pedagogical Mentor

You seen “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” (2004)?


Well it provides some important pedagogical lessons. Continue reading

“Are You in There, Satan?”

Ok, on the heels of a post, earlier today, about explaining the behavior of turkeys, I just came across this video and a friend’s fun comment about this possibly being evidence of the gates of hell.

It’s in a cemetery, after all. Continue reading

“The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen”

Over on social media the other day, I came across the following tweet, posted at NPR’s site.

My comment, used above as this post’s opening pic, wasn’t completely sarcastic. Continue reading

On Religion, Words, and Things: A Reply

Brent Nongbri, from whom this response was invited, is a Visiting Associate Professor at Aarhus University. He recently completed a three-year project at Macquarie University (sponsored by the Australian Research Council) that explored the earliest Christian manuscripts from a number of angles, focusing on issues of construction and dating as well as provenance and collection history. The results of the project will appear in his forthcoming book on the archaeology of the earliest Christian manuscripts.

I’m grateful to the curators of “Studying Religion in Culture” for this opportunity to reflect a bit on “words and things,” and I would also like to thank the previous posters in this series for their insightful contributions on this topic and on the problems and prospects of working with the concept of religion.

I’ll start off my own comments, however, on a word other than “religion.” Continue reading

“An Intense Experience”

Readers in the US may have already seen the commercials for Reza Aslan‘s upcoming series, Believer.

It starts Sunday March 5 on CNN at 10 pm (eastern time). Continue reading

Fall 2017 Classes

What’s on tap for REL’s Fall 2017 undergrad classes?

Get a PDF of the course flyer here.

Purity and Danger

If you know of the Panera chain of soup & sandwich shops then you might know about their latest marketing campaign — they sell clean food.

I guess that means that other menus — those of their competitors in the fast food industry, that is — are populated by, well, dirty food.

Apart from the curiously anti-intellectual theme to the campaign (if you can’t easily say the name then it must be bad for you), the initiative makes evident that Mary Douglas‘s work is as relevant now as it ever was.

On the Right Track

Did you happen to see the job ad posted for a position at the National Humanities Center (in North Carolina)? Continue reading

Pagan Rites in Space

Yes, cosmonauts apparently all pee on the back right tire of the bus that carries them to the launch pad, before they take off.

At least the guys do; but the ladies are said to bring a vial of urine to pour on the tire.

It’s a ritual. Continue reading

It’s Alive!

Yes, the application system for REL’s new M.A. degree has gone live.

Visit here to learn more about the materials needed for an application.

Or speak with Prof. Simmons (REL’s Grad Director), if you have questions
or visit the UA grad school’s online application to learn more.