Undergrad Research is on the Agenda

Join us tomorrow morning, Friday Feb. 22, for our 6th annual undergrad research symposium. It starts at 9 a.m. in room 205 of Gorgas Library (on the main floor). We have 6 students presenting their own original work (mentored by REL faculty), on two panels, and two of our M.A. students are presiding.

REL Grad Hosts Career Workshop

Last week, Khara Cole, who graduated from UA with a degree in Public Relations and Religious Studies in 2013, lead current students in a career workshop. The casual meeting launched last year as an RSSA initiative and continued this year (organized by Prof. Vaia Touna). The presentation covered everything from resume structure to LinkedIn formatting, and even nonverbal communication during interviews.

Continue reading

6th Annual Undergrad Research Symposium

REL is again hosting its undergrad research symposium, held this year in
Gorgas Library 205, so there’s plenty of room to join us and hear some of the research that our students have been doing.

It starts at 9:00 am Friday, February 22. There will be two panels (9-10 and 10:15-11:15), both of which are chaired by M.A. students in the Departments.
And Prof. Crews is our host.

Pictured above: the 5th annual event, held at the University Club in Spring 2018

 

Honors Day 2019 Recipients Announced

Letters went out a week ago so it’s time to make some public announcements concerning those students receiving awards at our Honors Day celebrations this coming April.

So we’re very pleased to announce that 16 REL majors and/or Judaic Studies minors are receiving this year’s Silverstein Scholars award, recognizing their accomplishment in our classes. Find their names at the award link.

Three B.A. students will share the award for the Outstanding Student in the Academic Study of Religion, recognizing their overall contributions to the Department.

And two graduating M.A. students will each share this year’s Goodwyn award.

All presentations (along with a few surprises) will be made at the annual REL ceremony, on our balcony on Honors Day (Friday, April 5), beginning around noon (or immediately following the conclusion of the A&S ceremony); as always, we’ll have some good food, a few speeches, and we’re hoping to see our alums as well as all majors and minors in the Department.

The A&S grad event is Monday April 1 @ 4 pm in the Moody Music Hall Recital Hall (where Prof. Simmons will make a presentation to our Goodwyn recipients) and the A&S undergrad event is Friday April 5 @ 10 am in the main concert hall of Moody Music Hall (where Prof. Altman will recognize our three Outstanding Student award winners).

Congratulations to everyone!

Majors Fair

REL faculty and students will again be attending UA’s annual Majors Fair — this year on Valentines Day. If you’ve got questions about the study of religion or Judaic Studies, drop by — and if you’re a current student we’d love to see you stay for a while and help answer some questions.

Where and when is it, you ask…?

It’s in the Mail

Yes, it’s already time to start thinking about Honors Day 2019 — we’ve come a long way since our first ceremony, back in 2002 (above). Sure, it’s still on the balcony but the food’s a lot better now. And we’re able to recognize quite a few more of our excellent students.

This year the Department has its annual event — to which all majors and minors are invited — beginning around noon on Friday, April 5, but the A&S grad ceremony is on Monday, April 1, at 4 pm in the Recital Hall of Moody Music Hall (where Prof. Simmons, our Grad Director, will be representing REL) and the A&S undergrad ceremony is Friday, April 5, at 10 am in the main hall of Moody (with Prof. Altman, our Undergrad Director, making the presentations on behalf of REL). Continue reading

Points for Honesty and Candor…?

This morning I caught a tweet that struck me as just as curious as the responses from some on Twitter.

First off, the tweet:

It’s curious to me because, unless the person in question earned their Ph.D. in the early 1960s, the job market in the Humanities has not been good for decades, though sure, due to even more declines in public support it continues to degrade in ways that make the market 30 years ago look “good” when compared to today. But, speaking from my own experience, it was not “super easy” to get a job when I first stepped onto the market (early 1990s) — either for myself or most of my peers at the time.

So, lesson #1 is easy to draw: beware how you generalize from your own experience. Continue reading

In Praise of Indexing

Yes, I like making my own index.

There, I said it.

And so should you.

Sure, it’s the umpteenth time that you’re read your own text, the one that you (naively) thought was all done when you sent off the final manuscript to your publisher as a file attachment; but then it kept reappearing in your inbox, first with copyediting, which entailed negotiating with the copyeditor over your penchant for em dashes and semi-colons, then for proofing and yet more proofing. You wrote the 150 word blurb, the 300 word blurb, and let them know of all the journals (that they already knew about) where it might be reviewed and all of the conferences that you weren’t attending (where it might be promoted), and so the last thing you want to do is read it all once more to make the index….

So, yes, it’s kind’a pain to make one. I get that. But I like it nonetheless. Continue reading

A New Honors Day Tradition

We have a new award to announce, which will be given out each year at Honors Day on the balcony: the Alum Liaison Committee Award.

This award (funded by alums and the Department) will recognize up to four students (one Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior) who submit a short essay (500 words) on their experiences in our classes, e.g., how they found us, what surprised them about the field, and interesting uses to which it might be put. It’s open to any student in an REL course and each award comes with a $100 prize.

The members of our Alum Liaison Committee will be reading the essays and making the decisions, so please visit the page (linked above) for this new award to learn more and consider making your own submission in this inaugural year (due March 1).

Coming Attractions

It’s going to be another busy semester around Manly Hall — REL has some guests coming and things are happening.

Along with three candidates visiting campus this month for a tenure-track faculty position that we hope to fill for Fall 2019 (devoted to social theory of Islam) — and we’ll be talking to some students about joining each interviewee for a chat over coffee — we have Prof. Tim Jensen flying in from Denmark to deliver the 17th annual Aronov Lecture and REL grad Chris Hurt is due from California to join us at another Grad Tales event, hosted again by our Alum Liaison Committee. (Chris, on keyboards and vocals, is one half of the group Jamestown Pagans.) With our alums in mind, we should also mention that they’ll again be offering a careers workshop later this semester, with some practical advice that you’ll find useful, no matter what you’re aiming to do after university. And, as part of the College of Arts & Sciences’ Alabama/Greece Initiative, Prof. Touna will be hosting a professor from Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, for a week — he’ll be offering guest lectures and making some class visits — and a group of early career scholars are visiting campus as part of our new American Examples working group, organized by Prof. Altman and funded by both the Department and the College of A&S. (Did we say that we’re applying for a fairly large external grant to make this an annual event…?)

Did we mention the sixth annual honors research symposium at the end of February? You should talk to an REL prof — asap — if you have a paper you’d like to revise and present.

Of course Honors Day is also coming, the first Friday of April, with the Department’s annual ceremony on the balcony around noon (immediately following the completion of the A&S event at Moody Music Hall). Oh, and we’ve got something new to announce about Honors Day but we’ll leave that for a separate notice.

So welcome back and we hope you have a great Spring semester.