Category: Student Blog

Posts in this category are written by, or are about, undergraduate students in the Department.


“The Cult of Cults”: Pop Culture Representations of a Minority Religious Group

Allison Isidore is a second-year M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies. On December 8, I submitted my last paper for the semester, wrapping up what has been, for many, a stressful period. Having just seen the trailer for the new HBOMAX docuseries “Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults,” I  wondered how the religious group was represented and decided to take a look. […]

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The Relevance of Religious Studies is Not that We Study Religion

Jacob Barrett is a first year M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. From Colorado Springs, he earned his B.A. from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Philosophy & Religion and Biology. In the Spring he will present his research at the southeast regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Junior year of my undergraduate degree, I was asked by the chair of the Religious Studies department to represent the major at an event where […]

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What is the Country’s Reality?

Allison Isidore is a second-year M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies. Have you seen the new HBO show “Lovecraft Country”? In the series premiere, set in 1950s America, we follow Atticus Freeman (played by Jonathan Majors), Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), and George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance) as they travel to “Ardham,” Massachusetts, in hopes of finding Atticus’s father, Montrose Freeman (Michael K. Williams). He went missing while searching for the family’s history. The trio drives through town […]

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A Case Study in Framing and Interpretation

Brady Duke is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Religious Studies and Latin. After graduation, he plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Classical philology with a concentration in Latin language and literature. Throughout this semester, we have been learning various ways in which individuals, either scholars or laypersons, interact, define, and interpret the past. Consequently, the interpretations stemming from these discourses reflect more about those analyzing the object of study than the object of study itself; while […]

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True or False or a Mix of Both? The Dissonance of the Gospels presented in Galatia

Rebekah Pearson ’22 is a Religious Studies-Dance Performance double major. In Prof. Newton’s Introduction to the New Testament course, she examined Paul’s Letter to the Galatians as an artifact of competing social definitions. This essay was part of her group’s Bible in Culture zine. Learn more in the first, second, third, and fourth posts of the series.  Imagine this: You have been running for over an hour and you finally make it to what you think is the finish line of your first […]

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Kashmir Confusion

Daniel W. Lee is a Marketing major with a Religious Studies minor from the University of Alabama. He plans to continue his studies of religion after his graduation this May. The threat of nuclear war loomed over Asia earlier this Fall. The dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan was the basis for this threat, escalating tensions dramatically between these two countries. The article Pakistan’s Ambiguity Over Nuclear War Comes to the Fore from The Times of India discussed how […]

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Internships as Part of the REL M.A. Program

We recently sat down with Caity Bell, a second year M.A. student in Religious Studies, and talked about internship opportunities. This past summer she helped frame historic representations during her internship with the Landmarks Association of DeKalb County (pictured above). 1. How did you first hear about the chance to do an internship as part of your MA in Religious Studies? Caity: I first heard about the opportunity during one of our colloquium sessions. Dr. Merinda Simmons, our Grad Director, […]

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