In Need of a Little More Precision

In a post the other day I discussed some of the problems with the recent Pew study on the apparent correlation between religiosity (understood as church attendance) and happiness.

Read that post here.

Well, as a brief follow-up, consider this Feb 8 post by one of the researcher’s involved in this work. Here we find, in the opening graphic (reproduced above), a voice that makes plain that the research subjects reported feeling happy; yet this voice changes considerably in the post’s opening paragraph where it is phrased as follows: Continue reading

Prof. Altman Works with APAEP

Religious Studies Professor Michael Altman will be teaching with the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project (APAEP) once a week this spring semester. He will be leading a course titled Religion in America to incarcerated students at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, AL. Continue reading

This Week in the First Amendment

Have you been following the story of the La Lomita Chapel, in Mission, Texas? It was built in 1865 and today is at the center of a fight over land — more specifically, the Federal government trying to acquire this private land for the purposes of the border wall that some want built there.

The local Roman Catholic diocese doesn’t agree. Continue reading

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

I Hope You’re Happy

Did you see the recent study that the Pew Research Center has posted, on the positive correlation between being religious and being happy? It’s worth looking at, especially if you think scholarship on religion ought to be no less rigorous than scholarship on any other aspect of being human.

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

Prof. McCutcheon has Lots of Pots on the Stove

Prof. Russell McCutcheon, who came to UA as the REL Department Chair in the summer of 2001, sometimes says that the career of a scholar involves keeping a lot of pots boiling, all at a different rates. The trick is knowing which can just simmer, on the back burner, and which ones need attention because they’re about to boil over.

Well, this year four pots that were each bubbling away on their own resulted in some new books, all of which were published in just the past few months. But they’re each a different sort of book. Continue reading

Prof. Jacobs on his Writing Process

Prof. Steven Jacobs has worked in the Department of Religious Studies for nearly two decades now. As a professor and the Aaron Aronov Chair of Judaic Studies, Dr. Jacobs spends his time lecturing, researching, and especially reading and writing. Beyond his focus in biblical translation and interpretation, Jewish-Christian relations, the Holocaust, and historical and contemporary genocides, Prof. Jacobs has written and edited numerous books and articles across varying subject matters (with one work that was even translated into Japanese and Arabic). Continue reading