Classification Matters: Mindfulness in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 6.14.28 PM

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now completing her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

A course I am TAing for this semester opens each class with a mindfulness exercise for calming and finding one’s center. It starts, “Plant your feet firmly on the floor, adjust your posture,” moving eventually to noticing breathing patterns and trying to adjust them accordingly. As I joined the class a week late, I was unaware that this was part of the routine. Sitting there on my first day, I was a bit astounded that this was actually happening in the classroom. I should note that I was not inherently against it, but rather classifying it with any sort of religious ritual that might take place. At that moment, all I could think about was how this could not only be considered religious by some but also potentially could be making students very uncomfortable (whether there was a statement on day one of voluntary participation, I don’t know). However, having lived in Boulder for a year and a half, I have grown accustomed to Boulder’s affinity for Eastern religious practices or rituals — whatever those may be — and their pervading daily life. Continue reading

The Effects of “Bad Religion”

150903082812-01-kim-davis-0903-exlarge-169-1

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Many of you may be following, or at least aware of, Rowan, KY county clerk Kim Davis denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the recent Supreme Court ruling (on June 26, 2015) that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States. In the days following Davis’s refusal to cooperate, I have seen a lot of “bad religion” claims being made on social media and news media sites — i.e., claims by some that she exhibits an improper or inauthentically religious position. It has also since come out in the press that Davis has been married four times and had an affair with one man whom she eventually married. So what strikes me as interesting are the types of reactions and articles I have seen while scrolling through Facebook, seeking to invalidate her: she’s a hypocrite, she’s playing fast and loose with the Bible, her “personal beliefs” are infringing on others’, as a divorcée and adulterer she has no moral high ground — the list goes on. Continue reading

“You don’t know what that means!”

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.27.41 AM

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012 and is working on her MA in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Several weeks back, I came across College Humor’s “If Gandhi Took A Yoga Class” video. In the clip, they have Gandhi challenging “western” yoga practices and understandings. Take a look… (Warning, there is some foul language)

Continue reading

Game of Traditions

tradition

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Is It Really About the Color?

tumblr_nkcjuq8Tdr1tnacy1o1_1280

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Last night, as I was gearing up for TGIT, my friend texted me a link to this Buzzfeed article that started going viral. The article featured a photo of a dress (pictured above), that in particular lighting and with a particular perspective, can be viewed as either blue and black or white and gold, or some variation thereon. It’s all over social media, with people posting their opinion versus their friend’s, etc., etc. The original post appeared on Tumblr, and as such, has some amusing comments, namely calling on NASA to resolve the issue.

But the big question of the night: Is the dress blue and black or white and gold? Continue reading

“It’s what makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 12.58.16 PM

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

With Thanksgiving upon us, television commericals have been selling holiday food and related items. The closer Thanksgiving got, more and more ads for sweet potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, etc., starting popping up on TV. That’s no surprise, right? It’s a day of family, eating, football, eating… Did I say eating? So a lot of preparation goes into planning and hosting Thanksgiving dinner. It can be somewhat chaotic. We’ve all had some version of the “I forgot the cream of mushroom soup!” moment of running to the grocery only to find they’ve sold out.

But of the commercials I’ve seen, the one that sticks in my mind the most is the Stouffer’s pilgrim commercial. Take a look…

Continue reading

“It’s Andie, with an ‘ie'”

anzie

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She currently works as a staff member in the Department as a Student Liaison and filmmaker, and will begin working on her M.A. this fall 2014 at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

I go by “Andie.” I say “go by” not to distinguish my name from my legal name “Amanda” but to draw attention to the identification practices wrapped up in naming. Let me preface this a little… Growing up, I was determined to be called “Amanda.” I’m not really sure why, to be honest, but I decided that was “my” name. (Let’s just skip over the year when I was insistent on being called Ariel — yes, like the Little Mermaid…) However, around the age of 12 or so, I decided I quite liked the name Andie and wanted nothing more to do with Amanda. I despised being called Amanda and was adamant about my name being Andie. I can only retrospectively assume that this change was due my 12-13 year old self trying to feel out who “I” was. I suppose I clung to that, and I would become very frustrated with people who misspelled my name. Continue reading

UA at SECSOR

This past weekend, several faculty members and one former student presented research and networked with colleagues at the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

1925235_10203301602841661_105698854_n

Andie Alexander, a recent grad and office worker extraordinaire, presented a paper entitled “Shifting the Focus: Understanding the Teller Behind the Tale” for a Method and Theory in the Study of Religion undergraduate research panel.

Dr. Finnegan presented a paper entitled “The Digital Discourses of Muslim Environmentalist,” which tracked the construction of the terms environment, environmentalist, and Islam. She was also appointed co-chair of the Islam section.

1743572_10203300706419251_1702080847_n

To help lead a conversation on Ronald Neal’s Democracy in 21st Century America: Race, Class, Religion, and Region, Dr. Simmons presented her thoughts on authenticity and identity.

On Saturday, Dr. Ramey finished his tenure as the President of SECSOR.  He also shared many of the exciting things that we do in the department, like buttons, blogs, and Facebook as part of “What Will You Do With That? A Workshop on Encouraging Majors and Enrollments.”