Culture on the Edge: An Origin Story

Last week, Professors Steven Ramey and Vaia Touna sat down to discuss their involvement with the Culture on the Edge research group and blog, along with their two book series. Though the discussion was intended to focus on Prof. Touna’s recent addition to the published series, it naturally led to a conversation on the implications of fabricating origins and identity.

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Knowing Your Roots

Last week I sat down to chat with Dr. Richard Newton, a faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies who recently joined us from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Originally from Texas, Professor Newton lived on each coast before making his way to The University of Alabama. This semester, he’s teaching a course on Islam, advising the Religious Studies Student Association (RSSA), and, next semester, will be teaching a graduate course on this history of the field along with an intro to the New Testament.

Dr. Newton’s work is interested in evaluating how cultural texts or scriptures, can inform a sense of individual and group identity. Currently, he is working on his first book, Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures, and hopes it will be available for purchase within the next year. Continue reading

Paradise Lost

hawaii

By Colin McElvenny
Colin McElvenny graduated from The University of Alabama in 2011 with a double major in Religious Studies and Psychology. Currently, he lives in Hawaii on the island of Oahu teaching biology and human physiology at Leilehua High School.

I’ll be honest. When I was first offered a position teaching biology and human physiology in Hawaii, a few thoughts came to mind instantaneously. The first being, “Thank god I got placed in paradise”. Quickly that notion was overrun by the idea, “I was a religious studies major, how the heck will I be able to teach biology and physiology?” Continue reading