A Good Book with Prof. Ramey

ramey book 2

The next video in our A Good Book series has been uploaded! The fifth episode of our second season features Prof. Steven Ramey and his discussion of Gyanendra Pandey’s book The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India.

A Good Book with Prof. Ramey from UA Religious Studies.

The Imagined Kashmir

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Anna Davis is a junior from Prattville, Alabama who is majoring in Geography and Religious Studies. She wrote this post as part of Dr. Steven Ramey’s course, REL 321: Religion & Identity in South Asia

The geographic area of South Asia has experienced a catastrophic series of floods in recent weeks. The region of Kashmir in particular has had a difficult time recovering from the floods in part because of the aid that was provided. People died during the floods and are now dying from disease spread by the floods. Many Kashmiris still refuse Indian intervention and relief. Food bags were dropped to the people, but the people chose to dump the food onto the ground.

Continue reading

3rd Annual Dinner at Dr. Ramey’s

rameydinnerAs they have for three years now, Prof. Steven Ramey and his wife, Terra Rodgers, hosted the final RSSA dinner for the department. From the homemade Indian food and desserts, to the South Indian coffee after dinner, and the wonderful conversation in between, it was a fantastic night! We even had a few musical performances from Raj and Han, Dr. Ramey’s sons, as well as our own Zach Price.

rameydinner4There was a fantastic turnout from students and faculty to family and friends—quite an event, as always!

rameydinner3We definitely had a lively crowd with too many conversations to keep up!

rameydinner1So a BIG thanks to Prof. Ramey and Terra Rodgers for welcoming the Department into their home for a fantastic dinner and evening! A great way to end the year!

(And, I think 3 makes it a tradition…))

The 12th Annual Aronov Lecture

aronovkingOn March 4, 2014, Dr. Richard King, Professor of Buddhist and Asian Studies at the University of Kent, UK, delivered his “From Mysticism to Spirituality: Colonial Legacies and the Reformulation of ‘the Mystic East'” as the Department of Religious Studies’ 12th Annual Aronov Lecture, named after the late Aaron Aronov — the founder of Aronov Realty and the person for whom the Department’s endowed chair in Judaic studies is also named. To learn a little more about Dr. King, take a look at his interview. Continue reading

Competing Representations

Nicole Goulet

T. Nicole Goulet is a Sessional Instructor at the University of Manitoba and Brandon University.  Having completed her Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba on textual representations of Sarada Devi, Dr. Goulet continues her research on the intersection of colonial politics and religious practice in India, with special reference to gender. After an online conversation about the recent Doniger/Penguin affair it was evident that she had something new to say about this episode and so we invited this post.

In the past few weeks, various groups, including scholars, media outlets, and members of the population at large, have weighed in on the Wendy Doniger/Penguin Publications case.  For those not in the know, Doniger’s almost 800 page tome, The Hindus, An Alternative History, will no longer be published by Penguin Books India nor sold in Indian book stores.  This after a four year legal battle with the Hindu nationalist group Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (Save Education Movement) spear-headed by Dinanath Batra, ended with the capitulation by Penguin Books before any court ruling was made. Media coverage has tended to focus on  the issue of freedom of speech in India, and the state of the publishing industry and liberal scholarship in general. Some Penguin authors currently published in India have requested their contracts be voided and their own publications pulped in similar fashion to The Hindus as protest. And on February 17th, the University of Chicago Divinity School sent a letter to the New York Times, signed by 43 various and unnamed scholars, as a defence of Doniger’s right to “freedom of scholarship and expression.” Continue reading

ar·ti·facts with Prof. Ramey

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Prof. Ramey kicked off our ar·ti·facts series in the Fall of 2012. Take a look at his video to see what artifact he shared with us… (And be sure to check it out next time to stop in to say hi!)

ar·ti·facts: A Tale of Cooperation with Prof. Ramey from UA Religious Studies.

Teach English, Celebrate Diwali, and Drink Tea

Kinnaur monasteryby Hannah Etchison

Hannah Etchison, a graduating senior majoring in Religious Studies with a minor in Asian Studies, spent six weeks of this fall in India, staying primarily at a monastery where she learned from the women staying there and helped them with their English. This is her last post on her India trip (at least for now). Don’t miss her previous posts about her experiences (Hannah Goes to India 1Hannah Goes to India 2iPhones, Monks and the Images We ConstructImmediate Relativism, Bonding with a Himalayan Spider).

Besides the all-too-frequent visitations from (supposedly harmless) Himalayan spiders, I spent my days in roughly a schedule as follows:

6-8am: wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, make bed, exercise, prepare lesson. It’s really cold in the morning.

8-9am: Breakfast. Normally spicy ramen noodles with fresh chapatti, or dahl (bean or lentil soup), or vegetables. Served with sweet tea and therefore my favorite meal. Continue reading

Bonding with a Himalayan Spider

Himalayan heights

by Hannah Etchison

Hannah Etchison, a graduating senior majoring in Religious Studies with a minor in Asian Studies, spent six weeks of this fall in India, staying primarily at a monastery where she learned from the women staying there and helped them with their English. Don’t miss her previous posts about her experiences (Hannah Goes to India 1Hannah Goes to India 2iPhones, Monks and the Images We Construct, Immediate Relativism)

I’ve been getting it a lot: “how was India?” I generally follow up with adjectives like amazing, incredible, life-affirming, or “the best place ever.” But I’d be more than happy to go into more detail, since I think at least some people are genuinely interested in what it’s like to teach English on a mountaintop Tibetan monastery to a bunch of Indian nuns. Continue reading

Immediate Relativism

Rorschachby Hannah Etchison

Hannah Etchison, a graduating senior majoring in Religious Studies with a minor in Asian Studies, spent six weeks of this fall in India, staying primarily at a monastery where she learned from the women staying there and helped them with their English. Don’t miss her previous posts about her experiences (Hannah Goes to India 1, Hannah Goes to India 2, iPhones, Monks and the Images We Construct)

Indian food is way better than Japanese food.

This Buddhist temple smells exactly like the temples in Japan. Continue reading

iPhones, Monks and the Images We Construct

tibet money

by Hannah Etchison

Hannah Etchison, a graduating senior majoring in Religious Studies with a minor in Asian Studies, spent six weeks of this fall in India, staying primarily at a monastery where she will learn from the women and help them with their English. This is her third post about that experience. See her first and second posts. 

Sogyal* struck up a conversation with me quickly. I had mentioned to another guest at the World Buddhist Centre that I was an English teacher.

“You’re a teacher? So am I.” He chimed in with clear but accented English. Continue reading