Dr. Edith Szanto joined REL just this past August, coming to us after working for several years at the American University of Iraq, in Sulaimani. Now partway into her first semester, she’s been teaching an introductory course on Islam and, in the Spring, will be teaching REL 100 Introduction to the Study of Religion along with an upper-level seminar on the way Islam has been conceptualized in Europe and North America. Thanks again to REL grad Andie Alexander and REL […]
New Hire in REL at UA
The Department of Religious Studies, in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Alabama, is very pleased to announce the hire of Dr. Edith Szanto. She begins at UA in the Fall semester of 2019, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor, with expertise in the area of social theory of Islam. Dr. Szanto has been teaching in the Social Sciences Department at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, since 2011. She received her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies […]
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. […]
Outlawed Violation of Human Rights or Protected Religious Practice?
Given the prominence of debates over classification in my classes I’m always on the look-out for a good e.g., something useful in getting us thinking about the interests driving classification systems and their practical effects — and, perhaps, illustrating how naming something as religion plays a role in all this. […]
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Religious Studies in the Time of Trumpism
When I heard Donald Trump’s speech on Monday I realized that Trump’s rhetoric presents the scholar of religion with a crossroads. Scholars of religion have to make a decision about how to engage Trumpism. […]
“I belong to no religion. My religion is love”: Sufism, Religious Studies, and Love
By now you’ve probably heard about the theme for next year’s American Academy of Religion (AAR) annual meeting, revolutionary love, and the controversy surrounding it. Some of my colleagues, Russell McCutcheon and Merinda Simmons, have written about it, and the Bulletin for the Study of Religion is posting a series of responses. Revolutionary love, or any kind of love, has not been considered the purview or state of being of all people. Scholars have played an important role in using […]
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In Support of a Speaker’s Practical Interests
Did you catch the story, the other day, about Republican Presidential candidate, Ben Carson, and a campaign speech he gave in Iowa City? He distinguished between calling Islam a religion and classing it as a “life organizing system.” […]
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Should Sunday Schools Be Registered with the Government?
The head of the British government’s Ofsted — the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills — Sir Michael Wilshaw, was on the radio the other day, discussing a variety of things that scholars of religion might find interesting. […]
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Are you American American?
By Mary Read-Wahidi Dr. Read-Wahidi has been an instructor for REL 100 online course since 2013. She received her PhD in Biocultural Medical Anthropology from the University of Alabama in December 2014, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University. She works extensively with Mexican immigrants in rural Mississippi on projects related to devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and health-related disparities. Currently, she is involved in a USAID-funded research project aimed at empowering women smallholder farmers and improving household […]
God Bless America
By Katie Brinser Katie Brinser is from Lindenhurst, IL. She is a senior majoring in International Studies and Finance with a minor in Arabic Language and Culture. This post was originally written for Eleanor Finnegan‘s REL 370 class In September, Pope Francis visited the United States and became the first pope to address the US Congress. In his address, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of social responsibility and political activity. He called on the American people to “serve and promote […]