You Are What We Say You Are

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Robert Scholl is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Middle Eastern Studies. Mr. Scholl comes from Norcross, Georgia. He wrote this post as part of Dr. Ramey’s course, REL 321: Religion and Identity in South Asia.

Identity is impacted greatly by those around you and how they perceive you. Due to this fact, both your own identity and your inclusion within society are strongly dependent on these labels used by society to define you. This is the case with the “terrorist” group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

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Judging the People Whom We Study

Picture 6Do you ever listen to “Interfaith Voices” on the radio or on the web? I find it to be a fascinating place to hear how scholars of religion (who often comprise the show’s guests and experts) try to represent their work to the wider public — a representation that’s generally lodged in all sorts of methodological and theoretical problems. Whether the issue lies in how these scholars go about doing their own academic work or, perhaps, in how they think they have to talk to non-specialists is, of course, something that would require more than just a brief blog post to investigate. (You should know, however, that my money is on the former.) Continue reading