Tag: Meaning

The Cow Says Moo

To make the argument with students that language and identity are deeply connected historical phenomena — i.e., that what we designate as meaning results from the coordination of a variety of arbitrarily-related sounds and symbols that are themselves each arbitrarily assigned relationships with items in the world that strike our fancy. That’s how we know what a cow says and that they have something to do with farmers and milk and horses and barns and…. […]

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The Rabbi and the Lawyer

Khortlan Patterson is a Junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Religious Studies and African American Studies. She is interested in education reform and minority academic achievement. This post was originally written for Dr. Rollens’ course, REL 360: Popular Culture/Public Humanities. A Serious Man is a film detailing a series of unfortunate life events of a Jewish man, Larry Gopnik. Many of us find ourselves in similar messes where we look for or actively commission others, who we consider qualified […]

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Just Look at That Parking Lot

Catie Stewart is a sophomore at the University of Alabama from Madison, Mississippi. She is double majoring in English and Religious Studies and minoring in Psychology. This post was originally written for Dr. Rollens’ course, REL 360: Popular Culture/Public Humanities. I recently watched the film A Serious Man for REL 360, and as the plot unfolded, I found myself wondering: What is going on? The storyline is riddled with seemingly disastrous events that all lead up to the movie’s finish, which […]

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“It’s what makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.”

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? […]

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Self-Help Jesus in America

By Allie Rash Allie Rash is a rising senior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She hails from Franklin, TN, but calls North Carolina and Kansas home as well.  This Spring Allie completed an independent study with Prof. Mike Altman on ideas of self-help in American Protestantism. In this post she reviews the final book they read together, Kate Bowler’s Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. This post originally appeared on Allie’s independent study blog, Self-Help Jesus. […]

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Paradise Lost

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 […]

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“It Doesn’t Matter What I Say”

On p. 3, near the opening of the late Frits Staal’s classic essay, “The Meaningless of Ritual” (Numen [1979] 26: 2-22), he wrote: Contrary to how most of us see it, for Staal, ritual was not referential, i.e., it’s not that one does this because it means this or represents that. While the meaning surely comes later, in hindsight, often taught to us by others, when one is doing ritual one is instead obsessed with sheer form, not content; one […]

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Can I Order the Authentic Dish, Please?

By Wesley Davidson Wesley Davidson is a senior Religious Studies major and Judaic Studies minor from Dothan, Alabama. He plans to continue his study of religion in culture at the graduate level and is currently playing the waiting game after finishing the application process. Recently while perusing The Huffington Post I came across an interesting article titled, “10 Common Food Terms That Have Lost All Meaning.” The article’s main concern is how certain food classifiers such as authentic and natural […]

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