Note from the Field

The following is a recent post, to the Religion in South Asia list, from Prof. J. E. Llewellyn (reprinted here with his permission).

19 December 2018

Sisters and brothers,

Since I have carped about a JAAR cover photo in the past on this list, I want to commend to your attention the cover photo of the issue that I just received in the mail (86/4 December 2018).

Though I am no art critic, I think is a striking photo. It is divided into two panes by a trishul. The main figure in the right pane is identified in the photo credit as sadhu. The subject of the left pane is a woman who is sitting on the ground and bowing at the sadhu’s feet. The sadhu’s pane is hazy; he is covered in ash, but there is also smoke, doubtless from a fire, but one that is not visible in the photo. The woman’s frame is clear. The woman herself reaches across the barrier between the two panes, with her left hand resting the on sadhu’s left foot. I could go on about the composition of the photo, and the compelling information it conveys. Continue reading

The Ordinary as Exotic

Abnormal_BrainLately I’ve been paying some attention to studies of the so-called paranormal or the non-ordinary — this recent podcast for example. For these seem to be fairly recent categories that are growing in popularity among scholars of religion; given the critiques that have been leveled at the category religion over the past few decades, it appears that what many of us might have once called religion or religious experience is now just being classed among an even larger group of curious things — such as “special things,” as Ann Taves does — all in contradistinction to the normal or the ordinary. Continue reading

A Good Alabaman

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Allie Rash is a senior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She hails from Franklin, TN but calls North Carolina and Kansas home as well. She wrote this post for Dr. Finnegan’s class, REL 370: Hijab, Hip Hop, and Halal.

Gerald Allen is the State Senator from the 21st district of Alabama, representing Hale, Pickens, and Tuscaloosa counties.  Before his election to the State Senate, Allen served four terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.  Politically, according to his most recent ad in May, he is a ‘real conservative.’

Continue reading

A Good Book with Prof. Altman

orientalism book

The next video in our A Good Book series has been uploaded and is ready for viewing! The third installment of our newest series features Prof. Mike Altman as he discusses Richard King’s  book Orientalism and Religion, including the experience of meeting the author himself, who gave our annual Aronov Lecture last year. Enjoy!

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

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