Humanities PhDs and the Academic Job Market: A New Podcast Series

Erica Bennett and Jacob Barrett, podcast series hosts

Over the summer Erica Bennett, now in her final year of our M.A., worked with a recent M.A. alum, Jacob Barrett (now in the first year of his Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill), on a four part podcast series, devoted to the academic job market and the variety of careers for which Humanities Ph.D.s are suited — if, that is, Ph.D. students and the faculty who train them see careers outside academia as relevant sites where their research skills can be applied. With his own doctoral degree now starting, and the challenges of the Humanities job market in academia all too obvious to him, these conversations on just what a Ph.D. prepares students for, the applicability of the degree in a variety of settings, as well as faculty’s and Departments’ need to see their work as preparing students for more than just possible employment as a professor, are pretty relevant for Jacob, as they are for anyone in his position.

So, based on the reception to a tweet this past summer by Bradley Sommer (about being newly on the job market), himself a recent History Ph.D. graduate, this new podcast series involved Erica speaking first with Bradley about his ongoing job search and then checking in with Pamela Gilbert (an English Professor at the University of Florida), in the second episode, on some of the wider factors that impact a faculty member’s ability to assist students to think about (and find) careers outside of academia. In episode three we meet Jared Powell, an REL alum who double majored in English, then earned an MA in English at the University of Alabama, and who recently left his Ph.D. in English at UNC — a decision involving concerns about the current academic labor market. The series then wraps up with Erica and Jacob hearing from Shannon Trosper Schorey, a recent doctoral graduate in Religious Studies, also from UNC, who has established a career for herself in the tech sector at Red Hat — Shannon is a strong advocate for Humanities graduate programs rethinking how they train their students and the future work they’ll be doing.

We hope the series is helpful to students and faculty alike —
all four parts are now posted on SoundCloud and
on the REL website.

Behind the Scenes of ‘Uncivil Religion’ with Our MA Students

A screenshot of the Uncivil Religion home page

In January the Department of Religious Studies, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, launched the digital project Uncivil Religion. Three MA students in our Department’s Religion in Culture program worked alongside Prof. Mike Altman to build the website for the project. In the latest episode of the Study Religion podcast, fellow MA student Erica Bennet sat down with those three students to hear about their experiences working on Uncivil Religion and what went into building the site. Give it a listen below or go find it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. And be sure to subscribe, rate, and review!

Continue reading

The Satanic Panic Did Not Take Place

Podcast promotional image for episode on The Satanic Panic

Christopher Hurt is an REL alum who works in tech in Los Angeles. He is best known for his work with the rock ‘n’ roll group, Jamestown Pagans.

I recently finished listening to a podcast called Conviction. I listened to the second season specifically. It centers on families affected by the Satanic Panic and since I’ve written about this before, and it’s a big part of my academic interest, I felt compelled to compose another piece. Continue reading

The Study Religion Podcast is now on Spotify

Did you know that we have a podcast called Study Religion? Well, we do. You can find it on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. But now, you can also find it on Spotify. We just added our podcast to their wonderful collection. So go find us wherever you listen to podcasts and catch up on some of our best episodes. Here are some ones to start with:

Continue reading

Need Something to Listen to During Your Holiday Travel?

The Study Religion podcast makes great holiday travel listening. We just released the third episode in our series titled “Making the Jump” that features interviews with people who made a big change in their academic career by taking a risk and trying something new. You can find all three episodes below or on iTunes or SoundCloud.

 

Continue reading

Study Religion Podcast: Making the Jump Part 2 w/ Shayna Sheinfeld

Photo of Shayna SheinfeldThis is the second in our three episode series that features interviews with people who decided to take a risk and make a jump in their careers. They found new ways to use their training in religious studies and made their own path. In this episode we talk with Shayna Sheinfeld about her work as an academic coach, what exactly an academic coach is, and how she found her way to her work.

 

Find out more about Dr. Sheinfeld and her academic coaching at shaynasheinfeld.com

 

Study Religion Ep. 10: Making the Jump Part 1 w/ Tenzan Eaghll

The Study Religion podcast is back! This is the first of three episodes that feature interview with people who decided to take a risk and make a jump in their careers. They found new ways to use their training in religious studies and made their own path. In this episode we talk with Tenzan Eaghll who teaches at Mahidol University in Thailand. Hear how he made the jump and landed halfway around the world.

 

The Sacred is the Profane

The other day I was looking at UVA’s podcast, now with several episodes (give it a listen), and couldn’t help but notice a nice example of a theoretical and methodological fracture point in the field, one which likely prompts people to pick a side when doing their work.

For although I agree that “the sacred is the profane,” Bill Arnal and I didn’t quite have this sense of the phrase in mind when picking a title for a set of essays that we collected together and published a few years ago. Continue reading

The Study Religion Podcast is Back!

Professor Tim Jensen sits in the REL seminar room.

It’s been a while but the Study Religion podcast is back! Go find us wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to subscribe, rate, and comment.

In this episode we welcome Prof. Tim Jensen from the University of Southern Denmark, the president of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). Prof. Jensen spent some time in conversation with our own Prof. Richard Newton and some of our MA students in Religion in Culture about how the academic study of religion looks from a global perspective beyond the Unite States.

Find all of our episodes and transcripts of each show at: religion.ua.edu/about-us/podcasts/

Study Religion Podcast: Episode 8 Guests

The latest episode of the REL podcast, Study Religion, is now available wherever you get your podcasts. This episode gives a glimpse into the guests we have had visit the department this past spring. Every year our department welcomes guests who come and give lectures or visit with faculty and students. This past semester we had two excellent guests visit the department as part of our lecture series. First, Dr. Elijah Siegler was our Zachary Day Memorial Lecturer and gave an excellent talk on religion in the films of the Coen Brothers. Then, Dr. Linell Cady came as our Aronov Lecturer. Dr. Cady spent time with a group of faculty discussing the current state and future of religious studies in higher education. She also delivered a wonderful lecture on spirituality, science, and secularism in America. This episode is a taste of these visits from our guests.