Study Religion: The Podcast Episode 2 “Turkey Ritual”

In this episode we think about the ways we categorize things as religion. The show begins with the ritual life of turkeys and what that tells us about the category “religion.” Then a few REL majors show us how the category “sacrifice” is all around us. Finally, host Michael Altman talks with Dr. Megan Goodwin (@mpgphd) about the new CNN show Believer and how religious studies can find a broader public audience.


Show notes:

Turkey ritual

Hubert and Mauss on sacrifice

Kathryn McClymond on sacrifice

Edward B. Tylor and William Robertson Smith on sacrifice

Believer on CNN


Profs. Altman and Goodwin’s twitter conversation about Believer

Megan Goodwin’s excellent new article

“An Intense Experience”

Readers in the US may have already seen the commercials for Reza Aslan‘s upcoming series, Believer.

It starts Sunday March 5 on CNN at 10 pm (eastern time). Continue reading

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


Picture 7Have you heard of FOX News host, Bill O’Reilly’s new book, Killing Jesus: A History? Seen the “60 Minutes” interview? Continue reading