A Response to “Responsible Research Practices,” Part 12: Highest Standards

highdiveThis is an installment in an ongoing series on the American Academy of Religion’s recently released draft statement on research responsibilities.
An index of the
complete series (updated as each
article is posted) can be found here.

The thirteenth and final item included in the draft document reads as follows:

higheststandardsAt this point in the series there’s not really all that much left to say. For in my reading, there’s too little  specificity to the document’s claims to assist us in decoding its technical terms. So I’d argue that advocating that we “adhere to the highest standards” can’t, by definition, be operationalized.

Or better put, it can be operationalized, but in far too many ways, many of which will no doubt be contradictory. Continue reading

Keeping it Private — or Not

protestA recent development, reported here, nicely illustrates the socio-political function of privacy, e.g., the (once?) widespread notion that those claims on behavior that were said to be premised on religious belief are merely a private affair concerning faith, sentiment, etc. For now this once common presumption is being troubled — inasmuch as the U.S. Supreme Court seems to be gradually dismantling it, in favor of allowing (just some) such claims to warrant exemptions from federal law.

But once this notion is undermined, who can tell what else about the public domain will start to change, given how many interests are vying for a piece of that pie. Continue reading

“Are You Irish?”

kim

By Kim Davis
Kim Davis (pictured on the right) earned her B.A. in French and Religious Studies from the University of Alabama in 2003. She went on to get her Masters in French Linguistics and Literature in 2007 and a Masters in Secondary Language Pedagogy in 2010, both from UA. Kim now teaches French and Mythology at Tuscaloosa County High School.

It’s a question I have heard a lot in the ten years I have been a performer and teacher of Irish step dancing, and it’s always the first question people ask as if the reason I am dancing is to celebrate my long lost Irish heritage. You can probably imagine their cognitive dissonance when I tell them that I don’t know if I have any Irish heritage, I’m not interested in finding out, and I dance because I simply enjoy dancing. (I should also note that if the person is particularly prickly about my response, I work in the fact that I would go back to France before Ireland. That really befuddles them.) Continue reading