Messing Up at Starbucks, or the Ritual Order of Choice

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I’m a regular customer at Starbucks. Several times a week, I walk into one, order a drink, wait for it, say thank you, and walk out. I’m sure many of you do the same thing pretty often, if not every day, without even thinking about it.

But I once failed miserably at this banal procedure. It was my first year in the US and I had just arrived from Japan, so many things were still new to me. But Starbucks was definitely not new. I had spent so many hours there studying as an undergraduate student in Japan that it felt like my habitat, even though I was now in Boston. I walked into one store and everything looked familiar – the menu, employees’ uniform, and interior.

“What would you like, ma’am?” It was my turn to order. “Café misto, please?” I answered (or something of the sort). Then the employee – a nice young woman – said something that I had never heard before: “holetoopercetskimhaffanhafforsoy.” Continue reading

“It’s Andie, with an ‘ie'”

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By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She currently works as a staff member in the Department as a Student Liaison and filmmaker, and will begin working on her M.A. this fall 2014 at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

I go by “Andie.” I say “go by” not to distinguish my name from my legal name “Amanda” but to draw attention to the identification practices wrapped up in naming. Let me preface this a little… Growing up, I was determined to be called “Amanda.” I’m not really sure why, to be honest, but I decided that was “my” name. (Let’s just skip over the year when I was insistent on being called Ariel — yes, like the Little Mermaid…) However, around the age of 12 or so, I decided I quite liked the name Andie and wanted nothing more to do with Amanda. I despised being called Amanda and was adamant about my name being Andie. I can only retrospectively assume that this change was due my 12-13 year old self trying to feel out who “I” was. I suppose I clung to that, and I would become very frustrated with people who misspelled my name. Continue reading

Can Anything be a Ritual?

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By Mary Rebecca Read-Wahidi

Becky is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and will graduate just as soon as she finishes writing her dissertation on the Virgin of Guadalupe. She joined the Department of Religious Studies as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Fall of 2012, and was immediately enamored by the charming atmosphere, lofty office space, and pencils with “religion in culture” printed on them.

Recently in Dr. Ramey’s “Introduction to Religions of the World” class he was covering a topic dear to my heart: rituals. After class, a student asked, “So, any prescribed action done on a regular basis would be a ritual?”  Good question! Would it? The line between what is a ritual and what is a mundane act can be fuzzy, especially when the concept is placed in a classroom setting. (Funny how the “fuzzyness” of those topics we discuss so confidently always comes to the surface in a classroom setting.) I tried to explain that maybe it depends on how important that action is to you, drawing on my extreme fondness for my morning cup of coffee. Continue reading