In the Limelight

rameynewslettersnipTo view an enlarged pdf file of the
pictured article about Dr. Ramey, click here.

Did you catch this article featuring Dr. Ramey and his research in the recent College of Arts and Sciences newsletter “Celebrating Excellence” (Vol. 5, No. 1)? If not, you can pick up a hard copy in our office, or click the link above to read it online.

What’s the Point?

15628288442_6ec7bf0571_zAs discussions about the relevance of what we do in religious studies, and academia in general, have become more common lately, my own emphases have coalesced around the skills that the humanities help scholars (whether students or faculty or interested blog readers) develop. And that emphasis on skills is not limited to our work in the classroom.

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Rethinking World Religions with Dr. Ramey

rel102snipHave you heard of our REL 102: Religions of the World course? Well, Dr. Ramey teaches it each fall, and in it he puts his own spin on the typical World Religions discourse. Watch the video below as Dr. Rollens asks him a few questions about the class and his approach to the material. Continue reading

A Good Book with Prof. Ramey

ramey book 2

The next video in our A Good Book series has been uploaded! The fifth episode of our second season features Prof. Steven Ramey and his discussion of Gyanendra Pandey’s book The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India.

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

Is This Really a College Town?


The label “college town” can produce a variety of expectations. Having spent several years attending UNC Chapel Hill, my expectations of a college town derive from some specific observations. When I traveled to Ithaca, New York, at the end of September to participate in Cornell University’s South Asia Program Seminar, the plane trip heightened my expectations for a thriving college town, with a professor sitting beside me and another seated in front of me, and someone reading a journal article across the aisle. After landing, though, the trip from the airport to my hotel was a surprise. With the two-lane roads, fields, and a one-lane bridge over a river in a steep gorge, the trip did not include the lively environment that I expected. I encountered no sign of the student culture and businesses catering to them. My expectations and my initial observations did not match.

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The Politics of Misconceptions

meditationIn a recent blog post, my colleague, Mike Altman, makes a crucial point; after quoting a site that describes early European scholarship on Buddhism as being based on earlier “misconceptions, he writes: Continue reading

3rd Annual Dinner at Dr. Ramey’s

rameydinnerAs they have for three years now, Prof. Steven Ramey and his wife, Terra Rodgers, hosted the final RSSA dinner for the department. From the homemade Indian food and desserts, to the South Indian coffee after dinner, and the wonderful conversation in between, it was a fantastic night! We even had a few musical performances from Raj and Han, Dr. Ramey’s sons, as well as our own Zach Price.

rameydinner4There was a fantastic turnout from students and faculty to family and friends—quite an event, as always!

rameydinner3We definitely had a lively crowd with too many conversations to keep up!

rameydinner1So a BIG thanks to Prof. Ramey and Terra Rodgers for welcoming the Department into their home for a fantastic dinner and evening! A great way to end the year!

(And, I think 3 makes it a tradition…))

The Relevance of “Church”

512px-NYC_IRS_office_by_Matthew_BisanzIn our classrooms, we often discuss the challenge of defining categories like religion or the sacred. While those questions sometimes appear quite abstract, separated from the issues that intersect with daily life, the relevance of such analyses can be particularly relevant. An NPR story last night on Daystar, a “religious TV network”, focused on questions of categories and their practical implications. In short, since Daystar classifies itself as a church, a classification that the IRS accepts, the TV network does not have to report its finances publicly or account for how it spends the donations, reportedly averaging $35 million annually, in the ways that non-church non-profit organizations must. So, being classified as a church has significant advantages. Continue reading

“Would You Still Call Yourself an Asianist?”


In December 2013, Prof. Russell McCutcheon sat down with Prof. Steven Ramey to discuss how Ramey’s work on Asia has transitioned in the past several years. While he still focuses on Asia in much of his work, “… a shift in research focus from inter-religious cooperation to diaspora religion, eventually studying south Asian communities in the U.S. south, led the way to a far broader interest not only in social theory but in the practical implications of categorization for creating identities.” Continue reading