Back to the Basics

skillz

We’ve been working for some time, here in REL, to shift attention from the data to the skills — did you ever notice how our Department logo steers clear of a kaleidoscope of world religions symbols and, instead, focuses firmly on the place where we do our work?

Alabama logo

That wasn’t an accident. Continue reading

Rant, Screed, or Valid Critique?

The Study of JudaismDictionarily, the difference between a screed and a rant is the difference between written and oral discourse. What joins them together is a certain angry compulsion to “get the word out”, “wake up the lethargic” and/or, not without a certain brazenness, “right the wrong”. All-too-often, the words chosen are themselves hostile, and, rather than engaging the reader or listener, they serve to close the very doors they were originally intended, perhaps, to open.

Not so with Professor Aaron Hughes’s latest commentary on the, for him, sad state of Judaic Studies, my own subfield in the academic study of religion. Hughes, Ph.D. Indiana University and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Rochester, wrote a piece “Jewish Studies Is Too Jewish” in The Chronicle Review of The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 24, 2014, and which, in many ways, was an all-too-brief summary of his recent book The Study of Judaism: Authenticity, Identity, Scholarship (Albany: Suny Press, 2013; 1672 pages). Both the book and article have evoked fascinating responses from, among others, Michael Satlow (Brown University), and Zachary Braiterman (Syracuse University). More on this in a bit. Continue reading

Isn’t That Special

Picture 5Did you see the post from last year at The Chronicle‘s site, on widespread dissatisfaction of mid-career profs? I’d not, so thanks to a Facebook friend for re-posting it the other day.

The researcher who conducted the survey of over 13,510 faculty comments: Continue reading