It’s a busy week ahead

With spring break drawing to a close we’ve got a full week ahead of us:

(1) Sarah Griswold will defend REL’s first M.A. thesis; it takes place Monday at 1:30 in Manly 210 — all faculty and grad students are invited, along with a small number of B.A. students who the faculty may have invited.

(2) Our 5th annual research symposium takes place all Friday morning, upstairs at the University Club — all majors and minors are invited, along with the faculty of course; it starts around 8:30 am or so, with coffee, tea and breakfast snacks, before the first panel gets going, and we’ll have lunch after its over. Thanks to our M.A. students, who will help to record it (for a future podcast) and also chair the sessions. (See who will be presenting.)

And (3) an incoming MA student, Savannah Finver, is flying in from New York state for a few days, to visit campus for the first time — say hi if you see her. (We have 3 confirmed new grad students starting in the Fall, with one part-time student joining them and possibly an additional full-time student as well.)

See you at Manly Hall — and I hope you’ve had a good week.

Research Suggestions, #48: To Cover or Not to Cover?

Have you been following the new U.S. President’s first overseas trip–including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Italy…?

Many news sources have commented on the fact that (as evidenced in the above photo), while in Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump, the First Lady, and her step-daughter, Ivanka, did not cover their heads (as is customary for women there) while in Vatican City, when visiting with the Pope, they did. Continue reading

Coming Attractions: REL’s Undergrad Research Symposium 2017

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Those who have been here for the past few years might know that REL instituted its own undergraduate research symposium — an annual event that’s now going into its fourth year. (This is quite apart from UA’s campus-wide event — a venue where REL students have also excelled, by the way.)

This year it will be organized, once again, by Prof. Bagger, and will take place on March 29, going from about 9:30 am until 12:30 pm, in Gorgas 205. It is part of our 50th anniversary celebrations — more on that soon….

If you’re interested in presenting your original research at this event, research carried out in an REL class, then the first step is for you to talk to your REL professor about how your paper could be revised for the occasion. Papers must be approx. 10 minutes in length.

There’ll be more news about this event in the future, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. And we hope to make a booklet, like last year, with a sample of our students work, that we’ll once again mail out to people around campus and also to alumni and friends of the Department throughout the country (last year’s is pictured above) — as an example of the interesting work being done by our students.

Want a copy of last year’s booklet?
Just ask at the REL main office.

REL Majors Present Research at the 2016 UCRA Conference

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Wednesday is the 2016 UA Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Conference (UCRA) and we are proud to have 3 REL majors presenting their research this year: Aubrey (Liz) Long, Sarah Griswold, and Sierra Lawson. Here are their abstracts:

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.52.42 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.52 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.59.54 PMThe full program for the conference is available here. Great work!

10 Tips for Attending an Academic Conference from REL Majors

This past weekend a group of REL faculty and majors traveled down I-20 to Atlanta to attend the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), the regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Through the magic of Twitter, here is a list of tips for the next time you attend an academic conference. Continue reading

Classroom to Conference: REL Majors Presenting Their Research

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REL is very happy to announce that two of our students have been accepted to present their research at the Southeastern regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion in March.

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Jared Powell will be presenting a paper titled “And the Beat Goes On: Imaginings and Retellings of Han Shan by Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac.” The conference paper began as a project in Dr. Ramey‘s REL 419: Tales From Asia course. In the paper, he analyzes the ways in which Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac–two Beat Generation writers–translate and retell the poetry and life of Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan. He argues that in their works, Snyder and Kerouac create an imagining of Han Shan as an ascetic Buddhist ideal that champions typical Beat emphases of playfulness, spirituality, and counterculturalism

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Sarah Griswold’s conference paper is also Asia related. Titled, “There is a Well at Cawnpore: The Politics of Commemoration in Colonial India,” her paper analyzes a memorial at a well in the Indian town of Cawnpore. The well stood as a memorial of the Siege of Cawnpore during the 1857 revolt under British colonial rule. The conference paper began as a project in Dr. Altman‘s special topics REL 483: Religion in Colonial India course (that will soon be a regular course offering in the department).

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You can find the full conference program here. You might even notice a few other REL names on the schedule.

Do you have a paper from a course that you’re proud of? Are you interested in sharing your work beyond just your professor? REL offers many opportunities to share your undergraduate research, such as this blog, the REL Honors Research Symposium, the UA Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference, and the regional AAR meeting. Talk to your professor about how you can present the great research you are doing in your courses!

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All Systems Normal

Picture 9 Yesterday we had our second annual undergraduate research symposium, which featured the work of four current students — many of whom are double majors — and a grad of our Department. We instituted this event last year and held it at the university club at the same time as our senior seminar took place, inviting those students as the audience. But this year we decided to try holding it in a much larger venue and to advertise it among all of our classes, perhaps making it an extra credit opportunity. It worked really well; we had quite good attendance, the papers were all wonderful, and the event nicely modeled (for any student thinking about majoring in the study of religion) what sort of work you can do in the academic study of religion. Continue reading

REL Makes an Appearance at the Undergraduate Research Conference

ua researchOn April 17, 2014 the University of Alabama held its 7th annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference which allows undergraduates, who are working with a faculty advisor, to present either a research paper or poster presentation. This year we had a few students from the Department presenting their research, and they did a fantastic job!

Emily Vork, a triple major in Religious Studies, History, and American Studies was presenting a research poster, “Individuality of Slaves in Runway Advertisement” for the History Department.

uaresearch3And Leighton Carlock, an English major, presented her “Myth as Illusion” research project that she’s been working on in her independent study with Dr. Ramey (pictured below with Leighton).

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uaresearch1Yesterday evening they announced this years winners, so congratulations to Leighton for receiving the award for International Focus (Humanities & Fine Arts)! And congratulations to Meghan Stallworth, an REL minor, for winning 1st place with her Psychology research in the Poster Presentation for Social Sciences!