Prof. Newton reflects on his approach to teaching the Bible in a public university. Study religion and find out about the Bible in Culture here, part 1, and in future posts.
One of my aims in my Introduction to New Testament course is to lead students in thinking carefully about the actors and drama represented in the text. As Adele Reinhartz notes, when our explanations employ terms like “Pharisee,” “Jews,” “Samaritans,” or “Romans” too assuredly, we probably have more questions to ask about what’s at play. Just as a quick point of comparison, we wouldn’t be so cavalier using terms like “the Blacks,” “the liberals,” or “the South,” especially in mixed company, right? So what is to be gained by taking these ancient typecasts at face value and without qualification?
We spend a lot of time time complicating the idea of identity. In fact, using the comparison above, students seem to have little trouble recognizing the notion of sacrosanct identity as a politically-loaded packaging of what Jean Francois Bayart termed, “operational acts of identification.” But this takes practice. Part of thinking about the “applications and traditions” associated with New Testament texts is considering the work these terms do in various first century Mediterranean scenarios.
Last week, the Department of Religious Studies hosted its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at Gorgas Library. Students from Religious Studies courses collaborated with advisors on written projects before presenting their work at the event. The unique topics, challenging question-answer portion, and free coffee made for a refreshing Friday morning. Professors, alumni, MA students, and undergraduates used social media to keep up with the event.
Yesterday was REL’s 6th annual undergrad research symposium, with six presenters and two of our grad students moderating. While some of the students are majors in REL, others carry out their work all across the university, though they’re all in our classes and so all of them are mulling over what it means to study religion in culture — something our Department been experimenting with and trying to model for almost 20 years. Continue reading →
Join us tomorrow morning, Friday Feb. 22, for our 6th annual undergrad research symposium. It starts at 9 a.m. in room 205 of Gorgas Library (on the main floor). We have 6 students presenting their own original work (mentored by REL faculty), on two panels, and two of our M.A. students are presiding.
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.
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 →
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.
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: