“New Books on the Edge” with Russell T. McCutcheon

9781781790779 (1)Entanglements: Marking Place in the Field of Religion

You’ve contributed much to the discourse on theory and method in the academic study of religion over the years – can you take us behind the scenes with “why” this book now, and to what sorts of questions and/or critiques in the field you’re responding to in your push to show the manner in which the “academic” study of religion rightfully constitutes primary research on “real” religions?

For whatever reason, over the years some of my work has prompted replies from other scholars—sometimes substantive, sometimes dismissive or, on occasion, even angry. So I’ve had the luxury of writing responses or rejoinders on a number of occasions, but I’ve never done anything with these pieces—not that I ought to, but they tend to represent a part of the field that, I think, often goes unnoticed. For a variety of reasons I’ve turned into an essayist and I tend to gather up pieces periodically and then publish them as a collection—a genre I certainly didn’t invent and one that is not so distinct from a monograph as some might wish to think—and so the idea of collecting these responses, and then writing new introductions to each, contextualizing the occasion etc., seeing it all as an example of scholarly discourse at work, rather than a finished product, occurred to me about a year or so ago. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with Russell T. McCutcheon”

“New Books on the Edge” with Leslie Dorrough Smith

LS Book CoverRighteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America 

What sparked your initial interest in exploring what drives the “political power” of the New Christian Right (NCR) and Concerned Women for America (CWA)? How are such groups commonly approached and analyzed in scholarly discourse and the larger public imagination?

As with many scholars, I suppose, my interest in politically active conservative Christianity (a.k.a, the NCR) is at least somewhat autobiographical. I grew up in a social environment steeped in conservative evangelicalism, and so the claims made by these groups – namely, the valorization of the entire spectrum of conservative politics, including a religiously-rooted patriotism, traditional gender roles, and the superiority of the heterosexual, nuclear family – were not new to me.  In a very direct sense, then, my interest in these groups began when, as an undergraduate religious studies major, I was seeking to better understand the appeal of conservative evangelical ideas and their political impact. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with Leslie Dorrough Smith”

“K(no)w Where to Go”

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One can measure very neatly the white American’s distance from his conscience—from himself—by observing the distance between White America and Black America. One has only to ask oneself who established this distance, who is this distance designed to protect, and from what is this distance designed to offer protection?
-James Baldwin, 19655

I’m shocked, too.
I’m supposed to be locked up, too.
You escape what I’ve escaped…
You’d be in Paris getting f***ed up, too.
-Jay Z, 20116

Monica Miller has recently been award a Lehigh University Faculty Research Grant (Research and Graduate Studies) to conduct fieldwork on the topic of “K(no)w Where to Go: Diasporic Transatlantic Commuters and Escaping the Permanence of “American” Racism” which explores the social, cultural, economic and geographic options of African American expatriates living in Europe – a part of a larger book project she’s working on entitled, New Black Godz: Distinct Bodies, Religions of Distinction. Continue reading ““K(no)w Where to Go””

#edgeswitch

codeswitchThe latest Code Switching Workshop flyer now has the workshop program listed on it, so be sure to take a look! Also keep an eye out for live updates on our twitter feed @idendefying

(Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Edge Collaboration at Avila

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On Tuesday, 4 March 2014, Leslie Dorrough Smith (Avila University) hosted Monica Miller (Lehigh University) for a class discussion entitled “Why Be An Earth When You Can Be a God: Hip Hop, Religion, and Gender”, with an upper level gender course at Avila University (Kansas City, MO), and a public lecture entitled “Why Be An Earth When You Can Be a God: Hip Hop, Religion, and Gender” later that evening. The public lecture was on the lyrical imagination of emcees and Hip Hop artists alike has long focused on what some have called a “God Complex,” where such artists often refer to themselves as deities. This talk explores the changing dimensions and historical roots of Hip Hop’s “God Complex,” analyzes the rhetoric that positions “gods” as men (leaving women as representatives of “earth”), and considers what role gender and identity politics play in such an evolution.

(Click here to learn more.)

Code Switching at Lehigh University

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.03.56 PMOn April 14-15, 2014, Lehigh University will be hosting a Code Switching Workshop inspired by, and comprised of, Culture on the Edge‘s Monica Miller, Merinda Simmons, Leslie Dorrough Smith, and Vaia Touna. They will be joined by two other Lehigh faculty members: James Peterson, Associate Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies, and Jackie Krasas, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology and Director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The topic of code switching here at the Edge began last summer (2013) and then developed into a couple of blog posts (here and here).

Stay tuned to learn more
about the upcoming workshop…

 

Who Are You? I’m A Nervous Flyer

Airplane

Who Are You?” asks members of Culture on the Edge to reflect on one of their own many identities (whether national, gendered, racial, familial, etc.), theorizing at the same time the self-identification that they each chose to discuss.

Preparing for Departure: I Knew I Knew You!

I’m am extremely nervous flyer. Walking onto a plane – and preparing for the anxiety of the flight – I enact rituals of certainty. Such practices don’t begin on the plane. They commence in the airport once I’ve arrived at my gate. I might call them rituals of identification for in turning myself into data as often as I do when I’m enacting such practices, I am clear that such things rely on the strategies I enact in reading other people (for my own purposes) – i.e., ones that often involve strategies such as authenticity and strategic essentialism as I scan the crowd trying to take stock of the “who” I might be in company with on the plane. In being a nervous flyer and by reflexively examining my practices, I seemingly learn more about this thing we call identity – how I catalogue others for my own social interests (i.e., protection and safety) and thus, how others read me back. Continue reading “Who Are You? I’m A Nervous Flyer”

Behind the Scenes: A Conversation on “Code Switching”

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Back in late June 2013, three members of Culture on the Edge had a conversation on Facebook about the category “code switching” (nicely exemplified in the above Key & Peele skit, featuring Luther, President Obama’s “anger translator” [watch it below]), a conversation that later led to two blog posts on our site, referencing this conversation (here and here) and, ultimately, to Monica Miller conceiving of a workshop at Lehigh University, funded by a Collaborative Research Grant from its The Humanities Center — an opportunity that will involve Lehigh faculty members, James Peterson, Associate Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies, Jackie Krasas, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology and Director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, along with three of her Edge colleagues: Merinda Simmons, Leslie Dorrough Smith, and Vaia Touna — all of whom work on identity and language, but in very different domains and historical periods.

We hope that the following conversation — spruced up a bit for public consumption — helps to set the stage for some of the early thinking that may be in the background of the workshop, which takes place in April 2014 (more news on that coming soon).

6/29, 4:45pm
Russell McCutcheon
Ok, I have a query: it strikes me that, despite how many use it, “code switching” is a profoundly imperial category, one that perpetuates certain notions of race (when it is applied to studying some instances of African American English), while seemingly only describing them, yet no one realizes it.

What do you think? Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: A Conversation on “Code Switching””

The Love in Deconstruction

 DerridaAn Interview with Jacques Derrida” by Nikhil Padgaonkar

N.P.: Over the years, you have repeatedly defended the view that deconstruction is not an inherently negative term, that it is not to be understood as criticism or destruction. And indeed in an interview you gave in 1982 and which was subsequently published in Le Monde, you even said that deconstruction is always accompanied by love. Could you comment on this “love”. Is it the same love as in “philia”? Continue reading “The Love in Deconstruction”