Commentary on BET News

betnews2Monica Miller‘s latest post on BET News reflects on how the ruling in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman trial potentially affects and perpetuates the public’s perceptions of delinquency, intelligence, etc., with regard to race and culture. Read her article, “After Trayvon: What’s Next?” here.

No Culture in the Cockpit Please!

“It is a common error to attribute this irreducibility of difference to the influence of ‘culture’, or more precisely to the exclusive relationship each individual is supposed to have with ‘his’ culture.”
– Jean-Francois Bayart, The Illusion of Cultural Identity

When unfortunate accidents happen, like plane crashes, people sit on the edges of their (cultural) seats to await the official word regarding how the mishap took place and what could have prevented such a casualty from occurring. This may be especially true when fatalities are involved. Unforeseen mechanical errors are a bit easier to swallow and stomach than outright human error and oversight, although human im/precision is already involved in ensuring that equipment works safely. Continue reading “No Culture in the Cockpit Please!”

BET News Post

betnewsIn her latest piece, Monica Miller discusses Dr. Carl L. Hart’s new book that addresses issues on drugs and society. Read her post “Commentary: The High Price of the War on Drugs” on BET.com here.

Marginalia Review of Books

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Monica Miller has recently joined Marginalia Review of Books as a contributing editor. Marginalia provides substantive reviews on academic literature concerning history and religion within various fields of study. Miller’s primary role will be helping to develop reviews, essays, and op-eds concerning the intersection of religion and popular music and also identity in the study of religion.

God of the New Slaves

filepicker_OG2K7IwZSumne2nleOBA_jesus_walks_kanyeIf you are waiting for Jesus’s second coming, today is the day, in the sonic form of Yeezus – Kanye West’s 6th solo album that has everyone talking, criticizing, buzzing, praising, and worshipping. Like the figure Jesus – and many scholars, I might add – Kanye is a master rhetorician (so don’t worry about his lyrics becoming flesh). He takes words, and twists and bends them into pliable strategies that more often than not work well for his market. He commands power and authority – not by virtue of what he claims, confesses, and professes – but rather, by using the pre-packaged power and authority that society has granted to particular words (and ideas) – like slave and god. Social theorist Bruce Lincoln reminds us that things such as authority are not entities unto themselves. Rather, they are effects that have to be authorized in particular ways across time and space. So what’s all the hype about? Continue reading “God of the New Slaves”

It’s Time to Be Honest With Lauryn Hill

Culture on the Edge participant, Monica Miller, recently posted a blog, “It’s Time to Be Honest With Lauryn Hill,” that concludes:

“Over the years, Hill’s lyrical lessons have jolted many from societal slumber and historical amnesia enough to make her a tour de force of the ‘conscious’ hip hop market. But Hill’s troubling portraits of lifestyles not her own are as problematic as the racism and capitalist systems she’s fought for so many years. As she tries to “…figure out how to pay her own tax debts,” may she also realize the expense imposed by her “existential catharsis” on LGBTQ individuals as they continue to fight for justice for their lives and partnerships. As we love to love Hill, let’s love her enough to be honest with her: Enough with responding to one social injustice by perpetuating another. You’re a better MC than that!”

To which Hill responded.

New Books in Religion: Religion and Hip Hop

edgemillerbookCheck out an online interview posted at New Books in Religion with Culture on the Edge’s Monica Miller, about her recent book, Religion and Hip Hop (Routledge, 2012). “She does not perform a theological or religious analysis of music or lyrics as a search for meaning but rather examines the material productions of Hip Hop culture and the manufactured zones of significance within various discourses.”

Culture on the Edge Podcast

relstproj2During its working session in Chicago, in November 2012, the members of Culture on the Edge (pictured below) took some time to record a conversation on identity creation and its study, for The Religious Studies Project (RSP)–a series of podcasts created and maintained by UK grad students that is devoted to the work of scholars of religion from around the world.

Click here to listen to our conversation.

Apart from thanking RSP’s Christopher Cotter and David Robertson for their interest in our work, we would like to thank Andie Alexander, then a student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, for assisting with the technology, and also thank the Department for supporting the group.)

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