What if we, as scholars, told the following narrative? In the first century there was a man named Jesus who invented a magical spool of invisible thread. He carried the spool with him everywhere he traveled as an itinerant preacher. When those who heard his message accepted it, he would magically partition the invisible thread, handing an end to each new follower. Jesus’ disciples each carried an end of this invisible thread, and everywhere they went they too distributed it. Like the loaves and the fishes Jesus is said to have multiplied to feed the masses, so was the thread multiplied and divided—like a complicated spider web—across the face of the ancient Mediterranean world. In fact, the thread stretched not only across space but across time as well, although it has been divided innumerable times over the last two millennia. Contemporary followers of Jesus in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches hold the thread today at its various temporal and spatial termini. Continue reading “Imagining Identity”
After quoting from Maria Iordanidu‘s novel, Loxandra (c. 1963)–a novel set in the early 19th century in the city then known as Constantinople–concerning an episode in which an otherwise unassuming shopkeeper is questioned by the protagonist as to whether he had participated in the massacre of Armenians–Jean-Francois Bayart goes on: Continue reading “The Alchemy of Circumstances”
Something interesting happened when famous comic bad boy Russell Brand showed up for an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and it’s been making the rounds online ever since. Hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the morning show is made of a roundtable of pundits and talking heads, mostly discussing politics and current events while making daily dips into pop culture. And while the co-hosts certainly have their soapboxes (Mika has famously made a second job out of railing against obesity, and Joe was a state representative, for crying out loud), they pride themselves on being serious reporters interested in providing a balance of perspectives when talking about an issue. Continue reading ““Anchors Away!: Or, Can the Subaltern Get a Soundbite?””
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.
Craig Martin recently joined the series editors for the Bloomsbury Advances in Religious Studies monograph series. Its volumes all aim to clarify the role and place of Religious Studies in the academy, with theoretical aspects underscored through their application to the actual study of religions, often in the form of frontier research.
The series considers books for publication that explicitly address issues of theory (whether explanatory or critique) and methodology (the study, not simply the use, of method) in the academic study of religion. The first volume contracted in the series is a retrospective volume celebrating MTSR‘s 25th anniversary.
An Idaho company has demonstrated the marketing power of a little religious studies knowledge, producing Jihawg Ammo, which is coated in pork-infused paint. The company asserts, “With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack.” The company tags the product “Peace through pork” because it “promotes peace through the natural deterrence of pork infused ballistic coating.” Continue reading “Marketing and Competing Essentialisms”