Notes from the Field: Nones and the AAR

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The rationale motivating and grounding the panel, “Discussing the ‘Nones’: What They Say about the Category of Religion and American Society”, which was part of the Religion and Popular Culture Group in the American Academy of Religion meeting in Baltimore in November 2013, was to initiate a conversation over and about what the construction of the category “Nones” says (or doesn’t say) about the category of religion and religion in American society.

The label “Nones” typically refers to those who report “no religious affiliation” on surveys, with recent reports emphasizing a growing number of those counted as “None,”—1 in 5 by an October 2012 Pew Forum Report. Here, the Edge‘s own Monica Miller and Steven Ramey reflect on their participation in this panel, which also included Sean McCloud (UNC Charlotte), Chip Callahan (Missouri) and Patricia O’Connell Killen (Gonzaga). Continue reading “Notes from the Field: Nones and the AAR”

Seeing Things Unseen

An ad seen on a table in the book display at the American Academy of Religion meeting in Baltimore:

notseenIf we’re defined by our other, then I’d say that this is what Culture on the Edge is not? For we instead start with the assumption that claims that something can’t be seen can themselves be seen and heard and felt, etc., etc. Continue reading “Seeing Things Unseen”

I Like the Edge

IkeontheedgeWe’re all near the Edge–but how close are you?

If you get an Edge button in Baltimore, during late-November’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature, then we’d like to see you proudly wearing it (only photos that grandma would approve of, please).

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So send us a pic, tell us who you are, what you’re studying/working on, and what school you’re associated with (are you a student? faculty? internet start-up billionaire looking for a good investment?), and we may just post it on our Facebook page (you can tag yourself) or here on the blog.

Attach a digital pic and send it to edge@ua.edu.

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Crossin’ the Ts…

university (66) Animated Gif on Giphy

Yes, some of us are off to Baltimore in a few days, for a conference.
So we’re putting the final touches on our papers.

Get Poked

equinoxLooking for a Culture on the Edge button while at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature next week? Then consider stopping by the book display and finding the Equinox Publishers booth. There’s bound to be some there.

buttonsfromtheedge2And while you’re there, consider whether your own work fits the larger project that we’re working on, here at the Edge. We have a book series with Equinox (edited by our own Steven Ramey) and we’re eager to consider proposals, for both monographs and essay collections, that explore the ongoing work of identification across a variety of historical and social sites.

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Using Four-Lettered Words: Part One

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“What Justice Kennedy has undertaken in this initial statement of fact, or more properly, of data, that is to say, facts accepted for purposes of the argument…”

–  Jonathan Z. Smith, “God Save This Honourable Court” (Relating Religion, p. 382)

While she was on our campus a few weeks ago, I noticed Monica Miller using the word “data” to refer to the things that she studied — things such as African American religion, scholars of African American religion, rap lyrics, and rap artists — and so I asked her a question or two about what she thought was entailed in that word and why she seemingly opted for it rather purposefully in both her public lecture, the evening before, and then during an informal lunchtime discussion with our students the next day. And then, just the other day, Leslie Smith posted on this site, using this four-lettered word in her post’s title — a use that did not go unnoticed by some on Facebook who soon were debating what was termed the dehumanizing effects of such objectifying terminology. Continue reading “Using Four-Lettered Words: Part One”

Regional AAR President

edgeaarFor 2012-3, Culture on the Edge’s Steven Ramey was President of the Southeastern Region of the American Academy of Religion (part of the Southeast Commission on the Study of Religion, or SECSOR). Visit our blog, Claims, to watch his Presidential Address.

Accidental Favorites

Steven Ramey was the 2012-13 President of the Southeast Region of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Here he gives the Presidential Plenary Address for its annual (held in South Carolina in March of 2013) entitled, “Accidental Favorites: The Implicit in the Study of Religions.” Although not referencing Culture on the Edge explicitly, the themes Ramey discusses are directly related to many of the group’s–as Jonathan Z. Smith named them in his own career–persistent preoccupations.

Presidential Plenary Address for the 2013 Southeastern AAR from UA Religious Studies on Vimeo.

(Thanks to Andie Alexander, a graduate of the University of Alabama’s Department of Religious Studies, for filming Steven.)