Have you seen this video, about giving a genetic test for ancestry/origins to a group of people who each seem to think they’re pure blood?
Sure, it’s basically an ad for a Copenhagen-based travel website, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
See what you think. Continue reading “Clash of Classifications”
Have you been following the ongoing debate about whether Britain should stay in the European Union? There’s a referendum coming up (on June 23) and discussions of economic impact, should it leave or stay, are often cited.
But there’s also arguments based on immigration — whether pro or con. Continue reading “We’re All From Someplace Else”
Have you heard?
There’s a new theory as to where the term “eskimo” originated.
Click the above image to read the brief article, but here’s a snippet: Continue reading “Names and Things”
Did you catch this spoken word piece, by rapper Prince Ea, that was making the rounds online a couple moths ago? (It’s apparent support for the notion of being post-racial received its share of criticism, by the way.) Continue reading “Who We Truly Are?”
This semester I’m teaching a course on the uses of anachronism in the study of the ancient Greek world, one such anachronism being the concept of religion itself (for it is hardly a local term in the ancient Greek world). Last week, just before class, I happened to stumble across an article that made the rounds on Facebook entitled “Mysterious Chimpanzee Behavior May be Evidence of ‘Sacred’ Rituals.” The title of the article was enough to catch my attention: “mysterious” along with “sacred rituals”? Definitely this was something that I could share with my students. Continue reading “Making Meaning”
This semester I’m teaching an introductory course on the Study of Religion, that is, looking at scholarly definitions and scholarly approaches to the study of religion. We’re exploring among other things, together with my students, questions like what is the study of religion? What is at stake in naming/defining/classifying things in this or that way? Although this early in the semester one question that prevails is: Continue reading “Now You Have Taken It Too Far”
I had the good fortune the other week to do a virtual class visit, via Skype, with Brad Stoddard’s students at McDaniel College. To get things going, one of his students asked me a question; given that they’d read a little of an intro book I wrote, that’s concerned with issues surrounding defining religion, it concerned how I define religion. Continue reading “What’s Your Definition of Religion?”
Robert Dear’s attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs just over a week ago and the shooting in San Bernardino last week have brought the question of who is identified as a terrorist back into the limelight. Lots of people have highlighted how the ethnicity or religious identification of the attacker has often influenced whether the attacker is identified as a terrorist or a mentally disturbed individual in a lone wolf attack. The Daily News cover following the San Bernardino shootings (4 December 2015, pictured above) illustrated this critique by identifying Ronald Dear, Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza, and James Holmes as terrorists, as well as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. In this cover and statements from figures like Mike Huckabee (calling Dear’s actions “domestic terrorism”), the critiques of the reluctance to apply the terrorist label to white Christian attackers have won a victory, of sorts. Continue reading “Expanding the Terrorist Label”
Elections in Myanmar have been in our news recently — in fact, their first open national election in a quarter century. Depending how they turn out (something that will be evident by the time this post hits tomorrow, presumably), Myanmar might be in our news even more, especially since their constitution currently outlaws the frontrunner from even serving as president. Continue reading “Everything Used to Be Named Something Else, No?”
The ease with which identity is presumed to be an inner trait projected outward is pretty easy to document, which makes critiquing it something less than a challenge. For example, I thought about writing a post on the new film “Inside Out” and the popular folk understanding of identity as being an internal quality only subsequently expressed outwardly, such that the social interaction is the effect of a prior and private sentiments.
But that just seemed too easy.
And, besides, the film seems kind’a fun. Continue reading “Look How Tall You Are!”