On the Spot with Richard Newton

“On the Spot” backs members of Culture on the Edge into a corner to talk about their backgrounds, their ongoing work, and what might be gained by an alternative understanding of how identity works.

1. When people ask what you study, what do you tell them?

This is a fun question for me as a scholar and an advisor. Usually I tell people that I study “the anthropology of scriptures.” And as I tell students of religion preparing for job interviews, the response to the original question isn’t designed to satisfy so much as it is to peak the asker’s curiosity. I like to turn a point of information into a point of interest by pairing something presumably familiar (e.g. scriptures) with something presumably strange (e.g. anthropology). And in so doing, I hope to have provided an answer that is interesting enough that I’m granted the chance to elaborate.

If I’m successful at this, then I get to say how I’m interested in how and why some of the cultural texts people read also appear to read them back. We know people and social interests are at work in creating these media, yet we are also aware of instances where people relate to texts in and of themselves. What’s up with that? Quite a lot actually…. Continue reading “On the Spot with Richard Newton”

The Edge Makes a Class Visit!

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.44.51 AMThe Edge’s Monica MIller (pictured right) visited Prof. Richard Newton‘s REL 170 Signifying Religion: An African American Worldivew course at Elizabethtown College this morning via skype. After seeing her blog post “What Gang Do You Claim?“, Prof. Newton invited Miller to skype with his class to analyze the category of “religion” and theorize about the idea of African American religion(s) and identity formation using her blog post as a primary example.

As we’ve seen on Twitter, the class visit was a huge success! A big thanks to Prof. Newton for bringing the Edge to class!

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