“Religion" is simply a class of human activity; but "a religion" is typically a set of social formations in which some elite group, through their political formations, their writings and iconic art, claims that a certain population forms some kind of social unity. Among other problems, the failure to distinguish between religion as a human cognitive-practical phenomenon and "religions" has led to the minimization or exclusion by scholars of family and household religion; the religion of women, children, and slaves; so-called magic and sorcery; and any religious behavior that did not fit the legitimized descriptions and prescriptions of social formations called "religions”
Stanley Stowers in a piece called “The Religion of Plan and Animal Offerings Versus the Religion of Meanings, Essences, and Textual Mysteries”
literally the smartest two sentences I’ve ever read on this tension between different modes of scholarship, practice, and just plain thinking about (R/r)eligion(s). ever.
9:45 am • 24 septembre 2013 • 3 notes
i think my prof for that christian thought on blood class is like disappointed in me
cause like the whole REL department like to make conjectures about what religion, if any, I practice/believe in/favor. and i’m pretty sure he and his husband who are both christian studies/theology people were team AVERY IS CHRISTIAN. but like…i BLEW UP on this piece by someone i didn’t fully understand because i ABHORRED the way he took on some damn good shit and then at the end just kind of went…well jesus ya know? and i’m like no….no i don’t know.
at any rate. he said something like “so you like your christian thinkers in a little box underneath the religious studies thinkers. and it’s funny because all the secular thinkers think they’re smarter than the religious ones and vice versa.”
and he sent me a piece he wrote about reading theology in a religious studies class.
and like……UGH. i think he hates me now.
~*religious studies major problems*~
11:38 am • 11 septembre 2013
here’s something that’s been on my mind
take a seat cause it could get bumpy
so those of you who’ve been following me for a while probably know that i’m a religious studies major. if you didn’t know that, now you do. that basically means a lot of things to a lot of different people and within the discipline you can focus on a lot of different shit.
well my focus ending up being on interreligious dialogue (and gender stuff but that’s a different story). So I, as someone who is not a part of an “organized religion,” (which is in and of itself a contested term), do tend to make comments on religious groups I’m not (read: no longer) a part of. Mainly I talk about Christianity SOMETIMES and usually neither in an extremely bad or an extremely good light.
What I will NOT talk about and what I would urge MOST PEOPLE IN MY POSITION TO NOT talk about is Islam. You can study Islam if it interests (and it is indeed fascinating), but what you cannot do that we (atheists? agnostics?) tend to do with Christianity, is insult it. Do not take stabs at Islam and enter into conversations on here between Muslim folks about what is haram and what isn’t, or about modesty and the pillars and all of that stuff. Because it’s not about you. Islam isn’t in power and we do NOT feel its effects everyday like we do with Christianity. So to be critical of Islam is to be critical of a small group of people in U.S. (not that small, but still) as if they deserve the disproportionate attention.
Here’s the thing. Christianity is in power. And it will be for the foreseeable future. So we can shit talk and commiserate about how it sucks and it’s oppressive because it can be. But Islam has no such power outside of Muslim groups. Islam affects Muslims, and one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s MUCH more private and less evangelistic than Christianity is in the U.S.
So leave Muslims alone on here okay? This is me talking specifically about people trying to argue with practicing Muslims about their own religion obviously I don’t even need to say that if you’re saying fucked up shit about Islam like a lot of mass media is then fuck off.
Just some thoughts on it. That’s also why you don’t see me talking about Islam though I do study it in some small part.
5:50 pm • 30 mai 2012 • 9 notes
Anybody else seen “The Adventures of Felix” also known as “Drôle de Félix”?
English: I have to write (well I’ve chosen to write) an essay analyzing the mythic narratives at play in the movie. Such as the whole idea of his taking the trip to what he sees as his origins (his father’s home) to meet the dad he never knew and who never wanted to know him. For this rough draft I get to do a “quick and dirty” interpretation and then point out what points I’d need to research to gain a fuller understanding of what’s at play (like looking into responses to diagnoses of HIV, responses to unemployment, more history of the Franco-Arab rapport, and I am even gonna try to read Le rose et le noir this supposedly great book on the gay rights mvmt in France). I just want someone to talk to about the movie, to bounce ideas off of and perhaps gain clarity and “agree/disagree” on some specifics with.
Français: Moi, je dois écrire un rédaction à propos de ce film et je veux mettre les éléments mythiques au centre. Par exemple, je vais analyser l’idée de voyager ou bien prendre une voyage comme une réaction à la mort d’un parent, de devenir chômeurs, à un diagnostic VIH (ou un échec du traitement du VIH), et des choses comme ça. Mais je veux parler avec quelqu’un sur mes idées en ce qui concerne l’intrigue, l’ambiguïté des questions de race et la sexualité, et les personnages et comment ils deviennent parties de sa famille choisit. Je peux vous parler en français si ça marcherait mieux ou on peut parler en anglais.
1:39 am • 21 février 2012
a short and overly-emphatic rant about religion (and when i say religion i don’t just mean christianity)
So I’m watching Criminal Minds, one of my favorite shows, and it’s one of my favorite episodes. The one about the supposed demonic cult in a small town where the sheriff’s son ends up being the murderer.
What’s irking me is that satanists and atheists are often conflated, and further LeVeyan satanists are often confused for theistic satanists. FURTHER, the practitioners are not allowed the same spectrum of religiosity as say Christians. People only hear atheists or satanists (which to a lot of people they hear as the exact same fucking thing), and they don’t think “Oh, I wonder how seriously they take that?” they think “This person must be evil.”
Consider this, Christians are allowed to be “christian” and not take their personal religious convictions as seriously as other Christians. They’re allowed to just believe and not do much about it. And they still get the signifier Christian. But atheists and Satanists aren’t afforded that. Being satanist, whether theistic or LeVeyan, or atheist is something you can be accused of.
Speaking further about accusation, people treat Muslims in a similar way. I can’t speak nearly as much to this type of treatment because I’m not Muslim, though I’ve been Christian and atheist (and in some ways new wave - Wiccan, satanist, etc.).
But all of this is bullshit. It is frustrating to see symbology like pentagrams, upside down crosses (which is an also gravely misunderstood symbol, that is used in many ways), etc automatically being signifiers of either fashion forward-ness (OH so cute), or grounds for legitimate accusation of immorality, unethical behavior, and suspected criminal acts.
7:00 pm • 30 décembre 2011 • 10 notes
anybody know of graduate schools where I could do dual work in French and gender studies and potentially leave with a Master’s in both?
Generally joint master’s or joint doctoral programs are with JDs but pardonmyfrench FUCK law school.
really though could use some help.
i’m finishing an undergrad in religious studies, gender studies, and french
and i want something to use them all.
i heard about an MA program in franco-arab studies like an hour away from me!
but then i lose the gender studies stuff and idk if i want to teach french for the rest of my life…
11:51 pm • 20 décembre 2011 • 9 notes
Okay so this is me trying to prepare for a panel I organized
on queerness and religion
or queer studies and religious studies
or queerness and faith
here’s my rant so far?
not sure what to call it…i’ve got a chunk of time to talk about queerness and my roommate has some time to talk about religious studies and then how the two affect one another
so any suggestions would be more than welcome
When we hear the word queer, we might think about the way it’s used as a slur against people who aren’t straight right? It’s got this history of a negative connotation and we tend to think it’s a bad word. But there are a lot of people, myself included, who use this word as a means of identifying themselves. History tells us that the word originally meant “strange” or “unusual” or even “out of alignment” and it later took on a different meaning. It was used to refer to inappropriate social behavior and that is perhaps why it came to refer to effeminate males who were receivers (read: bottoms). Strangely enough, the “givers” were called “straights.” And now with this history in mind, we can see how easy it was for the word to become a slur used against gay men in particular. Well it has since gone through another semantic shift. Now, we use it to define the space out of heteronormativity, or really anything that doesn’t follow the rules of sex, gender, sexuality, etc. The idea is that it exists without the same labels as “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual” and it isn’t stuck in the idea of a gender binary either, hence its appeal. It is often preferred by activists who think that queer folks need that space outside of heteronormativity, and homonormativity, in order to be able to exist with a way to identify themselves, but without limiting themselves to strict notions of gender, and sexuality. There is often tension between what we’d call LGBT and Queer communities because, to put it bluntly, oftentimes LGBT communities are considered too whitewashed, too assimilating; they want to be like straight folks. Now, this isn’t to say that queer is perfect, and LGBT is bad. Quite the contrary, in fact, some LGBT communities have better and more inclusive ideas of gender and sexuality than some Queer communities do, but the fact that there is this semantic distinction that some of us use says that there is still work that needs to be done. LGBT communities and LGBT outreach has done great work in becoming more inclusive and thus some communities and outreach programs, like our own, have chosen to include Q for Queer in their acronym. This means that queer work is being done and people are starting to pay attention. With all that being said, there are a couple of things that will become important for the rest of our discussion, and for our later panels, next semester. Specifically, the idea of identity politics is important. What that means is that ways in which people choose words to identify themselves and communicate pieces of who they are to other people. Within identity politics there’s an idea of intersectionality, which essentially means all the different social markers that we tend to notice, whether because they’re visible or chosen or they impact one’s daily life, like race, nationality, SES, gender, sex, sexuality, etc intersect on the same body or person and affect their lives at the same time as the others. It basically means okay I’m not just queer, I’m also American, and white and male, so in those ways I am privileged even though I may be oppressed systematically for being queer.
3:15 pm • 14 novembre 2011 • 2 notes
My intro paragraph
Two saints, Bernard of Clairvaux and Symeon the new Theologian are perhaps the quintessential representatives of their monastic traditions, Cistercians and Byzantines respectively. While both come from different social contexts and different time periods, their work occasionally overlaps to interesting effect. Saint Bernard wrote a series of Sermons on the Song of Songs and Saint Symeon wrote a series of Divine Hymns that focuses on the same Scriptures in a few places. Specifically, these overlaps are found in the first, second, third, and fifth books of the Song of Songs. The goal of this paper is look at these overlaps and analyze where the two do similar and different work with their close readings of these bits of scripture. The two saints use the Song of Songs to construct their personal theologies about the relationship between the monk and Divine, but in different ways. Bernard’s model for the relationship between monk and the divine involves a trans-gendering of the monk from male to female, whereas in Symeon’s model, both Christ and the monk remain male. While they differ in their treatment of the monk’s gender role, both models cite an erotic text, and use erotic language, to characterize the ways in which the monk comes to know God through what reads like sex.
could be shitty….
4:53 am • 12 octobre 2011 • 27 notes
Dude I forgot how fucking good Russian Circles is.
Seriously. This music is propelling me forward into doing my paper. I just have to do some more close reading and extracting my thoughts into a separate document. Then I can actually starting structuring my paper and then writing it.
It’s due at 5 PM tomorrow via e-mail. I have class from 10-12 and tutoring on campus from 1-3. I hope to have a printed copy of EVERYTHING to take with me and dissect when I leave for class. So I can spend the last two hours after tutoring on editing the shit out of it.
Luckily my professor won’t get offended by the fact that I’m going to
inadvertently paint Bernard of Clairvaux as a proponent of BDSM and Symeon the new Theologian as a homoromantic asexual that has sex with God to please him.
Yep. Not using those modern terms because they’d be anachronistic, but that’s essentially what I’m doing.
11:27 pm • 11 octobre 2011 • 5 notes
My secondary (and perhaps tertiary) response to that post
TO ALL PEOPLE WHO ARGUE ABOUT ON CHRISTIANITY ON TUMBLR:
please stop constructing this dichotomy between ATHEISM and CHRISTIANITY because it only furthers the ethnocentric belief that we have developed in the West that Christianity (and if not merely Christianity then all three of the Abrahamic religions) IS RELIGION and vice versa. Religion isn’t only fucking Christianity (or Judaism or Islam).
TO EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO LEARN A LITTLE SOMETHING:
play this fucking game right here. no it’s not spam i swear to god. it’s sporcle. and this game is great. and if you can win it without cheating, then awesome. if you can’t then perhaps you’ll take a nerd leaf out of nerd book and read up on the inevitably unfamiliar things.
here or try this one
3:21 am • 8 août 2011 • 51 notes