• Reading “The African American Bible” on Paper and in Class - The Journal of Biblical Literature recently published a series on ways that biblical scholars have engaged with #BlackLivesMatter in their work. Adele Reinhartz, the journal’s general editor, introduces the essays in this way: In this Forum, six scholars reflect on how racial violence and the movements that attempt to eradicate such violence intersect with the field of biblical studies, both…
  • Blessings:Reprise–Chance the Rapper, Religion, and the Senses - Students in Dr. Richard Newton’s Signifying Religion: An African American Worldview course were invited to employ tools and theories from religious studies to explore how meaning making works. Miriam Balasundram took a phenomenological approach to consider religion and the senses. She was taken by the rhythms of Chance the Rapper and reflected on what led her to…
  • Christian Support for the Black Lives Matter Campaign - Hannah Ciocco examines Black Lives Matter’s recent overtures among Christian communities, drawing parallels to the role of religion in the Civil Rights Movement. Ciocco draws upon the work of Broadcast Seeding guest, Drew G.I. Hart for insight on the role of religion in social activism and engagement.   “Every 28 hours, a black person is murdered…
  • A Passionate Education?: The Creation of Boko Haram - Sam Epps explores the formation of Boko Haram and the lesser publicized effects it has had on Nigeria. See also Garrett Clark’s work on the aesthetics of Boko Haram’s violence. Both Elizabethtown College students are working with Dr. Richard Newton to document Boko Haram’s violence in Nigeria and to analyze the discourse around its mediation.    Nigeria is a coastal country…
  • Boko Haram and the Aesthetics of Violence - Garrett Clark considers the overlapping sensory experiences represented by Boko Haram’s flags, arguing that this synesthesia facilitates deep psychological violence. See other posts in our series Words to live by: the ethics of grammar, Millennials and persuasion, scriptures in public school, and sexual rhetoric in the Hebrew Bible. Boko Haram deserted Damasak, the northern city…
  • Going through the Emotions: Islamic Calligraphy in a Public School - Richard Newton began our series, “Words to Mean By,” with a look at the inner workings of truth-making. Our next installment is a case study in the seemingly volatile nature of a text deemed “religious.” In the example below, parents at an American public high school balk at the secular study of Islamic calligraphy because the…
  • The Tenure of Scriptures: Interpreting Wheaton College (Illinois) - Do Christians and Muslims worship the same god? The answer matters at Wheaton, but why does the question?
  • Christianity Before and After Charleston - My friend and colleague, Amey Victoria Adkins, served up the commentary on Charleston that I needed to read. “Before I Wake” is live over at Syndicate Theology. It features one of the most vivid accounts of baptism in the Black Church tradition while contextualizing the role of race and Christianity in American life. Here are some…
  • REL 101 (WCH): Signifying Religion: An African American Worldview - What if the study of religion started with the African American experience? Instead of privileging a specific tradition, this course examines the history of a people who came to a new world compelled to quickly learn the significance of “religion” itself. We will follow along by plumbing the depths of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, listening to…
  • Beatdowns and Downbeats: America as a Hip Hop Nation–#EtownEngage - On January 12-13, Elizabethtown College hosted a teach-in called #EtownEngage. Over 20 faculty from across the disciplines opened their classrooms to the community and hosted discussions on issues related to recent events in Ferguson, MO, Staten Island, NY and elsewhere–a conversation pointed to by the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter. In REL 170: Signifying Religion: An African American…