Recent Posts

April 15th, 2015

There is such a thing as a tech chaplain

posted by Shamika Goddard

It is my birthday, and I have taken an emergency house call from one of my professors. She offers to buy me lunch, and then we go into her dining room. She sits in front of her new laptop and explains the demonic forces that prevent her from using email. She has repeatedly tried casting out the spirits of the classroom projector, which refuse to bend to her will every now and again. I begin by asking the professor to take a few deep breaths before we jump in. We tackle these problems, then others that she remembers along the way. I never touch her device: since I won’t always be around, I want her to get comfortable with doing the troubleshooting herself. Every once in a while, I remind her to breathe and to read whenever a box pops up, before closing it. At each step I explain what is happening, what she is doing, what to anticipate, and that it is all invariably okay. By the end of our session, we have managed to tame her mailbox, organize her data, and give her a foothold over the machine. Though she is hard-pressed to admit it, she feels better about using her computer. We agree to make a second appointment.

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April 9th, 2015

eBay and the historical imagination

posted by John Lardas Modern

March 24th, 2015

A modest defense of the listicle

posted by Patton Dodd

March 20th, 2015

Religion for commoners

posted by Nathan Schneider

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Featured

April 20th, 2015

The Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy (and what you need to read to understand it)

posted by Alexander Thurston

Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants,” published in The Atlantic in February 2015, sparked a massive debate. The controversy concerns whether the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is Islamic or not, and especially whether ISIS accurately understands Islam’s “medieval tradition”whatever that may mean. Wood correctly argues that ISIS cannot be understood without reference to its understanding of Islam, but he also impliesdisturbingly, to manythat ISIS’s understanding of Islam is just as representative of the religion as any other view would be.

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April 6th, 2015

Blasphemous cartoons: The old threat of secularism and the new threat of Islam

posted by Yvonne Sherwood

Moses Getting a Back ViewAround Christmas time, in the heart of Europe, furor broke out over blasphemous cartoons. The newspapers and public opinion were split. Was the blasphemer a public martyr for “liberty of the Press, or the right of free speech and free thought”? Or did the cartoons represent a “gross and gratuitous insult to the religious convictions of others”?

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Featured discussion

The state of religion in China

This discussion brings together scholars to understand the relationship between the state and religion in China—past, present, and future.

Featured publication

Saving Sex

Amy DeRogatis’ new book documents how American evangelicals talk about sex and sexuality, and how sexual practice is used as a marker of distinction from “secular” American culture.

Featured interview

American civil religion in the age of Obama

Joseph Blankholm talks with Philip S. Gorski about his forthcoming book on civil religion, Obama’s messianic burden, and the significance of Émile Durkheim.