Matching Items (17)

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Staying Jewish in America: 19th Century German-Jewish Migration

Description

Between 1820 and 1875, the United States saw a surge in German-Jewish immigration. This wave of immigration brought Jews that were eager to adapt Judaism to their modern lives in

Between 1820 and 1875, the United States saw a surge in German-Jewish immigration. This wave of immigration brought Jews that were eager to adapt Judaism to their modern lives in a rational and accessible way. The challenge in America, however, was maintaining the desire to be Jewish and practice Judaism within a societal context that did not require them to be Jewish. The adoption of Reform Judaism in the 19th century amongst German-Jewish immigrants helped these new immigrants remain faithful and proud to be Jewish in within their new American lives. Furthermore, Reform Judaism helped these determined Jews balance their Jewish identities within the context of American society and culture.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Modernity, science, and the making of religion: a critical analysis of a modern dichotomy

Description

This project examines and challenges the West's generally accepted two category approach to the world's belief systems. That is, it will deconstruct the religion / science `paradigm' that has

This project examines and challenges the West's generally accepted two category approach to the world's belief systems. That is, it will deconstruct the religion / science `paradigm' that has developed over the past two centuries. It will argue that the dichotomy between the two categories was created by modernity for the purpose of establishing an exclusive view believed to be based on knowledge. This exclusive view, philosophical naturalism (science), was set in opposition to all alternative views identified as religion. As the exclusive view, though constructed on a defective foundation of knowledge, philosophical naturalism, nonetheless, became the privileged interpreter and explainer of reality in the academy of the Western world.

As a work in the area of epistemology and the philosophy of religion, this project will challenge philosophical naturalism's claim to knowledge. The approach will be philosophical and historical critically assessing both modernity's and postmodernity's basis for knowledge. Without a rational basis for exclusive knowledge the popular dichotomy dissolves. The implications of this dissolution for `religious studies' will be addressed by offering an alternative scheme that provides a more plausible way to divide the world's belief systems.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Noaidi - the one who sees: bringing to light the religious experience among the 17th-18th century Sámi

Description

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view such practices and beliefs through an Descartes-Cartesian, objective-subjective lens. This thesis develops a more accurate, intersubjective paradigm that is used to illuminate more clearly the religious workings of the 17th-18th Century Sámi. Drawing upon the intersubjective theories presented by A. Irving Hallowell, Tim Ingold and Kenneth Morrison, ethnographic examples from the writings of early Lutheran missionaries and priests demonstrate that the Sámi lived in a world that can be best understood by the employ of the categories of Person (ontology), Power (epistemology) and Gift (axiology).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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"Weeping For Her Children:" Spatial Constructions at the Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch

Description

The traditional site of Rachel's Tomb is located just south of Jerusalem on the border of Bethlehem. In recent years, Rachel's Tomb architectural appearance and cultural significance have shifted dramatically

The traditional site of Rachel's Tomb is located just south of Jerusalem on the border of Bethlehem. In recent years, Rachel's Tomb architectural appearance and cultural significance have shifted dramatically in the last two decades and the Biblical figure of Rachel has evolved in the Jewish imagination as a figure "emplaced" there as well. The original stories that have drawn visitors to the site have developed from Biblical and Rabbinic texts, yet contemporary visitors to the site have their own perspectives and stories to tell, grounded in religious tradition, nostalgia, and current political and social realities. At the traditional site of her tomb, Rachel has served for at least the last century as something like a "patron saint" for Jewish women's domestic issues, but her intercessory abilities have recently been expanded. Her special relationship to Zionism through her connections to the Biblical notions of Jewish "return" and end-times "redemption" have been recast to fit contemporary political viewpoints and contestations. In addition, she has developed into a kind of national "mater dolorosa," representing the collective grief for deaths through acts of political violence, particularly women's deaths. This project traces the ways in which current narrative and praxis at the traditional site of Rachel's Tomb have developed as well as the ways in which current perceptions of the site-and Rachel as the cultural figure associated with the space-draw upon temporally-situated interpretations of her textual tradition, as well as affective discourse and collective cultural memory.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Last Rights in Six Key Narratives: Autonomy, Religion, and the Right to Die Movement in America

Description

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this thesis is to identify the key determinants of changes in the public’s perception and the historical and legal context for the current laws that govern the

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this thesis is to identify the key determinants of changes in the public’s perception and the historical and legal context for the current laws that govern the Right to Die in America. At its essence, the Right to Die Movement can be summarized in six selected narratives that were performed, told, debated, or reported for the public throughout history. Each of these six stories was presented with the most effective communication technologies available to the narrators in their respective eras.

The thesis includes an original research study assessing the impact of a social media phenomenon on the Right to Die Movement. While the Brittany Maynard Farewell video may not have been solely responsible for the surge of public support for MAID, it certainly captured the sense of autonomy and individual rights Americans believe they have in 2014 and continuing at least through 2019. This belief in autonomy and individual rights influenced the American sense of who owns their bodies and who can control their deaths after they are given terminal diagnoses. The first key narrative introduced Natural Law and the Natural Rights that proceed from this universal law. The second opened up communication about death. The next three demonstrated to Americans what legal rights they had and which were withheld by tradition and law. The last narrative captured and embodied the American sense of autonomy and individual rights that a majority of Americans now feel they possess. The laws and policies that have resulted from the Right to Die Movement both define the boundaries of autonomy and construct an evolving understanding of human freedom.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The development of Iraqi Shiʼa mourning rituals in modern Iraq: the ʻAshurā rituals and visitation of Al-Arbʻain

Description

This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on

This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on my visit to Iraq. The study lasted almost ten weeks, to include the two events under discussion: `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain, in Karbala of that year. This thesis argues that the mourning rituals of `Ashurā and the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain contribute to the social or individual life of Iraqi Shi'a. They also make significant contributions through creating a symbolic language to communicate for the community, as well as communicating with their essential symbolic structure. Second, the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain is one of the most significant collective mourning rituals, one that expresses unity and solidarity of the Iraqi Shi'a community, and helps them to represent their collective power, and maintain their collective existence. This study uses two of Victor Turner's tripartite models. For `Ashurā the rite of passage rituals is used, which consists of the separation, margin, and re-aggregation phase. Through this process of entering and leaving time and social structure, it helps in changing the social status of the participants. The other model used for Al-Arb`ain is pilgrimage as a social process, which includes three levels of communitas: existential, normative, and ideological communitas. The Shi'a in Iraq are holding a position similar to Turner's notion of communitas since they are living within a society that is Muslim and yet even though they are a larger population of the society, they still become marginalized by the Sunni population socially, economically, and politically. Social relations and links play a significant role for Shi'a in `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain as a reflection between their social status as an undefined communitas and the general structure of Iraqi society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Son salutations: Christian yoga in the United States, 1989-2014

Description

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the physical and mental elements of yoga practice are made safely secular by disassociation from their ostensible religious roots. Commonly deployed phrases, "Yoga is not a religion," or even, "Yoga is a science," open a broad invitation. But the very need for this clarification illustrates yoga's place in the United States as a borderline signifier for spirituality. Vocal concern by both Christians and Hindus demonstrates the tension between perceptions of yoga as a secular commodity and yoga as religiously beget. Alternatively embracing and rejecting yoga's religious history, Christian yoga practitioners reframe and rejoin yoga postures and breathing into their lives of faith. Some proponents name their practice Christian Yoga.

Christian Yoga flourishes as part of contemporary religious and spiritual discourse and practice in books, instructional DVDs, websites and studios throughout the United States. Christian Yoga proponents, professional and lay theologians alike, highlight the diversity of American attitudes toward and understanding of yoga and the heterogeneity of Christianity. For religious studies scholars, Christian Yoga advocates and detractors provide an opportune focal point for inquiry into the evolution of spiritual practice, the dynamics of tradition, experience and authority, and the dialectic nature of evolving cultural attitudes in a religiously plural and complex secular environment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Drenched in the Blood of the Lamb: James Baldwin, Religion, Violence, and Marginalization

Description

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was one of the most well-known African American fiction and nonfiction writers of the twentieth century. Throughout his life and career, he earned a worldwide reputation as

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was one of the most well-known African American fiction and nonfiction writers of the twentieth century. Throughout his life and career, he earned a worldwide reputation as a respected novelist, memoirist, and essayist who contributed to a wide array of artistic movements and intellectual discourses. Many scholars have noted the particular African American religious and cultural influences upon Baldwin’s work. More recently, scholars have additionally noted the importance of Baldwin’s globally-engaged thought and internationalist life. Throughout all of his work, Baldwin wrote extensively on the subject of religion. This dissertation posits the topics of religion, violence, and marginalization as integral to his nonfiction writings and speeches, particularly after 1967. As such, it argues that Baldwin in his early career established four distinct discourses on morality, evil, scapegoatism, and purity that he came to connect in his later writings on the intersection of religion, violence, and marginalization. Within these writings, Baldwin also displayed a rigorous engagement with multicultural and multireligious artistic and literary canons, along with the evolving academic study of religion. Therefore, not only should the intersection of religion, violence, and marginalization be a central consideration for Baldwin scholarship, but scholars of religion and violence in particular would benefit from engaging Baldwin’s addressment of this intersection.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg and the encounter with American Jewish identity

Description

Over the course of more than half a century, Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg has developed a distinctive theology of intra- and inter-group relations. Deeply influenced by his experiences in the

Over the course of more than half a century, Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg has developed a distinctive theology of intra- and inter-group relations. Deeply influenced by his experiences in the Christian-Jewish dialogue movement, Greenberg's covenantal theology and image of God idea coalesce into what I refer to as Hybrid Judaism, a conceptualization that anticipated key aspects David Hollinger's notion of Postethnicity. As such, Greenberg's system of thought is mistakenly categorized (by himself, as well as others) as an expression of pluralism. The twentieth century arc of social theories of group life in America, from Melting Pot to Postethnicity by way of Cultural Pluralism, serves to highlight the fact that Greenberg is better located at the latter end of this arc (Postethnicity), rather than in the middle (Pluralism). Central to Greenberg's proto-postethnic theology is the recognition of the transformative power of encounter in an open society. Greenberg's ideas are themselves the product of such encounters. Understood fully, Hybrid Judaism has great relevance for American Jewish identity in the twenty-first century.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The history of niddah in America as social drama: genealogy of a ritual practice

Description

Since the 1960’s and 1970’s, ethnographic research on Jewish menstrual rituals known as niddah, Taharat HaMishpacha, or Family Purity has associated their practices with religious behavior. Much of this research

Since the 1960’s and 1970’s, ethnographic research on Jewish menstrual rituals known as niddah, Taharat HaMishpacha, or Family Purity has associated their practices with religious behavior. Much of this research organizes around questions of women’s agency within ostensibly patriarchally constructed religious practices that carry the potential to oppress its women practitioners. This premise is built upon a number of implicit assumptions about the history of today’s niddah practices: that niddah is observed exclusively by Orthodox Jews; that increasing rates of niddah observance correlate exclusively with the trend toward stricter observance levels among the Orthodox since the 1960s; and that this increasingly strict observance itself reflects a reactionary trend among the Orthodox community (a.k.a. tradition versus modernity). All these assumptions currently circulate, in various degrees, among the American Jewish lay community and are shared by a significant number of congregational rabbis. Until the 1990s, no history of niddah existed to either support or refute these assumptions. I initially intended that this project would provide future ethnographers with a comprehensive history of niddah in America during the past one and a half centuries. I engaged Victor Turner’s theory of Social Drama as a framework for understanding this history as a socio-cultural process, rather than as a series of less than related events. However, this study h*as resulted in the identification of many more specific assumptions about the decline and revival of niddah observance in the twentieth century, which are not supported by the scant evidence available. These challenged assumptions beg new directions for research; a thorough reworking of the history of niddah in America; and a fresh look at the literature advocating niddah produced in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This genealogy as Social Drama presents niddah in twentieth century America as undergoing periods of crisis, negotiation, and reintegration. This drama was triggered by late nineteenth century concepts of religion, body, and ritual that undermined and ruptured the integrity of niddah as a bodily religious ritual practice. Niddah’s twentieth century social drama culminated in fresh articulations of a unique Jewish sexuality and Jewish marital ethic.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016