• Academic,  Current Events,  Musings

    The Populist Nationalist

    Over Memorial Day weekend in 2019, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C. The timing of the conference was particularly interesting given the meeting I attended — Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion. Who wouldn’t want to discuss populist politics and religion during a holiday weekend? One trend that I noticed in multiple presentations during the Global Populism meeting was that multiple populist movements overlapped with nationalist rhetoric. The Hindutva movement in India positions itself as the holder of the true Indian identity. In Hungry, President Orban centers Catholicism against Islam as the Hungarian culture. Brexiters want to make the UK “British” again. Lastly, Trumpian populism 100 percent…

  • Musings

    The Self in Study

    When the microphone and questions are turned toward the journalist or researcher they tend to cringe. It’s uncomfortable to be the object of study. In fact, many of us have been trained to believe that we are not a part of the study — the self must be aloof, detached, objective. Of course this mindset has shifted in some fields of work, including my own, but even those of us who champion self-reflective, feminist methods of positionality can be reticent to step to the other side of the researcher-subject relationship. Yet, that’s exactly what I had to do this past semester. I or more specifically my genes became the object…

  • Life in the Stacks,  Musings

    Spring Semester Resolutions

    A new year inspires polarizing sentiment in most people – some are excited and full of possibility, setting resolutions for themselves, while others are morose and know that any goals made in January will be ghosts by February. The New Year for academics, however, functions differently. Our new year is in the fall, but January does bring a new term. It’s the time to evaluate if you’re on track with the resolutions for research, time management, and teaching set in August/September. For academics, January is a midterm assessment. In my case the start of this term is a chance take a breath.

  • Life in the Stacks,  Musings

    Confronting an Academic Summer

    The end is nigh! The end of summer that is, and I for one cannot be happier even though the start of the school year brings anxiety and stress. Growing up I was always that kid who eagerly anticipated the end of summer right after July 4th. The anarchy of summer and the freedom to do whatever was great – at first. But it got exhausting in the way you feel when you’ve slept-in too late. So the end of summer meant a return to normalcy and regularly scheduled days. The start of school was always a wish come true. It didn’t hurt that fall is also my favorite season.

  • Books,  Musings,  News,  Writings

    Want to write for Sitting in the Stacks?

    Have you dragged your friends and family into another bookstore promising them it was the last one? Do you consider your books to be your most prized possession? Are you a fan of book humor that no one else seems to get? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are clearly passionate about all things books and should consider writing for Sitting in the Stacks. Sitting in the Stacks is now accepting submissions for three categories:

  • Musings,  Religion

    Knowing Religion, Understanding Society

    Ever been in an argument that seemed irreconcilable? Did this argument turn out to be an issue of miscommunication and a misunderstanding of where the other person was coming from? An inability to communicate with someone different from us can often be the result of ignorance. Not knowing anything about your communication partner can lead to some hairy situations. Do you both speak the same language? If not, a lot can be lost in translation. Do you know the customs of their culture? If not, you could unknowingly offend them. It’s important to know something about those with whom we interact and, if we know nothing, to learn.

  • Musings

    Love to Brussels

    At this time of tragedy in Brussels, I want to send all of my thoughts and love to the people of this fantastic city. During college I was privileged to spend a semester studying and exploring in Brussels, Belgium. I maintained a blog, entitled Apocrypha of Brussels, during those six months. Brussels quickly became like a second home to me and I sincerely believe that part of my heart remained there. As a goodbye, I wrote a love letter to the city. Below you will find a re-post of that love letter from 2011.

  • Books,  Musings

    Technology makes foreign literature accessible

    My interest in foreign language books began when my parents took me, as a young boy, to visit Europe not long after World War II. Witnessing the devastation that still existed in Hamburg, Germany frightened me. Being unable to understand people’s speech or read road signs was equally frightening and isolating. The bombed out buildings and the inability to communicate made me acutely aware that my own culture differed radically from what I was experiencing.

  • Musings,  Religion

    Religion Photography, An invasive practice?

    *Originally posted on my portfolio site* I encountered a dilemma that has perplexed me for years as a religious studies student during the second week of journalism school – religious tourism. It was obvious that I would cover a Muslim prayer ceremony when we received the assignment to report on a D.C. area event listed in the AP Daybook. After six years of study religion academically, a religious event was exactly the story I wanted.

  • Books,  Findings,  Life & Reflections,  Musings

    Happy 4th of July

    “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.” Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788   HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!