Student Blog


Self-Flagellation as Islamic Ritual

Madeleine McNamara

An Afghan Shi’ite Muslim participating in self-flagellation during an Ashura procession in Kabul[i]

In the modern Western context, pain is appropriate or acceptable only when it is restricted to specific realms, such as body modification (i.e., dieting, working out, and cosmetic surgery) or sport.[ii] Outside...Read More »

Is Seeing a Dead Body Comforting?

Ally Craig

Is seeing the dead body of a loved one a good way to start mourning them? Within Catholicism, the traditional death ritual is to display the deceased body at the visitation service via an open casket. Growing up I didn’t give a second thought about seeing an...Read More »

Keeping it Intact: Circumcision in Ritual and its Objectors

Olivia Dumas

Circumcision: not always the most palatable topic of conversation for first dates or dinner parties, but a practice which remains rife for examination within ritual studies. Circumcision is somewhat unique as a ritual in that it is a religious rite that has also transcended its sacred origins to...Read More »

Unconventional Methods of Healing: Treating Sexual Trauma Through BDSM

Caitie Annear

When my older sister asked what schoolwork I had to do over reading week, I admit my answer was probably not what she had in mind. BDSM as healing for sexual assault survivors? There is indeed a concerted academic interest in the psychological value of BDSM play,...Read More »

The (Ir)relevancy of Religion in Black Mirror

Lauren Strumos
MA Student, School of Religion

Netflix’s anthology series Black Mirror features fictional stories of innovative technologies that are used to inflict pain and suffering on human beings.  It is a series of ‘technology gone bad,’ so to speak.  There are no episodes that feature an explicitly religious storyline, yet...Read More »

Running A Religious Studies Tutorial

Alissa Droog
MA Student
School of Religion

Teaching is a creative enterprise, and if there’s one thing I learned about it this year, it’s that you have to be willing to try a variety of methods that may or may not work. This year I had the opportunity to run a tutorial...Read More »

How Liberal Are We Really?

Ruth Chitiz
MA Student
School of Religion

Scholars have presented a variety of theories as to why religion persists in the current Western world. Classical theories of secularization underestimated the extent to which religiosity would prove salient in contemporary societies and political arrangements because, let’s face it, the Western world is...Read More »

Even Stephen: Islam vs. Christianity

Amelia Walsh
First Year Undergraduate Student, Arts and Science

In today’s world of media entertainment, comedians and programs often satirize religion and religious practices in comedy skits and routines. Although malicious elements sometimes appear in these media pieces, the use of satire more commonly presents as a tool to relieve tension, ridicule...Read More »

Omar Mateen and the 2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Chayce Perkins
First Year Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Arts

As modern Western society has continued to progress through the processes of modernity, technological advancement has caused the media to become the most effective means of conveying information to the public. As a result, the media and many news outlets in particular generally...Read More »