Tuesday, September 24, 2013

News cycles

So in Theorizing Religion I've tried something new. Where in the past students were charged with researching and attending some religious festival and writing about it, this year I asked them to find an article about religion in the news and analyze it for implicit and explicit understandings of religion. What the class came up with was a rather surprising roster of articles and "news sources"...

Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari, "Yemen Minister on Child Marriage: Enough is Enough," CNN

Lauren Marcoe, "Ethicist Shaun Casey to oversee engagement for State Department," Washington Post

Renee K. Gadoua, "NY state pastor among Methodists defying church law," Religion News Service

"Exclusive: Vanna White son under the spell of religious cult," National Enquirer

Hamilton Morris, "The Magic Jews: From Manischewitz to mescaline," Vice 

Jed Lepinski, "A visit from the devil: Feared traditional priest from Ghana spends a year in the Bronx," New York Times

Joseph Bottum, "The things we share: A Catholic's case for same-sex marriage," Commonweal

Elisabetta Povoledo and Dan Bilefsky, "The Pope gets on line, and everyone is talking," New York Times

Laurie Goodstein, "Zoroastrians keep the faith, and keep dwindling," New York Times 

Simran Jeet Singh, "Hate hits home: When my friend became a target," Huffington Post

Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Mormons join Hawaii's gay-marriage fight, but with a new approach," Salt Lake Tribune

Jodi Rudoren, "Jews challenge rules to claim heart of Jerusalem," New York Times

William McGurn, "The Prez v. the Pope," New York Post

Phil Plait, "Creationists once again threaten to make a mockery of Texas science education," Slate

Samuel G. Freedman, "A church that embraces all religions, and rejects 'us' versus 'them'," New York Times [source of photo above]

"Brazilian believers of hidden religion step out of the shadows," NPR

Each student had five minutes to present her work, so we didn't get very far into any of them - but enough, at least, to start a discussion I didn't expect, or think we'd need. What is a newspaper? What is a news article? How does a news article differ from an opinion piece or entertainment? What makes a reliable source? Why might it matter?

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