I embargoed my dissertation. I did it because I could. I did it because everyone else who had graduated recently in my program did it. I did it because every junior faculty member I know said their publisher told them to erase all evidence that there book was ever a dissertation. They said libraries wouldn't buy … Continue reading Why I Embargoed My Dissertation
I defended my dissertation, "Imagining Hindus: India and Religion in Nineteenth Century America," yesterday. This is what I felt like doing afterward:
Tomorrow marks Swami Vivekananda's 150th birthday. Vivekananda haunts me. He was a man who meant and continues to mean many things to many people. But for me, Vivekananda will always represent a limit or a boundary. When I started the research project that became my dissertation, I started with Vivekananda and then turned and looked … Continue reading On Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birthday: Beginnings and Endings
It is time to head to Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. This year I am excited to be part of an excellent roundtable discussion of transnationalism and religion in America. Here are the details: A19-201 Religion and the Social Sciences Section Theme: Exceeding Boundaries: Approaches to Transnationalism in … Continue reading Exceeding Boundaries: Approaches to Transnationalism in North American Religions
The Religion News Service has posted an excellent profile of Tulsi Gabbard, the Democrat running for Congress in Hawaii's 2nd district. Gabbard is leading in the polls by a whopping 52 points and should win in a landslide. Of course, her opponent, Kawika Crowley, lives and campaigns out of bumper-stickered white van. If Gabbard wins, … Continue reading Tulsi Gabbard, the First Hindu in the U.S. Congress?
Reading the last chapter of Lydia Maria Child's The Progress of Religious Ideas I came across this passage that seemed timely during our election season: Little or no progress toward truth is usually made, because passages of ancient books are taken up hundreds of years after they were written, and are used in a sense … Continue reading Lydia Maria Child Is Oddly Prescient in an Election Year: Red and Blue Spectacles
I'm in the midst of the metaphysical chunk of my dissertation. In these two chapters I examine how American writers in the middle of the nineteenth century looked to India for sources to build religious alternatives to orthodox Protestantism. Thoreau, Emerson, Blavatzky, all the usual suspects are there. Today I'm working on the writings of … Continue reading The Metaphysics of the Internet; or Can Lydia Maria Child’s Ghost Read My Comment?
Time for final check in. We've done this for six weeks now and I hope it's been helpful. It seems that most of us are interested in keeping this going so here's what I'm thinking. Let's keep this going as a sort of writing support group. We'll keep checking in with our goals for the … Continue reading Shut Up and Start Writing
Today marks the 158th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. It couldn't have come at a better time. Right now I am knee deep in Transcendentalists, Thoreau included, as I wade through my chapter on Transcendentalist representations of Hinduism. The combination of today's anniversary and my current writing work got me thinking about how Henry … Continue reading On the Anniversary of Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ and Its Place in American Religious History
We have hit the home stretch. Much like a runner in the Olympics, it is time to hit our "kick" and sprint to the finish. This is the last week of our summer writing group so let's get as much as we can out of it. As far as last week, I did not get … Continue reading Shut Up and Start Writing Week 6: The Home Stretch