12 Songs for Christmas: Staffansvisa

Let’s recall that we embarked on 12 days of Christmas songs, unranked, and on the second day I premiered my new English-language lyrics for a Swedish tune that I first heard earlier this month. Here it is, at one hour and seven minutes of this concert by Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum's band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH4IXFQU-Po Here … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Staffansvisa

12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

A year ago, Kanye West was in the news because he had premiered a high-concept and well-publicized Christmas “opera” at Lincoln Center. I wrote about it then, and today I am bringing this earlier reflection back so that people have another chance to find it. I do this, in part, because of how interestingly this … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise

Today I want to share my favorite song from what, in my experience, ranks among the most sadly unknown and underrated records ever made:  Ice Age Paradise, by Sienna Dahlen. https://siennadahlen1.bandcamp.com/track/ice-age-paradise I learned of Dahlen when I spent a semester working in Edmonton, Alberta, and hung out at the great jazz club there called Yardbird … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise

12 Songs for Christmas: “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol (new millennium peace version)”

Trigger warning! I am the sort of geek who actually cares both about schisms among subtypes within subtypes of Calvinists (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) in the antebellum US (which mattered for things like ending slavery and the ongoing curricula of US liberal arts colleges) as well as which factions of the academic left have a correct … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol (new millennium peace version)”

Pros, Cons, and Whiplash: Studying American Religions from a Home Base in Religious Studies

In the first and second sections of this three-part post—introduced here and expanded from my article in the Encyclopedia of American Religion—I sketched the contours of the academic study of religion (ASR), or Religious Studies, and discussed tensions among its creation myths: who were its heroes and villains, in what contexts, as the field emerged? … Continue reading Pros, Cons, and Whiplash: Studying American Religions from a Home Base in Religious Studies

Creation Myths of Religious Studies: Starting Over Near a Dead Tree Vs. an Evolving Garden with Old and New Roots

In the first section of this three-part post—introduced here and based on my article in the Encyclopedia of American Religion—I broached evergreen questions about the definitions, scope, and methods of the academic study of religion (ASR) or Religious Studies. I described these as a “more like a framework for debate than a foundation for consensus” … Continue reading Creation Myths of Religious Studies: Starting Over Near a Dead Tree Vs. an Evolving Garden with Old and New Roots

Notes from a Dinosaur Who Cares About Reference Books

I am so old that I can remember when people used hard copies of encyclopedias! I read the World Book Encyclopedia as a kid, and later I spent perhaps a couple years of my life, depending on how one counts, writing articles for reference books in American Studies and/or the academic study of religions.  Colleagues, … Continue reading Notes from a Dinosaur Who Cares About Reference Books