7 Questions for Kaya Oakes

Kaya Oakes And yet, there was a real sense throughout doing the interviews that comprise a lot of the book that this was deeply sacred work: holding people’s stories, amplifying them through writing, and engaging in dialogue post publication about this fragile thing we call faith.

On Being Spiritual but Not Religious: Past, Present, Future(s)

William B. Parsons What does “being spiritual but not religious” mean? It’s on dating sites, so it must be something! But is it clear-cut and easy to identify, or is it more like what Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland, California, namely: “There is no there there.” It’s a good question. We’ll shed some light on the spiritual but not religious movement (SBNRM) and on “being” spiritual but not religious (BSBNR).

On Bonnaroo’s 15th: The Sacred and the Psychedelic Tradition

Scott Muir While 65% of the 655 individuals I surveyed at 10 such festivals report that they rarely or never “attend religious or spiritual services/gatherings,” participants overwhelmingly affirm the notion that these festivals are themselves sacred social events.

Candomblé Reconsidered: A Sacred Matters Interview

Dianne Stewart In the twenty-first century, increasing populations are becoming aware of the presence of African-heritage religions in the diaspora but we have still much to learn from and about these religions.

Teaching True Believers

Jolyon Baraka Thomas The religious studies classroom is a strange place. Whether one teaches in a public university or a private one, the subject matter demands that students set aside personal commitments in order to engage with religion both critically and respectfully.

Literary Antecedents and Contemporary Reflections of Thomas Dixon’s “The Clansman”

Carolyn M. Jones Medine As The Clansman demonstrates, the Ku Klux Klan was a structure within which white men acted out their vision of southern society and through which they used terror to enforce those visions. The KKK may have been the United States’ first cellular terrorist structure: it was and is covert, local and de-centered, mobile, and opportunistic, multiplying by opportunity and interpersonal connections.

A Dreadful and Improbable Creature: Race, Aesthetics, and the Burdens of Greatness

Judith Weisenfeld The plot of The Birth of a Nation features two intertwined narratives: a political story that moves from national unity to division in war and back to unity, and a romance in which a couple unites despite the obstacles the war presents. The Birth of a Nation is also, of course, a story about the subjugation of people of African descent, a process director D. W. Griffith frames as carried out by honorable white men who had no choice in the face of social chaos.

Cutting up “The Birth of a Nation”

S. Brent Plate Cut up D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and it bleeds a little. Rearrange the pieces, as Griffith so expertly cut up film sequences, and put them together in new ways. Splice it into histories, the stories of photography, race, literature, the KKK, bodies, film technique, and it comes out looking different. But it’s gonna bleed. The following articles, are such cuts, such incisive interventions.

Birth of the Klan’s Nation

Kelly J. Baker At midnight on November 25, 1915, seventeen men climbed to the top of Stone Mountain in Georgia with a large wooden cross. On that Thanksgiving night, they lit the cross on fire and pledged allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, American ideals, and “the tenets of the Christian religion. Read More…