Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Socio-Economic Impact of Religion in the US

Brian Grim, a professor at Georgetown University, bursts the stereotype that religions do not contribute to society.

In the short clip below, he notes that religions in the United States contribute more than $1.2 trillion to our economy and society.

Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims with their congregations, charities and schools combine to make that contribution. They do it through education, job training, charity, child care, and social events.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Domes & Minarets: A Three Minute Tour

Studying Islamic  art and architecture?

Here's a terrific three minute exploration of domes and minarets from Egypt Tours and Travel. The clip shows images of both traditional and modern domes and minarets of different mosques.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Test your Attitude toward Religion or Race: Harvard's Project Implicit tests

Project Implicit measures "thoughts and feelings that exist outside of conscious awareness or conscious control" through a series of tests.

Harvard University researchers developed the tests.

Among the more interesting association tests are the ones on racial bias and religion.  The racial bias test requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin.

The religion IAT test measures your attitude toward the different faiths.

I usually ask my religion students to take the religion IAT test and then reflect on the results. Were the results what they expected? Do they agree with the results?

Here is the link to the different tests. Read the disclaimer in which you acknowledge that you may encounter interpretations with which you do not agree.  Click "I wish to Proceed."  Scroll down to the Religion  IAT test and click on it to begin.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hinduism: Resources

Studying the development Hinduism?

Here two excellent resources, both short documentaries.

The first is a 23 minute overview from the The Himalayan Academy, which publishes Hinduism Today Magazine.

The documentary is engaging and includes great photography. It's divided into five short parts: origins, sacred texts, Hindu society, beliefs and practices, and finally, festivals.
Another resource comes from Freer Sacker Museum and shows Hindu devotion, called Puja.

Finally, you can see a terrific graphic that explains the caste system.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Diversity of Muslim Americans: 9 Animated Clips

Here are nine animated clips from the Huffington Post that show the diversity of Muslims in America.   The clips represent short anecdotes of everyday life for these nine Muslim Americans.

In one clip, less than two minutes, a Muslim had to find a place to pray at an airport. He did not want to be conspicuous, so he asked a guard if he could pray in a corner. The guard told him that he was in American and could pray anywhere he wanted.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Veiling Practices Around the World

Are Muslims the only religious group to to use the veil? What type of Muslim veil did the French government ban? Do East African women wear a veil? Are Muslim veiling practices similar around the globe?

These are the types of questions that a website called "ReOrienting the Veil" attempts to answer. Designed by the University of North Carolina Center for European Studies, it outlines veiling practices in the three Abrahamic religions in one section.

In another section, the website examines how veiling is practiced in different countries, specifically France, East Africa, and Turkey.

Finally, you can look at some of the most famous images of women and veiling in a section about the visual arts.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Muslim Heritage: Terrific Website & Resource

Studying Islam?

Here is a  terrific website that reviews the achievements of pre-Renaissance Islamic culture called Muslim Heritage.  It covers Muslim art, architecture, literature, culture, music and people.  It includes images, essays, videos, and maps.

Among the featured essays on the site's home page is one one of my favorites, Mega Cities on the Silk Road. Can you list three of the biggest?

Xi’an (Chang’an) is at the top. It became the capital of the Chinese empire in the 4th century and was a significant trading post and melting pot. Under the Tang Dyasty, it was home to a panoply of religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam.

Another top mega city along the Silk Road included Samarkand in the heart of central Asia. From Han times, merchants from Samarkand traveled as far China and Tamerlane was one of its prominent leaders.

Another essay, Technology in Sub-Saharan Cultures, reviews advances in metallurgy and quarrying. The Nubians, from modern-day Sudan, during Egypt's Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BCE), mass produced iron and bronze used to make items like cutlery,  jewelry, weapons, and even musical instruments.

And Aksum, in Ethiopia, quarried lots of granite between 100 and 700CE. According to the essay's author, Aksum had "extensive" knowledge of granite extraction.

But it was in math and science that Muslims made some of the most stunning achievements like the invention of the astrolabe or the translation of ancient Greek texts to Latin and then to European languages, or the development and building of hospitals in many cities in the Muslim world.

A new documentary called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” reviews these achievements and many more.

The film is part of a global  educational campaign with UNESCO and is available on ITunes.

Muslim Heritage and the website for 1001 Inventions are great for both teachers and students. Some of the essays are ideal for students. And teachers can easily create an interesting web quest out of the material.