From bioethics and the pursuit of justice to addressing climate change and international politics, religion shapes critical issues of contemporary society.
Understanding religion is essential in understanding oneself, society, and others, according to Eileen Barker, former sociology professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Before coming to Copenhagen, I had an idyllic image of Danish society: fantastic gastronomy, little income disparity, and genuinely happy people. Perhaps these characteristics are true, but certainly not for all Danes. Those living like I first described could be found on any given weekend in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District, which for the most part is a posh cluster of high-end art galleries, superb restaurants, and unique creative businesses.
Many academics resist using social media in their scholarship for fear it could tarnish their reputation and academic integrity. Mark Juergensmeyer, professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, urges them to transform their traditionally one-way work into a two-way dialogue through engaging in conversation on digital forums, television, and radio. Social media, he added, should be used as a platform to teach and ignite public conversations that reach even those at the farthest edges of the globe.
Few things are as mesmerizing as a well-thrown ultimate frisbee disc. From the moment of release to the anticipation of the catch, as the disc slices through the air, players fixate on it, trying to predict how it’s going to fall back down to earth, into play. Though ultimate (frisbee) began in a parking lot in Maplewood, New Jersey some 50 years ago, the community has rapidly grown worldwide. Ultimate players are just as likely to be found at the Polo Fields on the Mall as they are in fields scattered through cities including Berlin, Tokyo, and where I’m currently studying in Amman, Jordan.
Pacem in Terris, the 1963 encyclical of Pope John XXIII, argued that there is a need for disarmament and that nuclear weapons must be banned. Pope Pius XII claimed that “the calamity of a world war, with the economic and social ruin and the moral excesses and dissolution that accompany it, must not on any account be permitted to engulf the human race for a third time.” This was the first time the Vatican had officially addressed not only Roman Catholics, but all of goodwill in the whole world.
I usually attend Pentecostal and Evangelical Restoration services with my host family. Last Sunday, I tried something new: Rwandan Catholic Mass. The Catholic Church has a long history here. It arrived in the late 1800s alongside German colonists and became the religious authority. Since then, it has served the nuanced role of both a facilitator and reconciler of conflict.
At 3:00 p.m., my flight landed in Santiago, Chile. In a continent where traveling is a bit less accessible than in Europe, I was thrilled to discover what Chile had to offer, other than much cheaper shopping and a way to prepare myself for a midterm on Chilean history. Stepping out of the taxi for the first time, I was shocked to see that the capital of Chile could not be more different from my current home of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires, known for its arrogance and difficult Spanish accent, teems with European influence on every street corner.
Because of the four-day weekend, I decided to visit my host family from last summer. They live in Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, which is located in the middle of the west coast of the main island of Honshu. Having lived in Tokyo for almost two months now, I have become used to the sprawling metropolis. Save for a day trip here and there, before this weekend, I had yet to really escape the city.
I have a passion for São Paulo, from its culture to its language, food (as it is the gastronomy capital of Brazil), and skyscrapers. In Brazil, each state has distinct characteristics, which have become apparent during my travels around the country. Last year, I spent two months over the summer with a host family in the interior of São Paulo. This semester I am in a homestay in Rio, and their day-to-day routine is completely different.