Religion Senior Integrated Projects

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This collection includes Senior Integrated Projects (SIP's, formerly known as Senior Individualized Projects) completed in the Religion Department. Abstracts are generally available to the public, but PDF files are available only to current Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff. If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email us at to request access to this material.


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 189
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    St. George of Bridgeville : The Story of Syrian Immigrants in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College, 2023-11-01) Greene, Donovan O.; Maldonado-Estrada, Alyssa J.
    In the early 20th century, sixteen Syrian families came to the small southwest Pennsylvanian town of Bridgeville as part of a larger migration of Ottoman Syrians to the Americas. They were Eastern Orthodox Christians from a cluster of predominately Christian villages north of the Syrian-Lebanon border and west of the Syrian city of Homs. Upon arriving in the United States, they established a close-knit community in Bridgeville that began in the Baldwin Street neighborhood. Over multiple generations an enduring sense of community has been preserved through food practices, religious tradition, and individual memory practices. The chief establishment of their legacy is the existence of their very own parish St. George of Bridgeville that has been the primary site for preserving memory.
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    “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” : Exploring Faith, Community, and Gender Roles in the Heart of Appalachia
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College, 2023-11-01) Abbigail McMillan; Maldonado-Estrada, Alyssa J.
    This study is a strategic look at when and where religion injects itself into the lives of individuals in Harlan. It is here that I argue that religion does not live solely within the confines of a church, but in the everyday acts of cooking, the belief in the supernatural, paid labor, and much, much more. This study goes beyond statistics and general stories of the region, but is hopefully an immersive experience into a few of the lives of those who live in Harlan. Here I consider not only the existence of religion in the county, but the overall impact of those religious beliefs, how they might cause harm to those not only in minority positions, but in the majority as well, and how those could possibly work to reduce said harm while preserving their religious and cultural beliefs. In the first chapter, I will discuss the impact of community and how folks in Harlan are either included or excluded in the community depending on their current situation regarding financial, marital, parental, and church member status. In the second chapter I will introduce the other and explain how beliefs that would otherwise be rejected if introduced today are enveloped in everyday life and traditions in the region. Finally, my third chapter will discuss gender roles while mainly focusing on women and how they play an integral part in the history of mining strikes while also explaining how women’s worship differs from the roles they take in everyday life. I start many discussions with a story, a proclamation then explanation of something that occurred during my time in Harlan. These descriptions are vulnerable, intimate, and are something that I continue to feel beyond honored to have witnessed and taken part in. It is not every day that Appalachians welcome an outsider into their homes and spaces of worship, and for many, that is what I was. As someone who is not a member of many of the spaces that I spent time in, it is of the utmost importance that the individuals portrayed and discussed are represented authentically. This transparency is something I hold closely, and accepting this responsibility is not something I take lightly.
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    Situational Desecration
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College, 2024-01-01) Martinez, Molly; Haus, Jeffrey, 1964-
    How we generalize canonical terms and ideas needs to be challenged because they are not universal in every context; the idea of desecration falls within this canon. Within Genesis 9 and Judges 19, sexual desecrations are carried out on Noah and the Concubine. They are handled very differently and establish that desecration is defined situationally because power, gender, and the body are all on different levels of power and authority. Gendered bodies endure Hospitality, agency, and consequences differently. Thus, we need to dismantle generalizations that situations of desecration are handled the same. Desecration is dealt with with an additional concern or level of importance in each case, illuminating how hegemonic definitions shift because of systems of power that have been institutionalized within this text. Understanding the differences of desecration on gendered bodies can shift ways of thinking on assumptions that may be present in regard to sexual desecration within religious practice today.
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    Monstrous, Sensual, and Unapologetic : Shurpanakha and Lilith, the Villainesses of Cautionary Tales
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College, 2023-11-01) Dave, Talia; Pillai, Sohini Sarah
    Literature old and new has continued to attempt to give voice to characters who are often overlooked, though women would likely still fail to be represented properly. In Judeo-Christian literature, Eve is an ideal and prominent female figure portrayed as a pure and subordinate woman and in Sanskrit traditions and literature, Sita is represented similarly. While both women reside in neat and clean pedestals beneath their male partners, Adam and Rama, there are two women who are their “polar opposites.” Lilith and Shurpanakha are two women from these ancient texts that are often used as cautionary tales to prevent women from becoming like them. This research provides insight as to why they have been labeled as bad, or even evil characters, while also demonstrating ways in which media and literature has uplifted or failed to rewrite their stories. The importance of discussing the good and the bad is that we are able to dissect and understand more about religious narratives, its implications, and ultimately, ourselves and where we fit.
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    A Modern Virgin Birth and Sexually Active Priest: Catholic Sexuality as Seen on Television
    (2023-11-01) Chalk, Iris; Petrey, Taylor G., 1976-
    Depictions of Catholic sexuality in media and popular culture are abundant and vary significantly in terms of representational tone. Cartoons, horror, and documentaries have predominantly represented Catholic sexuality as parodied, perverse, and/or violent and abusive. In contrast, this paper is interested in the work of comedy-dramas Jane the Virgin and Fleabag in representing the nuanced, individualized, and accurately complex embodiments of Catholic sexuality. These shows explore the constructs, practices, and values of virginity, abortion, autonomy, intimacy, and celibacy through the work of humorous biblical intertext and sincere portrayals of Catholic characters navigating, embracing, and grappling with values guided by both their faith and personal autonomy, needs, and desires. Jane the Virgin and Fleabag and their impact upon consumers of popular culture are henceforth evidence of the significance of situating media and pop culture within religious studies, as they illuminate that stories of complicated religious people serve nuanced understandings of embodied religious traditions and practices.
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