Friday, 6 December 2013

My Book Review of Aitamurto and Simpson's “Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe" in ASRR 4(2)

The ASRR.
After some delay, volume 4, issue 2 of the Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review (ASRR), a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of new religious movements (NRMs) has just been published online. I'm plugging it because it contains a book review authored by yours truly, devoted to Kaarina Aitamurto and Scott Simpson's edited volume on Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe (Durham: Acumen, 2013). Unfortunately, ASRR isn't an open access journal, meaning that you will have to pay to access its articles and reviews, but hopefully many of you will have university accounts that allow you free access. 
This is my latest book review since the open access journal Papers from the Institute of Archaeology (PIA) published my critical examination of Kathryn Rountree, Christine Morris, and Alan A.D. Peatfield's 2012 anthology Archaeology of Spiritualities. The launch party for PIA volume 23 actually took place at the UCL Institute of Archaeology last night, and I am currently engaged in another book review for volume 24, so stay tuned for that. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Doug's Archaeology Carnival: December Questions

Last month, I answered the questions set by Doug of the Doug's Archaeology blog in preparation for the 2014 Society for American Archaeology's session on the role of blogging in archaeology. (For a full look at all the answers provided by a range of archaeological blogs, look here). Now that December is here, Doug has set those of us taking part a new question, asking us to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging. 

So what has been good about blogging ? The best thing has probably been how it has brought me into communication with other academics out there, primarily those who have taken part in my interview series. I've really enjoyed doing that, and it has enabled me to learn more about the trials and tribulations of professional academic life. Something else that has always brought a smile to my face has been in receiving praise from my readers, who seem to really appreciate the interview series; that makes me feel that I am making a valuable contribution, and inspires me to continue.

Conversely, I think that I have really only had one bad or ugly experience with blogging, and that is something which occurred back in June 2012. I used my blog to counter the libellous, nonsensical smears made against Pagan studies scholar and archaeologist Caroline J. Tully (of the Necropolis Now blog) by a pseudonymous and sanctimonious Pagan blogger. They in turn took to their own blog to have a moan about me, accusing me of being "self righteous", which I felt to be a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Both their attacks on myself and Ms. Tully were absolute tosh and really rather vindicative, so while it was not an enjoyable experience dealing with them, I'm still really glad that I stood up against that particular bully blogger. Lies and smears really should be countered.