Specializing in Faith & Religion
Columbus, Ohio, USA

20161029_pond_567

Mobilizing Muslim Voters

07 November 2016 - 

The 2016 presidential election has stirred up and exposed frightening amounts of xenophobia, racism, and bigotry in the United states. Among the groups that have felt particularly targeted are American Muslims. At an event I attended recently, female Muslim activist Linda Sarsour detailed several atrocities that have been inflicted against… Continue reading  

20160820_Pond_509

Veterans’ Powwow

23 August 2016 - 

Proportionally, Native Americans are one of the largest minority groups to serve in the armed forces. This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a powwow that specifically honored Native American veterans. While the event had the hallmarks of other powwows I have attended – dances, music, cultural celebration,… Continue reading  

20160730_Pond_139

Recent Work

07 August 2016 - 

It’s been a busy few weeks with the American Religious Sounds Project! Last weekend, I attended a cultural festival at the St. Stevan of Dechani Serbian Orthodox Church, one of several Orthodox churches in Columbus. I first visited the church several months ago for a Lenten fish fry, and have… Continue reading  

20160719_Pond_1006

Religion at the RNC

31 July 2016 - 

On July 19, two graduate student researchers and I made the drive up to Cleveland to document religion at the Republican National Convention, where thousands of people gathered both to support and protest the nomination of Donald Trump. Although we weren’t sure what to expect, upon our arrival, we noticed… Continue reading  

20160702_Pond_022

Fireworks and Midsummer

08 July 2016 - 

This was the first Independence Day that I have spent in Columbus, so I was excited to attend my first-ever “Red, White, & Boom” event, an annual festival and fireworks display along the Scioto River. About 400,000 people filled the downtown area last Friday for the show, and it was… Continue reading  

_DSF1640

Fests and Protests

26 June 2016 - 

This was a busy weekend in Columbus! As part of my work for the American Religious Sounds Project, I recorded and photographed at two major events in town – ComFest, and a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church. On Friday, the Westboro Baptist Church arrived to picket the Unitarian Universalist… Continue reading  

20160527_Pond_395

Graduation Day

17 June 2016 - 

Since moving to Columbus, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the city’s refugee communities. While volunteering at CMAA Refugee Services, I met my friend Hannah, whose family is originally from Somalia. A few weeks ago, she graciously invited me to attend her graduation from Zenith Academy, a… Continue reading  

20160415_Pond_329

Easter at St. Stevan-Dechani Serbian Church

17 May 2016 - 

A couple of months ago, as I was looking for a Lenten fish fry to document for the Religious Sounds Project, I stumbled upon the St. Stevan-Dechani Serbian Orthodox Church in Columbus. When I arrived at one of the fish dinners on March 25, I didn’t know anyone, and I… Continue reading  

20160322_Pond_190

Holi

04 April 2016 - 

As part of the Religious Soundmap Project, I recently attended a Holi celebration at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Columbus. Holi, which marks the arrival of spring, is thought to celebrate fertility, love, and color, and the triumph of good over evil. While I have visited the temple previously, I… Continue reading  

20160117_Pond_372

“Everything in nature is round. We made the squares.”

18 January 2016 - 

I spent this past weekend documenting a Native American powwow – the 13th annual Eastern Woodland Native American Celebration in Lancaster, Ohio. Powwows are intertribal celebrations of Native American heritage and culture, as well as educational opportunities for the general public. They evolved from one of the only dance styles… Continue reading  

20151223_20151228_Pond_434

Christmas in a Cemetery

10 January 2016 - 

When I was visiting my family in California over the holidays, I happened to drive by a local cemetery on Christmas Day. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the glittering boughs of Christmas trees – dozens of them, spread throughout the sprawling, grassy lot. People clustered around… Continue reading  

20151206_Pond_032

Merry Krampus!

11 December 2015 - 

Most are familiar with the legend of Santa Claus, but probably fewer have heard of “Krampus,” the so-called “Christmas devil” derived from Germanic folklore. As the story goes, while Santa Claus rewards good children, Krampus swats naughty children and scares them into being nice. Last weekend, members of Columbus’ neo-pagan… Continue reading  

20151111_Pond_016

Diwali

15 November 2015 - 

This past week, for the Religious Soundmap Project, a friend and I attended a Diwali celebration at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Powell, Ohio. We’ve both been to India (I went for about two months in 2006/2007), and were amazed at how the festival of lights in America provided just… Continue reading  

_D1A8522

Mead, Animal Blessings, and Durga Puja

25 October 2015 - 

Recently, for the OSU Religious Soundmap Project, I’ve been documenting spiritual/religious occasions at several different Columbus sites. The first, surprisingly, is my friend Mark’s kitchen. As an American practitioner of Asatru – a Germanic neo-pagan faith rooted in ancient European beliefs and customs – Mark occasionally brews mead, which is… Continue reading  

20151010_Pond_024

A Surprisingly Peaceful Protest

20 October 2015 - 

The other week, the director of the Religious Soundmap Project alerted me about the “Global Rally for Humanity,” a series of anti-Islam protests scheduled to take place outside of mosques nationwide. After discussion with fellow researchers, I decided to document the protest planned for Oct. 10 outside of the Noor… Continue reading  

20150912_Pond_601

Autumn Update

03 October 2015 - 

It’s been a busy and fulfilling couple of months! I moved to Columbus, Ohio, in August, where I’ve gradually been settling in and getting connected to the local community. I recently started volunteering for US Together, a refugee resettlement agency that helps the city’s ever-growing refugee population transition to life… Continue reading