Sightings Articles

Styron’s Nat Turner Turns 50, Gets Religion

Fifty years ago this month, William Styron published The Confessions of Nat Turner—an historical novel that became a flashpoint for arguments about race and representation during a particularly trying period of U.S. history. Styron, a white Virginian...

October 12, 2017

Elijah Muhammad | Nation of Islam | Sunni Islam | Sufism | Jim Crow | Stephen Prothero | God in America | Olympics | American exceptionalism | racial supremacy

Taking Exception: How Muhammad Ali Transformed American Religion

The morning after he defeated Sonny Liston for the world’s heavyweight boxing championship in February, 1964, Cassius Clay confirmed that he was a Muslim, a convert to Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam. To a reporter who referred to him as a “card-ca...

June 9, 2016

Death Gospel and the Heart of Saturday Night

The recent release of Adam Arcuragi's album Like a Fire that Consumes All Before It... has raised interest in the popular-musical category of "Death Gospel," a metaphysically attuned variety of the Americana genre named by Arcuragi. Death Gospel is n...

February 9, 2012

Updike's Motions of Grace

John Updike, who died last week at 76, has found valediction in the interim as a literary giant-a novelist and short story writer, a poet, and a critic.  Chicago Tribune culture writer Julia Keller places him in a foursome with Norman Mailer, Phillip...

February 5, 2009

E Pluribus Obama

In the November 6th New York Times, photographer Matt Mendelsohn describes a restlessness that overcame him on election night, leading him to drive across the Potomac to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, "expecting to find a crowd and some news...

November 13, 2008

Religion in Modern Times

While it may not constitute as momentous a cultural event as it would have thirty years ago, Bob Dylan will release Modern Times, a new album of ten original songs, on August 29. Early reports and "leaked" online audio fragments indicate that Modern ...

August 10, 2006