27 September 2015

Pope Francis Visits the Americas (September 19-28, 2015)

Last Updated: September 27, 2015


  • Pope Francis' address to Joint Session of U.S. Congress (24 September 2015): English / Spanish
  • Pope Francis' homily at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (23 September 2015): English translation (New York Times)
  • Pope Francis' address to US Catholic Bishops at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington DC (23 September 2015): New York Times
  • Pope Francis' speech at White House (23 September 2015): Washington Post / Time Magazine








20 March 2015

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

The Woman who Ruled the Papacy

The Woman who Ruled the Papacy (Medievalists.net, 9 March 2015)

Born between 890 and 892, she was the daughter of the Roman consul Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, and of Theodora, a senatrix and serenissima vestaratrix of Rome. This couple had risen to dominate Roman politics, and made their share of enemies. One of them was Liudprand of Cremona, a diplomat and historian. He called Theodora a “shameles harlot…whose very mention is most foul, was holding the monarchy of the city of Rome, and not in an unmanly way.”

When Sergius III became Pope in 904 Theophylact and Theodora made sure that their teenage daughter was introduced to the Pontiff – soon Sergius and Marozia were lovers, until she became pregnant and bore him a son named John. For the Pope to have any children was a serious embarrassment, but it probably gave the House of Theophylact political leverage. Meanwhile Marozia was then married off to Alberic I of Spoleto.

A Christian Nation? Since When?

A Christian Nation? Since When? (New York Times, 14 March 2015)

AMERICA may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country’s identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map. Just a few weeks ago, Public Policy Polling reported that 57 percent of Republicans favored officially making the United States a Christian nation. But in 2007, a survey by the First Amendment Center showed that 55 percent of Americans believed it already was one.

The confusion is understandable. For all our talk about separation of church and state, religious language has been written into our political culture in countless ways. It is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol. Perhaps because it is everywhere, we assume it has been from the beginning. But the founding fathers didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans that come to mind when we consider whether this is a Christian nation. Our grandfathers did.

18 March 2015

Why was a 9th century Viking woman buried with a ring that says ‘for Allah’ on it?

In the modern-era, Scandinavian countries have become known for their sometimes awkward embrace of migrants from the Arab and Muslim world. But the history behind that relationship goes back far further than you might expect.

Consider the case of a ring discovered in a Viking grave in Birka, a historic trading center in what is now Sweden. The woman in the grave died in the 9th century and was discovered around a thousand years later by the famous Swedish archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe, who spent years excavating the grave sites around Birka.

The ring is unique. Made of silver alloy, it contained a stone with an inscription written in the Kufic Arabic script widely used between the 8th and 10th centuries. "For/to Allah," the inscription read. It was the only known Viking Age ring with an Arabic inscription to be found in the entire of Scandinavia. Exactly how the woman got the ring wasn't clear – she was found wearing typical Scandinavian dress, so presumably the ring arrived through trade.

13 March 2015

News Reports on Analysis on the Papacy of Pope Francis

Last Updated: March 13, 2015

Op-eds and analysis:

Pope Francis Speaks/Writes:

Pope Francis' Trips/Travels:

Pope Francis & the Synod of Bishops

Pope Francis & the College of Cardinals

11 March 2015

Remembering Selma: Fifty Years Later (1965-2015)

Last Updated: March 11, 2015

President Barack Obama at Selma:


African American and Asian American:

African American and Catholic:

African American and Jewish

News Reports:

What Happened to America's First Muslims?

What Happened to America's First Muslims? (Huffington Post, 9 March 2015)

What does it mean for a religion to be woven into American history? The presence of Muslims in the early United States is well known to scholars -- historians have put their population in the tens of thousands -- yet when President Obama noted last month that "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding," he was greeted with incredulous outrage.

Asian Americans in the United States

Last Updated: March 11, 2015
News articles, analysis, and discussions on Asian Americans in the United States:

Demographic Data

Asian American Adoptees

Asian Americans & Affirmative Action 

Asian American History

Asian American Literature

Asian American & US Politics

Asian Americans and African Americans

Asian American and Latin@s

Asian American Christians

News Reports & Analysis: Michael Brown, Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter

Last updated: March 11, 2015
Selected news reports, op eds and analysis on the urban uprising against police violence at Ferguson, Missouri: