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The Beachwood Radio Interview Hour #3: Hoodoo Voodoo With Professor Pear Tree

Smoking in the bathroom, hanging out with trouble-making friends, drinking beer and calling in a bomb scare. Oh, and graduating high school at 16 and going on to become a religion scholar. Meet DePaul's Lisa Poirier.



* It means Pear Tree!

* The Blue Ribbon Glee Club.

* Lisa's Rate My Professor page

* Research interests and frequently taught courses.

8:15: 'The Weird Things That People Come Up With.'

* Dorothy Day: 'Perhaps the most famous radical in American Catholic Church history.'

* The Catholic Worker.

* Larry Mamiya.

* Charles Long.

* Syracuse Department of Religion.

* Union Theological Seminary.

18:20: 'Incidental Native American Heritage.'

* Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

* The French-Canadian mill towns of New England!

20:16: Sweet Briar Interlude.

* "She who has earned the rose may bear it."

21:11: The Path To DePaul.

* 10 years and tenure at Miami of Ohio, but: "I don't want to die here."

* "The job at DePaul sounded like it was written for me."

* Ethnobotany!

24:12: What Is DePaul Like?

* "I love it."

* "Every classroom is a multicultural classroom."

* Haitian Vodou and Jamaican Rastafari.

29:50: Religion, Gender, and Kinship in Colonial New France.

* Working on new book about native women and mourning - how those in the 17th- and 18th-century handled bereavement due to colonialism and loss ritually.

* "Bereavement on a never-before-seen scale . . . "

* At the Newberry: "As a collection of general Americana, the Newberry's Edward E. Ayer Collection is one of the best in the country and one of the strongest collections on American Indians in the world."

34:50: Reading Against The Text.

* "It's essential for postcolonial scholarship."

36:36: How did you become who you are?

"I was totally a weird little kid."

"How weird - super weird?"

"Yeah, I think so!"

40:00: Bad Kids: "We just tore the place up."

* Smoking in the bathroom, hanging out with trouble-making friends, drinking beer and calling in a bomb scare. Oh, and graduating high school at 16.

42:42: When she first saw Devo: "This is the future, man!"

* Jim Carroll.

* The Clash.

45:52: Finding The Blue Ribbon Glee Club.

47:20: Opening for Mac Sabbath (And Galactic Empire).

* "Music can transcend all sorts of divides, can't it?!"

50:09: The Tongue In The Tribune.

* The tongue in The Devil's Advocate:


Our discussion ended slightly prematurely as the Blue Ribbon Glee Club filtered in for practice that night, so I asked Lisa later about her own religious beliefs beyond her Catholic childhood. What, if anything, did she believe today? Here's what she told me in a Facebook message:

Oh, damn, that . . . question is a doozy! For a long time, I thought that because I study folks that have a relationship with sacred power, I need to respect that, but I didn't need to have some kind of relationship with sacred power myself. These days, although I still don't think about sacred power as some actual old guy in the sky, I don't think that scientific rationalism is sufficient, and that since I define religion as any given orientation to the cosmos, I have to admit to myself that I think there is something beyond the laws of physics operating in my understanding of my own cosmos.

As a scholar, I also vehemently reject any definition of religion as "belief in something." That kind of definition originated from European Christians, and it is patently inapplicable to tons and tons of people whom scholars would consider to be practitioners of religions. So no, I don't "believe in something." But I also recognize the potential existence of sacred power, which might manifest itself in a myriad of ways that I might never understand.

Fair enough!



* The next Blue Ribbon Glee Club show is the first Monday of April at Cafe Mustache, not the first Monday of March, which passed before I could get this podcast posted. You're all invited!

* Lisa has not yet recorded the David Bowie podcast she mentioned, so I cannot provide a link. But I will add it later when it becomes available!


Lisa Poirier:



Bad Kids.


Clash Web Special!



* The Beachwood Radio Interview Hour #1: Liz Mason Is Awesome Dot Com.

Welcome to this Chicago zine queen's ass-kicking life of ever-evolving freakdom.

* The Beachwood Radio Interview Hour #2: Nan Warshaw Is A Heroic Refugee Resettler.

A life of sin, punk rock and social action.


For other Beachwood shows, including the The Beachwood Radio Hour archives and The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour, see The Beachwood Radio Network.


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 13, 2018

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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