Kate Topham

Kate Topham joins ARSP as Digital Archivist

We are delighted to announce that, effective June 26, Kate Topham will be joining the American Religious Sounds Project in the role of Digital Archivist! Kate is uniquely qualified for this position, having just graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Information with a MSI in Digital Curation and Archives and Records Management. Past projects include the “Michigan Latin Archive,” a digital exhibition of materials on Latin education at Michigan, and  “Music Time in Africa,” a tool to visualize data from recordings of the Music Time in Africa radio program, including interactive map and word cloud visualizations. Besides her 50% appointment with ARSP, she will be an Academic Specialist in DH@MSU, which includes faculty, staff, and students across the university and is housed in the College of Arts and Letters.

ARSP featured in Tricycle

Tricycle, the leading independent journal of Buddhism in the West, has featured the work of the American Religious Sounds Project in a May 16 article by Sheila Burt. 

ARSP Welcomes New Project Manager!



The American Religious Sounds Project is thrilled to announce that Alison Furlong will join our team as Project Manager! Alison graduated with a Ph.D. from the ethnomusicology program of the Ohio State University School of Music in 2015. Her dissertation dealt with churches as alternative spaces of music-making in the former East Germany, and she has presented her work at meetings of the American Folklore Society, German Studies Association, American Musicological Society, and Society for Ethnomusicology. In 2016, she published an article entitled “Politics, Faith, and the East German Blues” in Colloquia Germanica. Prior to graduate study, she worked for many years in the tech industry.

ARSP at the AAR

The ARSP team recently traveled to Denver, Colorado, for the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting, held this year at the Colorado Convention Center. Each November, the AAR conference brings together thousands of scholars, journalists, artists, publishers, and others from across the nation for several days of panel discussions, exhibits, and events.

ARSP Presentation at Art Institute of Chicago

In September, ARSP co-directors Isaac Weiner and Amy DeRogatis participated in a public conversation with artist James Webb at the opening of his sound exhibit “Prayer” at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Learning to Hear in Arch City Religion

By Rachel McBride Lindsey
Saint Louis University

What do we gain as researchers by listening for religion in the city? This was one of the questions I posed to students in my second-year elective course, “Arch City Religion: Religious Life and Practice in St. Louis,” last spring.

Co-PIs Isaac Weiner and Amy DeRogatis

ARSP Awarded Luce Grant

Official announcement by the Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters:

A joint, multidisciplinary project between Michigan State University and The Ohio State University that examines sounds of religion throughout the United States, and which first began in 2015, recently received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support expansion of the project. The grant was approved in conjunction with a request for proposals issued by the Luce Foundation’s Theology Program.

From the Visual to the Sonic

by Lauren Pond

As the ARSP multimedia content producer, I create audio clips, collages, and essays from recordings gathered by the project’s student and staff researchers. In my editing, I try to tease out specific themes (such as food and drink in religious practice, and the presence of religion during protests, to name a couple). I also call attention to unexpected sounds, such as the roar of a landing plane during a Serbian Orthodox chapel blessing, or the rumble of idling semi-tractor trailers just outside of a travel center chapel.

However, my focus on religious sound is relatively new. My background is primarily in documentary photography. Since 2010, I have specialized in documenting faith and religion, and have used my camera to explore both formal religious rituals and the intersection of belief with life and culture. Before the ARSP, I had experience working with audio, but I still thought of it mostly as an accompaniment to visual media.

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