The Revealer is a review of religion in the news and the news about religion. We’re not so much nonpartisan as polypartisan — interested in all sides, disdainful of dualistic arguments, and enamored of free speech as a first principle. We publish and link to work by people of all persuasions, religious, political, sexual, and critical. The Revealer was conceived by Jay Rosen of New York University’s Department of Journalism, and created by journalists Jeff Sharlet and Kathryn Joyce.
We begin with three basic premises: 1. Belief matters, whether or not you believe. Politics, pop culture, high art, NASCAR — everything in this world is infused with concerns about the next. As journalists, as scholars, and as ordinary folks, we cannot afford to ignore the role of religious belief in shaping our lives. 2. The press all too frequently fails to acknowledge religion, categorizing it as either innocuous spirituality or dangerous fanaticism, when more often it’s both and in between and just plain other. 3. We deserve and need better coverage of religion: sharper thinking; deeper history; thicker description; basic theology; real storytelling. – Jeff Sharlet, 2003
Kali Handelman came to The Revealer in July 2013 having spent ten years in New York City studying religion, cultural studies, and media. She received her BA in cultural and media studies from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts and her MA in religious studies from Columbia University. Along with her formal academic pursuits, she brings with her experience working in visual art and independent publishing. Running throughout her work are interests in literature, visual art, architecture, politics, law, and religion and an investment in exploring what these disciplines and categories have to offer one another. She views religion as a critical nexus for talking about politics, economics, representation, culture, technology, identity, and all of the other forces at work in forming communities and relationships. Kali is committed to continuing the work that The Revealer does to inform and engage readers and encourage conversation not only about religion, but also about what we talk about when we talk about religion.
Kali can be contacted (and pitched!) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Sharlet created The Revealer for New York University’s Center for Religion and Media in 2003 and edited it through 2008. He is the author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power(Harper, 2008), a national bestseller, and What They Wanted a forthcoming collection of essays (W.W. Norton, 2011) that takes its title from work Jeff did for The Revealer. Jeff is co-author, with Peter Manseau, of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible (Free Press, 2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith (Beacon, 2009), both of which sprang from KillingTheBuddha.com, an award-winning online literary magazine about religion co-founded by Jeff and Peter in 2000. A contributing editor for Harper’s magazine and Rolling Stone, Jeff is currently working on an anthology of literary journalism about American religion for Yale University Press. From 2003-9, Jeff was an associate or visiting research scholar at the Center for Religion and Media, which sponsors and houses The Revealer. In 2010, he joined the English Department of Dartmouth College.
Ann Neumann, a tenth-generation Lancaster County, Pennsylvanian, can trace her roots to the early Anabaptists in Europe’s Low Countries. Her father shook the Mennonite church for her, so, as any good seeker would, she completed Catholic catechism in college, then kept going. Neumann has written about religion and health care for The Nation, AlterNet (where she also blogs), Religion Dispatches, and Killing the Buddha. A hospice volunteer, she keeps the blog otherspoon, devoted to issues surrounding religion and end of life care. Neumann has been a visiting scholar at NYU’s Religious Studies Program, a fellow in the Age Boom Academy, a joint project of Columbia Journalism School, the Mailman School for Public Health and The New York Times, and she is a recipient of a Knight research grant from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. She’s appeared on WBAI radio and NY-1 News. She was editor of The Revealer from 2010 to 2013. She is currently working on two books: a memoir about grief, and travel; and an investigation of how Americans die. She can be reached at email@example.com.
LUCE DIGITAL RELIGION INTERNATIONAL EDITOR
Natasja Sheriff, 2012-2013
Natasja Sheriff is the international editor at The Revealer and Luce Research Fellow at the Center for Religion and Media. Before joining the Center, Natasja spent more than a decade working with international non-profit research organizations, specializing in small-scale fish culture and fisheries research for food security. Based in Thailand and Malaysia, her work took her to Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mali, and Senegal. She moved to New York in 2010 to pursue a career in journalism. Her international experience continues to inform her work as a writer and editor.
Natasja holds an M.A. in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism, and a PhD from the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK. She writes about politics, religion and media around the world, with an emphasis on South and Southeast Asia. As the Luce Research Fellow at the Center for Religion and Media, her research focuses on citizen journalism, video media and religion in Malaysia. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Reuters, WNYC, Malaysiakini, Hyperallergic and The Revealer.
Nora Connor, 2011-2012
Nora Connor is a multimedia journalist, producer and editor with a background in labor and human rights organizing. Her work has appeared on PBS Frontline/American Experience, MSNBC, A&E, Guernica, and in various film festivals. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT 2012-2013
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS 2011-2012
Ashley Baxstrom received an M.A. from the Religious Studies Program at New York University.
Amy Levin received an M.A. from the Religious Studies Program at New York University.
Joe McKnight is a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary.
In the early ’80’s, just as the Cultural Revolution was ending, Angela Zito, Co-Director of the Center and Publisher of The Revealer, spent three years in Beijing doing historical research on the social and political importance of rituals performed by the emperor. During that time, she also worked as dayside editor for The China Daily, China’s English-language newspaper, and then as a “newstaster” for the Reuters‘ bureau. Zito received her Ph.D. from University of Chicago and now teaches anthropology and history of Chinese religions at NYU, where she directed the Religious Studies Program from 2002-2008. She has worked in very old media: bodies, paper, and stone as the author of Of Body and Brush: Grand Sacrifice as Text/Performance in 18th Century China. Since founding the Center, she has curated independent Chinese documentary screenings in New York and worked in video for a current project on “Writing in water: Of calligraphy, cadres, and ways of performing yourself in public in China.” Read her online at The Revealer: “Religion is media.” And at her website http://www.angelazito.com/.
C0-Director Faye Ginsburg is the David Kriser Professor of Anthropology at NYU, where she is also the founding Director of the Center for Media, Culture, and History. Prior to coming to the academy, she worked as documentary producer, as an independent and for WCCO-TV. Recipient of MacArthur, Guggenheim, and other awards and fellowships, she is the author/editor of four books, including Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community, and most recently the edited collection, Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. She is currently finishing a book entitled Mediating Culture: Indigenous Media in a Digital Age.
Associate Director Pegi Vail is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and curator. Her current academic work focuses on the political economy of tourism in the developing world, exploring the role travel stories in print and media have in shaping experience and destination perspectives. Right of Passage, a book based on this research among backpackers in Bolivia, is forthcoming (Duke University Press). Gringo Trails, her documentary-in-progress shot in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America looks at the long term impact of travelers and their narratives globally. Prior documentaries include the award-winning, The Dodger’s Sym-phony, broadcast on PBS/WNET and screened in New York and national museums, international festivals, and on Northwest Airlines. Vail teaches on Film and Culture at Columbia University and has previously taught documentary filmmaking through the NYU Department of Anthropology’s Culture and Media Program, on tourist productions in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and leads documentary workshops worldwide, most recently in Azerbaijan with the Soros Open Society. Vail is a former Fulbright scholar who serves as guest lecturer for the Columbia Alumni Travel Study Program, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. As a curator, she has collaborated with colleagues at NYC arts and cultural institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indian, American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and through organizations such as the The Moth, the storytelling collective she was a founding board member for. She currently serves on the Moth’s curatorial board and general council.