Christmas Special 2014 – MasterBrain!

Photo by Bettina Schmidt

There are some traditions that make this time of the year special. End-of-year listicles, the “War on Christmas” debate, animations of elves dancing with your family’s heads pasted on… and of course, the RSP “Christmas” Special!

Photo by Bettina Schmidt

This year, Jonathan Tuckett is your host

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  • What is RSP?

    The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. Find out more…

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  • Baby Boomers, Quest Culture, and Spiritual Seeking: An Interview with Wade Clark Roof

    In this interview, discussion focuses on Roof’s work on the Baby Boom generation and beyond, particularly as expressed in his books A Generation of Seekers (1993) and Spiritual Marketplace (1999). In these books, Roof combined survey data with panel studies and interviews across a broad spectrum of Americans to describe the “quest culture” and “spiritual seeking” at the heart of America’s changing religious landscape, one which prizes “reflexive spirituality” amidst an increasingly pluralistic and evolving spiritual marketplace.

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    An interview with Véronique Altglas on “Bricolage”

    In this interview with Chris, Altglas discusses the complex genealogy of ‘bricolage’, tracing a movement from forms of cultural warfare to ‘playful, postmodern bricoleurs’ – what many might be tempted to dub ‘pick and mix spirituality’. However, as Altglas goes on to demonstrate, with a particular empirical focus upon Hindu-based Yoga centres and the Kabbalah centre, far from a carefree process of shopping at the ‘spiritual supermarket’, ‘the original meanings and otherness of elements used in this religious bricolage matter, and in fact limits, the popularization of “exotic” religions’.

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    Conference Report: International Society for Media, Religion and Culture Conference, 2014

    Report by Venetia Robertson, University of Sydney

    For four days at the beginning of August, I attended the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture (ISMRC) conference within the beautiful grounds of Canterbury Cathedral in England. Hosted by Professor Gordon Lynch of the University of Kent, this conference brought together scholars

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    Secular, Spiritual, Religious: American Religion Beyond the Baby Boomers, By Joseph Blankholm

    In acknowledging how capacious and even misleading the “religiously unaffiliated” label has become, we might wonder if its growth is symptomatic of a taxonomy that has failed to keep pace with restructuring.

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    Conference Report: The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association, 2014

    by Robert Arrowood, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

    On October 31 – November 2, the Marriot Hotel of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana hosted the 2014 annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) in conjuncture with the Religious Research Association (RRA). The major theme for SSSR was “Building Bridges” and beautifully

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    The Logics of Bricolage Reconsidered: A Cognitive Approach to Individuals and Their Constraints, by Kevin Whitesides

    This response is a defense of the academic interest in the individual, which I take to be inclusive of the variety of ways that the activities of individuals are constrained, or not, in any given context. All constraints are not equal.

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    Cognitive Science, Learning, and ‘Theory of Mind’, by Ann Taves

    Whether Luhrmann’s approach is “too cognitive” depends on how cognitive is defined. There is a narrow and a broader sense in which the term is used.

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    Having Coffee with God: Evangelical Interpretations of God as a Person Among People, by Shelby King

    Four decades ago, it would have seemed absurd to hear God characterized by American evangelical Christians in terms of personhood, with words such as audible, visible, or coffee-drinker.

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    Prayer, Pretense, and Personification: How God becomes real, with Tanya Luhrmann

    Luhrmann details the rise of evangelicals in the 60’s and 70’s, and how anthropological work can be informed by evolutionary psychology. This serves as a framework to understand the unique training processes that teach an individual that their mind is not only open to their own thoughts, but God’s as well. Luhrmann goes beyond a purely explanatory endeavor and is interested in understanding the processes that lead some to see God as “a person among people”.

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    Sámi Shamanism – Up Close and Personal, by Marianne Vigdis Henriksen

    Riddu Riddu has been important for the Sámi population as a meeting place as well as for people who have lost their connection to the Sámi and wish to learn.

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    David Wilson: Spiritualism and Shamanism

    Wilson’s ‘apprenticeship’ model not only gives us a way to conceptualise shamanism without recourse to sui generis discourse, but draws interesting parallels between indigenous cultures and the somewhat hidden world of heterodox religious practices in the West.

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    Now We Know Religion is Not Disappearing, by Essi Mäkelä

    Various new religious movements seek to establish a presence in politics through challenging the hegemony of traditional churches in a very peculiar way.

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    An interview with Kevin W. Gray on “The Postsecular”

    Discussion focuses upon the history of the ‘postsecular’, potential definitions, disciplinary and geographical differences, and ultimately suggests that ‘postsecularity’ is effectively dressing up ‘secularity’ in obfuscating clothing.

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    Narrative and Reflexivity in the Study of Religion: A Roundtable Discussion (Video and Audio!)

    The idea for this roundtable was that it would follow on directly from this week’s interview on religion and literature, but expand the discussion to cover a variety of points relating to narrative, autobiography and (auto)ethnography in the study of religion. Featuring Dr Wendy Dossett, Prof. Elaine Graham, Dr Dawn Llewellyn, Ethan Quillen, and Dr Alana Vincent.

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