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Titus Hjelm on Marxist Approaches to the Study of Religions

“The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is indeed the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world.”

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  • ‘Religious Innovation and Religious Change in the 21st Century’ – 2015 CESNUR Conference Report

    CESNUR (Centre for Studies on New Religions, Torino) Annual Conference 2015, Tallinn University, Estonia, 17-20 June. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Dr. Carole M. Cusack, Department of Studies in Religion, The University of Sydney

    The 2015 CESNUR conference was held at University of Tallin, Estonia, and was

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    ‘Religious’ and ‘Spiritual’ Struggles: Now in ‘Nonreligious’ and ‘Nonspiritual’ flavors!

    In this interview, Dr. Julie Exline discusses what led to her interest in Struggles and some of the background behind the development of the Religious and Spiritual Struggle Scale. She goes on to talk about why the scale includes struggles relevant to both religious believers and nonbelievers and how this work related to some of her current work on god images in both groups.

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    Self-Report: We Can Do Better (And Are!)

    Those of us within psychology of religion who study secularity are privileged to be working in a time where secular beliefs and nonbelievers are starting to be taken seriously within the field as a whole.

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    2015 Conference on Religion and American Culture Report

    The Biennial “Conference on Religion and American Culture” was held June 4 to June 7, 2015 in Indianapolis. The conference is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and Religion & American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by

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    Is Religion Special? A Critical Look at Religion, Wellbeing and Prosociality

    Is religion good for your health and wellbeing? Does religion promote prosociality? While positive stereotypes prevail in these domains, studies also typically answer these questions in the affirmative and as such, it is easy to think that there must be something special, sui generis, or even perhaps supernatural at work, which increases psychological health and drives charitable behavior. In this interview, Luke Galen provides a critical assessment of the literature to date, and presents some of his own path-breaking work.

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    Rebecca Rushdoony Once Condemned a Cat as a Heretic

    Rushdoony, as he emerges in McVicar’s narrative, does not seem inspired by his own vision of biblical families.

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    Hyphenating Identities

    We find ourselves in a time when countries like the UK and the US are, even now, officially providing their citizens the option of identifying via the use of hyphenated ethnicities.

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    The Risks of Reconstruction

    What do we do when our access to documents is contingent on our neutrality? How much of what we can say about the rise of the Religious Right is similarly hindered by restrictions of speech or limited by access to sensitive personal documents?

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    Christian Reconstruction

    Rousas John Rushdoony might be one of the most important Christian theologians you’ve never heard of. In this interview, Professor Michael McVicar discusses Rushdoony and Christian Reconstruction. McVicar gained unprecedented access to Rushdoony’s personal files, archives, and correspondence, which provided invaluable data for McVicar’s book on Rushdoony, Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism.

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    Race and Religion: Intertwined Social Constructions

    In this interview, we focus the topic of race: particularly how it has been examined (and ignored) in the field of religious studies, how it has been confused with ethnicity, how race and religion have been theorized as mutually constitutive, limitations and occlusions in the study of race and religion, and why race is a category scholars of religion cannot afford to ignore.

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    “The Study of Religions in Ireland: People, Places, Projects” – 2015 ISASR Conference Report

    “The Study of Religions in Ireland: People, Places, Projects” Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR), Trinity College Dublin, May 11th 2015. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Dr. Eoin O’Mahony, Department of Geography, St Patrick’s College DCU

    The fourth annual conference of the Irish Society for

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    Learning to Unlearn “Religion”: Jason Ānanda Josephson on the Invention of Religion in Japan

    Would it be better to say “Japanese Religions”? How about “religions of Japan”? Or, is “religion” even the best word to use to describe the Japanese traditions we’re studying?

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    “Societies in Transition: Progression or Regression?” – BSA Conference Report

    “Societies in Transition: Progression or Regression?” British Sociological Association (BSA), University of Glasgow, 15-17 April 2015. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Rachel Hanemann.

    The British Sociological Association’s conference was held this year at the University of Glasgow.  The conference theme was “Societies in Transition: Progression and Regression, although

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    The Invention of Religion in Japan

    In this interview, Jason Josephson discusses the Japanese appropriation of the modern category of “religion.” He first describes how Shinto is typically represented in EuroAmerican religious studies courses. He then describes the various actors and processes (both European and native) that were involved in the Japanese appropriation of the modern category of religion, paying particular attention to the material and economic interests embedded in these larger processes.

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    Of Demon Kings and Protestant Yakṣas

    The disappointment of Western pacifists here is not unlike the reaction of early Orientalists who, disappointed by the ritualism and deity-worship they found in living Buddhist cultures, described a degenerate Buddhism.

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