Studying “Non-Ordinary Realities”: A Roundtable Discussion

Bettina Schmidt and David Wilson organised a series of panels at the 2014 BASR Conference in Milton Keynes on the topic of “Studying Non-Ordinary Realities”, as part of the conference’s “Cutting Edge” sub-theme. We managed to make time to get Bettina and David, along with panel participants Fiona Bowie and RSP

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    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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  • Philip Almond on Witchcraft and Demonic Possession in Early Modern England

    Emeritus Professor Philip Almond discusses his work on witchcraft and demonic possession in early modern England, including issues such as the “familiar cultural script” that was usually played out, the strategic interests of those making accusations, and the broader context of post-Reformation turmoil in which confessional claims to truth took on new urgency.

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    Taking Witchcraft and Possessions Seriously with Philip Almond, By David McConeghy

    When the past has provided us as many truly excellent documents as early modern Europe has on witchcraft and possessions, what need have we to inject ourselves into their discussions?

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    The Invention of the Emerging Church Movement, By Travis Cooper

    It might help to consider what exactly terms like “The Emerging Church Movement” (ECM) and its terminological correlates (e.g., emerging, emergence, or emergent) intend to describe.

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    Resisting Conformity at the Margins of Marginal Christianity, By Katharine Sarah Moody

    Acknowledging the difficulties surrounding the identification and definition of a subject of study that is not only deliberately diverse but also intentionally resistant to definition, Ganiel and Martí nonetheless discern within emerging Christianity a distinct religious orientation built around the practice of deconstruction.

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    The “Emerging Church”: An Interview with Gladys Ganiel

    The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is notoriously difficult to define. What are scholars of ‘religion’ to do with a trend seemingly emerging both within and without many contemporary manifestations of (Western) Christianity, that is both anti-institutional and ecumenical, aims to avoid hierarchies and power structures, embraces creativity, deconstruction and experimentation, and actively promotes a ‘neutral’ and ‘non-judgmental religious space’ where almost anything goes? In this week’s podcast, Chris is joined by Dr Gladys Ganiel to discuss this ‘problematic’, important and boundary-pushing phenomenon.

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    The Faith of the Killable: A Faith for Empowerment? By Carmen Guevara

    This framework of socioeconomic disparity and violence is key to understand how entire population sectors in Río become and remain killable people, and to assess the serious restraints that inmates who proceed from these sectors will face again, once their time in prison is finished.

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    Leonard Norman Primiano: Studying Vernacular Religion in the US

    Vernacular religion is a subject which fascinates us here at the RSP, because in keeping with our critical perspective, it challenges that idea that neat categorical boundaries may be drawn, and reminds us that when attempts are made to draw them, particular interests are being served. David Robertson was given

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    Os serés matáves: An Interview on Pentecostalism in the Prisons of Rio, with Dr. Andrew Johnson

    For Brazil’s “killable people”, there are two prevalent ways to deal with the relative hell of prison – both involving allegiance and devotion. You can give your life to the gang or give your life to God. Only three types of people dare to venture into the heart of a Minas Gerais prison: the condemned, the pentecostal pastors leading the prison ministry, and curiously brave sociologists such as Dr. Andrew Johnson.

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    Religion and memory, by Hannah Holtschneider

    “By shifting attention to the performance of religion, neuroscience might help understand the processes in the brain which support or bring forth such practices. This could then lead to better understandings of the workings of memory, the invocation of ‘religion’, and the relations between these, without essentialising strategies.”

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    “Religion and Memory”, an interview with Alexandra Grieser

    In the year 2000, English-speaking scholars interested in ‘religion’ were introduced (in translation) to one of the most important texts in the sociology of religion in recent years, Danièle Hervieu-Léger’s “Religion as a Chain of Memory”. This book placed the study of ‘religion and memory’ firmly on the academic agenda,

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    Conference Report: Religious History Association Biennial Conference/Australian Historical Association Annual Conference 2014

    Conference report by Josip Matesic, PhD Candidate, University of Wollongong

    The University of Queensland hosted last month (8-10 July) the biennial conference of the Religious History Association (RHA). The conference itself was one stream of a larger conference: the annual conference for the Australian Historical Association (AHA) (7-11 July). The theme

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    Conference Report: North American Patristics Society (NAPS) May 2014

    Conference report by Nathaniel J. Morehouse, PhD, University of Manitoba

    Between Thursday May 22 through Saturday May 24, the North American Patristics Society held its annual conference in Chicago. Attendance this year was an all-time high with nearly 400 members attending, and roughly 300 paper presentations over 75 sessions. It was

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    Conference Report: International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR) 5th Biennial Conference

    The RSP would like to thank Christopher Kavanagh for writing the conference report.

    For the past few days I attended the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion’s (IACSR) 5th Biennial Conference. The theme this year was focused on addressing the state of the field, 25 years after the cognitive

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    What “in the world” is theory?, by Kati Curts

    Despite Meyer’s own resistance to being named a theorist, I argue that her sensational mediation is a form of theory making, one which more students of religion should embrace.

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