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Russell McCutcheon on ‘religion’ as ‘sui generis’

In this interview with Thomas Coleman, McCutcheon discusses what he terms as the “socio-political strategy” behind the label of “sui generis” as it is applied to religion. The interview begins by exploring some of the terms used to support sui generis claims to religion (e.g. un-mediated, irreducible etc.) followed by a brief overview on the rise of religious studies departments mid-20th century using such claims to obtain funding and autonomy from other disciplines. In closing, Dr. McCutcheon explains one example of how the ideological foundations of belief are ontology centered, examines how the term religion is “traded” and departs leaving us to consider the role of social agreement in defining what religion is or is not.

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  • Conference Report (and rant): Fandom and Religion, Leicester, 2015

    Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by our very own Venetia Robertson, RSP Editor and a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney.

    The University of Leicester hosted the Fandom and Religion conference this July 28-30 in affiliation with the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture network. A reasonably small conference

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    2015 APA Convention Report (Religion and Spirituality Research)

    Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by David Bradley, a PhD student at Case Western Reserve University.

    The American Psychological Association’s 123rd Annual Convention was held in Toronto, Ontario from August 6 through August 9, 2015.  Conferences often have an organizing theme, but the APA Convention is simply too big

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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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