The Hugging Guru: Amma and Transnationalism

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In this interview conducted at the 2018 EASR conference in Bern, Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger speaks to Sammy Bishop about Amma, a guru who has become world famous for her healing hugs - apparently giving more than 33 million hugs over the past 30 years. They discuss the ways in which different audiences can interpret Amma's message, and how she reconnects Hindus in diaspora with their traditions.
Amma
diaspora
guru
Guruism
hinduism
Transnational

RE Commission report: A Way Forward?

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At a recent RE research and policy conference #2020RE, Dr Wendy Dossett had the opportunity to chat with two of the Commissioners and authors of the Religion and Worldviews report, Dr Joyce Miller and Prof Eleanor Nesbitt, along with Religious Education sociologist (and convener of SOCREL), Céline Benoit. Their conversation ranged over some of the following issues: the rationale for the move from calling the subject ‘Religious Education’ to ‘Religion and Worldviews’; the inadequacy for the classroom of a world religions approach; the degree to which faith communities are entitled to influence what gets taught in schools; and the anomaly of the so-called withdrawal clause.
Religious Education
world religions paradigm
worldviews

Preserving identity and empowering women. How do Canadian Muslim schools affect their students?

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In this interview, Dr. Jasmin Zine talks about Muslim schools in Canada and their impact on their students’ identity development and integration in the society. Having served for decades as a tool to preserve a particular religious identity, Islamic schooling also plays a crucial role in empowering female students. In some cases, Muslim schools have become a safe haven, especially for women, “a place where their identity is not in question, where they can feel safe and comfortable”.
faith-centered education
integration
Muslim schools
religious identity

The 'secular', the 'religious', and the 'refugee' in Germany

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Ever since the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the ‘refugee’ in Germany has been constructed in a variety of ways that are implicated in specific co-constitutive notions of the ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ that exert symbolic power by naturalizing certain notions of the religious and thereby the secular while excluding others and feeding back into the subject formation (or subjectivation) of people classified as ‘refugees’. In this process certain positions are produced as hegemonic while others are classified as not acceptable (e.g., “radical”, “not European” or “anti-humanist”).
Discourse
Foucault
Germany
Migration
power relations
Refugee

A Dark Goddess: An inter-religious language for feminine spirituality

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Ross Downing interviews academic and vlogger Áine Warren about her research and fieldwork experience of the Dark Goddess; a contemporary Pagan feminist figure being fed into by women from all over the world and from many religious backgrounds. The inspiration of Jungian psychology is discussed and the development of a media-based theology or thealogy.
contemporary paganism
female spiritual experience
feminist religious discourse
goddess spirituality

Representations of Religious Studies in Popular Culture

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Given that popular cultural representations are more likely to shape public perceptions about what the study of religion is and who does it than either direct experience in the classroom or statistics about graduation rates and job placements, we hope that you will agree that we should try to understand what these perceptions are. In this podcast, Chris speaks with Professors Brian Collins and Kristen Tobey about this fascinating and important topic.
academia
Dan Brown
Education
Film
Indiana Jones
Literature
Novels
Popular Culture
Social Construction
Stereotype

Ecospirituality, Gender and Nature

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Is, as Sherry Ortner once asked, Female to Nature as Male is to Culture? Where does this discourse come from? How does this gendering of nature intersect with contemporary forms of ecospirituality? And religion more generally? Why does it matter? And for whom? Joining Chris today to discuss these questions and more, is Dr Susannah Crockford of Ghent University.
Activism
Arizona
Ecospirituality
environmentalism
feminism
gender
nature
new age
Politics
Spirituality

What is the point of of academic conferences?: A roundtable discussion

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Why attend conferences? What is the point? What else could we do instead that might be a better use of our time? And how did we find having a fully-functional podcast studio set up at this conference? These are just a few of the issues that crop up in this lively roundtable discussion, facilitated by the inestimable Moritz Klenk.
academia
Conferences
Podcasting
Religious Studies

The Gods of Indian Country

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Dr. Jennifer Graber's new book, "The Gods of Indian Country," grew out of lingering questions from her first book, a study of American Quakers and prisons. Graber learned that Quakers served as missionaries to Native American reservations in the West. She combined this interest in Quaker missions with her research into Native American captivity, so that the resulting narrative contrasts the motives of U.S. officials with Kiowa captives on an Oklahoma reservation.
American West
Art History
colonialism
Empathy
Incarceration
Kiowa
material culture
Native American
Oklahoma
United States

What we can learn from our Founding Fathers

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In this discussion, Professor Schmidt discusses her keynote lecture at the Open University's "Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspectives: Publics and Performances". We turn back to discuss some of the "founding fathers" of the discipline of Religious Studies: Rudolf Otto, R.R. Marrett, and Andrew Lang.
Andrew Lang
Bettina Schmidt
Dance
R.R. Marret
religious experience
rudolf otto
Trance

Spirituality

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To discuss 'spirituality', we are joined by Boaz Huss and Steven Sutcliffe. We discuss the genealogy of 'spirituality', and its contemporary significance, with particular reference to the New Age movement. The second half focuses on how spirituality may trouble the religion / secular distinction, and its implications for the critical study of religion.
boaz huss
commercialism
David Robertson
new age
Popular Religion
secularisation
Secularism
Spirituality
steven sutcliffe

“Soka Gakkai, Kōmeitō and the religious voices of Japan’s political arena

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Throughout Japanese history, religion has always coloured and influenced the matters of the state. Religious validation of imperialist aggression and Japan’s war efforts in the first half of the 20th century is just one example of this.
Japan
Japanese new religions
Komeito
religion and politics
Soka Gakkai

Muslim Superheroes

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A. Dave Lewis joins us again for a discussion of representations of Muslims in superhero comics. We talk about some positive representations, like Kamala Khan, Marvel's new Ms Marvel, and some less-than-positive portrayals, like Frank Millar's Holy Terror!
A Dave Lewis
comics
David Robertson
Islam
Ms Marvel
Popular Culture
representation
Superheroes

Worldviews and Ways of Life

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Ann Taves joins us to discuss her work arguing that we should study religions under the broader rubric of "worldviews" and "ways of life". This ambitious interdisciplinary project aims to place a micro-level analysis of individual worldviews into a broader evolutionary perspective.
AA
alcoholics
ann taves
cognitive science of religion
evolutionary
interdisciplinary
psychology
Psychology of Religion
Secularism
ways of life
worldviews

From Static Categories to a River of Theories: "The Myth of Disenchantment"

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In a free wheeling conversation, Dr. Jason Josephson-Storm and Dan Gorman discuss the intellectual history of religious studies and the myth that magic is dead.
Comparative Literature
Continental Philosophy
Critical theory
Intellectual History
Japan
Modernization
Occultism
postmodernism
religion
Religious Studies
spiritualism