Responses

Scholars in dialogue with our weekly podcast

Scholars in Dialogue with our weekly podcast

Our Latest response

Whose fetish?

Recognizing the influence of "Christian colonialist attitudes" on scholarly discourses about the value of sacred objects means understanding how we are all implicated by our field's ongoing use of the term "fetish." Echoing the lessons from Breann Fallon's interview with Prof. J. Lorand Matory, respondent Colby Dickinson calls us to account for the ways in which "we are all hypocritical in our assigning of values to certain things and downplaying the value in other things." This includes, he writes, the theories of fetishism by Marx and Freud to which our field seems inescapably connected.

Browse past responses

Health, Wealth, & Spiritual Warfare: The UCKG from Brazil to Australia

Get a global perspective on the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), whose Australian branches were discussed in our recent episode with Dr. Kathleen Openshaw.

Describing the UCKG as a leader in a global Pentecostal vanguard influencing the Catholic Church, respondents Professor Andrew Chesnut and Dr. Kate Kingsbury outline how the UCKG’s focus on health, wealth, and spiritual warfare have been critical to its success with migrants in Australian and around the world.

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How Ritual Reveals Margins and Marginalization in Buddhist Studies

Elaine Lai’s response to our roundtable on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Buddhist Ritual highlights the advantages of working across disciplines. In sum, Lai argues, this roundtable and all such interdisciplinary collaborations remind us of how embedded and contingent our terms can be. Those differences matter, especially as we work to decolonize the academy and democratize access to its efforts, for we must “remember that we are all first and foremost human… and it’s time to show up for one another with care,” she concludes.

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Books as Museums

Might books be a “space” like Museums for the sacred-secular work of Holocaust remembrance? In this response by Samuel J. Spinner to our season 9 episode with Avril Alba, stories take center stage as examples of “cultural innovation necessitated by catastrophe and catalyzed by a reworking of the relationship between people and texts.”

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Decolonizing Community-Based Service Learning: Processes and Praxes

What are the challenges for departments and universities as they teach Native American Studies using Community-Based Service Learning models? In this response by Lisa Poirier, we learn that the efforts to decolonize our curricula require not only new critical theorists, but a suffusing commitment to decolonization as transformation in what Natalie Avalos described as “a process of becoming.”

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Are NDEs Universal?

Writing about universalism in NDEs, Natasha Tassell-Matuma explains that “Languages reflect the cosmologies, ontologies, and epistemologies underlying cultures and are mutually constitutive in a culture’s practices, beliefs, ideologies, and norms. As such, when people speak, they are essentially drawing on a collective legacy that speaks to the socially-sanctioned worldview of the culture they affiliate with.”

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On the study of NDEs

In this response, Gregory Shushan writes, “The notion expressed by both Prof. Cotter and Dr. Schlieter in their recent interview that near-death experiences (NDEs) have been discussed in academic contexts primarily from medical/materialist and “paranormal” approaches is somewhat overstated – particularly in the study of religions and related fields such as anthropology.  Those who have undertaken and published research adopting a “critical religious studies approach, looking at these narratives in their social and historical contexts” will be surprised at the claim that such works are “largely absent”

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The African Shaman: Some Qualifications

Research methods are at the crux of James Cox’s response to Episode 334. ” By combining the techniques of epoché and empathetic interpolation,” Cox argues, “the researcher conveys respect for the beliefs, practices, and alternate therapies forming the African worldview without either sanctioning or refuting them.”

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The Rise and Fall of the Televised Public Square

The Rise and Fall of the Televised Public Square: A Response to Episode 327 “The Public Square and the Heart of the Culture Wars” with Benji Rolsky by James M. Patterson, Ave Maria University In his recent interview with the Religious Studies Project, Dr. Benji Rolsky offers a view of Norman Lear as a television producer and activist who used mass media entertainment to advance progressive messages about racial justice, opposition to American imperialism, and

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Imagining American and Japanese Religious Freedom

“Diversity often lets us realize that we have limited our scope with no deliberation,” writes Satoko Fujiwara in this response to Episode 332.

“Regarding the study of Japanese religions,” she continues, “diversity is even more necessary because scholars in the field have largely consisted of only two groups: Japanese scholars and white Westerners. It is too often as if only “white” scholars have the freedom to study anything and everything.”

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The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).