Exploring contemporary issues in the
academic study of religion through podcasts.

The Religious Studies Project is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organization (SCIO) devoted to producing engaging and accessible resources for the contemporary study of religion.

Since 2012, our weekly podcast and written response essays have featured hundreds of scholars sharing their research and expertise in religious studies.

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Explore our archive of 300 podcasts. Listen or read transcripts. Go deeper with scholarly responses.

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Our Latest Podcast

Ancient Christian Origins: A Heterogeneous History

In this week’s episode, the RSP’s Sidney Castillo talks with Professor William Arnal about ancient Christian origins and the development of Christianity through New Testament sources such as the Gospel of Thomas and Q.

Earlier episodes

Climate Change(s): New Approaches to Environmental and Agricultural Ethics

What can we learn about responding to climate change from small farms run by religious communities?

In this episode, the RSP’s Candace Mixon talks to Dr. Gretel Van Wieren about her career in environmental and agricultural ethics. Climate activism has deep religious roots, so join us for practical advice about bringing the diverse approaches of Christian, Jewish, and Muslims groups into the undergraduate religious studies classroom.

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Roots as Scripture and Scripture as Roots

Since its release in 1976, Alex Haley’s “Roots” has been a source of inspiration for generations of Americans. For Assistant Professor Richard Newton, Haley’s novel reveals the way that scriptures play critical roles in rooting, uprooting, and routing our lives. Listen now to this fascinating discussion with Dr. Newton about his new book “Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures” with RSP Co-Host Breann Fallon.

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Religious Festivals during COVID-19: Discourse! September 2020

How will religious festivals continue amid COVID-19 restrictions? How are religious communities around the world adapting to the pressures of 2020’s global pandemic? In this September episode of Discourse!, the RSP’s Sidney Castillo speaks with guests Maria Nita, Juan Manuel Rubio Arevalo, and Stefanie Butendieck.

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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.

Earlier 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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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).