Roundtable: Should Religious Studies be Multidisciplinary?

/
Ninian Smart was a proponent of the idea that Religious Studies should be "poly-methodical"; but should Religious Studies as a discipline incorporate theories and methodologies from multiple other disciplines, such as sociology, anthropology or history? When RS departments have run on an interdisciplinary basis, have they been successful?
Elizabeth Ursic
Ethan Quillen
Jonathan Tuckett
Kevin Whitesides
Krittika Bhattacharjee
Liam Sutherland
Maegan gilliland
multidisciplinary
ninian smart
roundtable

Double Trouble: Some Reflections on (En)gendering the Study of Religion

/
Engaging gender as an important category of analysis in the study of religion is to interrogate, destabilise, and interrupt the ‘business-as-usual’ of the conceptual and organisational assumptions often employed in our highly dynamic yet historically and oft-times structurally androcentric discipline.
body
gender
George Loannides
Lizbeth Mikaelsson
men
religion
Sexuality
subjectivities
Sydney
women

What should we do with the study of new religions?

/
In the interview with Professor Eileen Barker, three broad themes are brought up. First, the definitions of ’new religious movement’ and ’cult’ are given a brief consideration. After this, Barker introduces the Inform network and its activities in distributing information and making the results of scientific research concerning new religious movements available to society at large.
Cults
Eileen Barker
Hanna Lehtinen
INFORM
New Religious Movements
NRMs

Anzac and Awe: Religion, Violence, and the Media in Australia

/
Jolyon Mitchell is Professor of Communications, Arts and Religion and Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh. In this latest podcast he discusses the relationship between religions and media, focusing on issues of violence and peace. This material touches on his upcoming book, Promoting Peace, Inciting Violence: The Role of Religion and Media (Routledge: 2012). In this text,
Australia
jolyon mitchell
media
religion
Sydney
violence
Zoe Alderton

A Response to Callum Brown: Connecting “When” and “Why” in Digital Religion, by Tim Hutchings

/
"My own field of research is digital religion, an area with a particularly troubled relationship to history. Scholars and commentators interested in digital culture and its significance for religion have struggled to distinguish what is truly new from what has come before, and continue to search for helpful ways to talk about change."
callum brown
Demography
Digital Religion
History
Sociology
Tim Hutchings

Roundtable: Can We Trust the Social Sciences?

/
In another roundtable gathering, conversation ranges from the strengths and weaknesses of such data, whether there is more to the social sciences than quantitative methods, and the place of the social sciences within a multi-disciplinary Religious Studies field. Can we trust social sciences when we study religion? Is a social scientific approach the future of religious studies?
Census
Christopher Cotter
David Robertson
Demography
Ethan Quillen
Katie Aston
Kevin Whitesides
Matthew Francis
religion
Religious Studies
Social Sciences
Sociology
Surveys

The Last Best Hope of Earth? Bron Taylor and the Limits of Dark Green Religion

/
Bron Taylor, Professor of Religion and Nature at the University of Florida, and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2008), may be the best interpreter of environmentalism as a religious project working today. His latest book, Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), argues that the constellation of spiritual and naturalistic worldviews
animism
Atheism
bron taylor
dark green religion
Dusty Hoesly
nature
religion
Santa Barbara
Spirituality
UCSB

Secularization: A Look at Individual Level Theories of Religious Change

/
While it is often argued that the secularization thesis only referred to macro-level secularization – the separation of religion from other societal spheres in the process of functional differentiation (cf. e.g. Wilson 1998) – there is no way of denying that most specific secularization theories also refer to a loss of significance of religion on the individual level, explicitly or implicitly,
America
Bjoern Mastiaux
Dusseldorf
Linda Woodhead
Religious Decline
Secularization

Religion’s common denominators, and a plea for data

/
Beit-Hallahmi rightly notes that psychologists of religion focus on the psychological common denominators that associate with religious beliefs. Some of these are cognitive processes; for instance, Barrett (2000) has discussed the ‘Hyperactive Agent Detection Device’, a cognitive feature whereby humans (and some animals) tend to misperceive the movements of objects in the world as intentional, even if the object is,
Beit-Hallahmi
Data
edinburgh
Longitudinal
psychology
religion
Stuart Ritchie

Divine Inspiration Revisited

/
When encountered for the first time, the idea of a fiction-based religion might seem quite ’far out’ and counter-intuitive. How is it possible to mix together religion (that, supposedly, deals with faith and so with a truth of some sort) and works of popular culture, which are clearly created by human imagination, and so are by definition not true?
Carole Cusack
Fiction-based Religions
Hanna Lehtinen
Invented Religions
jedi
Markus Davidsen
religion
Science Fiction
Tolkien

Ethnographic Fieldwork: Falling in Love or Keeping your Distance?

/
An anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork in Puerto Rico and in New York, examining, among other things, the lived experiences of possession and trance and as found among practitioners of Santería, Spiritism and other Afro-Cuban religious movements, Schmidt is well equipped to discuss the reality of undertaking ethnographic fieldwork on the topic of religion.
anthropology
Bettina Schmidt
Cambridge
ethnography
Fieldwork
Joseph Webster
religion

Roundtable: What is the Future of Religious Studies?

/
After this week’s podcast, which involved eight scholars giving their views on the future of Religious Studies, there was really only one way we could create a suitably collective and varied response – six postgrads sitting around a table, accompanied by pink gin and our trusty dictaphone. Conversation ranges from the public perception of what Religious Studies does, ...
Christopher Cotter
David Robertson
Ethan Quillen
Higher Education
Jonathan Tuckett
Kevin Whitesides
Liam Sutherland
Religious Studies

Circular Academia: Navigating the Dangerous Waters of Term Re-Assignment

/
" In our contemporary world we tend to find ourselves more absent-mindedly sailing toward the yawning mouth of that swirling vortex known as “a definition of religion.” We need to be cautious with the application of new terms. We seem too often prone to kneejerk patchwork, slathering layer upon layer of temporary fixes, either impudent in our knowledge of foundational issues, or victims of deep denial. We long to resolve ambiguity by applying more ambiguity, when we should just dig up the foundation and rebuild."
America
Christopher Cotter
Definition
Ethan Quillen
jay demerath
religion
Sacred

“Getting out there” with your research

/
"This post offers tips and advice for disseminating your research to a wider audience, beyond traditional academic mediums such as journals. This is based entirely on my own recent experience; as a Dickens scholar, the bicentenary celebrations brought about a number of opportunities and activities to talk about my research."
Charlotte Mathieson
Dickens
Press
Publications
publicity
Warwick

What to do with Davie’s ‘Vicarious Religion’?

/
Like with many of Grace Davie’s conceptualizations, the notion of “vicarious religion” is destined to garner much attention and debate. I must admit that when I first read about it, I rolled my eyes without really knowing why. Perhaps I predicted that the same puddle of ink would be spilt in debating the finer points of what was meant and what was actually meant by the new concept.
Amarnath Amarasingam
belief
David Voas
grace davie
Peter Berger
religion
Steve Bruce
Vicarious Religion