Secular Sacreds and the Sacred Secular

"Reframing understandings of (non)religion according to types of sacred which are independent of religious categories, allows (non)religious identities to be conceptualised to acknowledge the simultaneous intersection of multiple subjectively compatible (yet seemingly contradictory) religious and/or nonreligious identities, and paves the way for scholars to take religion seriously whilst avoiding unwarranted reverence."
Christopher Cotter
gordon lynch
Kim Knott
Nonreligion
Sacred
Secularization

Multiplying The Modernities: Reflections on the 2012 AASR/AABS Conference

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"Overall, the conference featured ninety speakers, presenting one presidential address, two memorial lectures, and eighty-eight papers. They covered an impressive array of topics, from the spiritual aspects of home-birthing, to the phenomenon of Christians that seek membership of outlaw motorcycle clubs, to religious pilgrimage in Myanmar, and Shariah in the context of Australian law."
AASR
Australia
Conferences
Morandir Armson
Sydney

Redefinition of the eclectic group-identity

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"In a way, when registering themselves, non-institutional religious groups take a step toward being more institutional and possibly even hierarchical – even if there is not much of hierarchy within the group to begin with." In the podcast Suzanne Owen refers to the Druidry's manifold self-identification situation. It seems to me this is a wide-spread phenomenon where there are conflicting ideas about how 'religion'...
Charity
Definition
Discordianism
Druidry
Essi Makela
Helsinki
Law
Suzanne Owen

The Twilight of Esoteric Wanders and Academic Ponders

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"If one is to understand esotericism as a general term of identification reproduced through articulated fields of discourse, Western esotericism can be treated as a historical phenomenon without being nominalistic or idealistic, but instead as a field of discourses of interpretation interacting." One of the most influential scholars in the contemporary academic study of Western esotericism is beyond doubt the erudite and highly productive Wouter J. Hanegraaff, professor ...
Damon Lycourinos
Discourse
edinburgh
Esotericism
Gnosis
Magic
Occult
Western Esotericism
Wouter Hanegraaff

Prophecy and American Millennialism

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"RastafarI is itself a millennial movement with the belief that Haile Selassie I is the God Liberator, an avatar returned to restore True Salvation for the subaltern people of African lineage. It is also a revolutionary movement which wants to change the lot of Africans..." J. Gorton Melton is a leading academic specialist on new religious movements, a scholar of occultists, Scientologists, Rosicrucianists, Neopagans, ...
America
gordon melton
Italy
Merzia Coltri
millennialism
New Religious Movements
NRMs
prophecy
RastafarI

A Word by Any Other Name: The Emergent Field of Non-religion and the Implications for Social Meaning

"As I write this response, I find myself in an inner struggle as a Social Scientist. In one sense Dr Lee’s podcast and my subsequent response beg a question of causation. For me the question has its origins in the psychological. Does atheism and/or agnosticism lead to secularization and by proxy non-religious systems of meaning? Or as a social movements continue to gain adherents, do we see a diffusion of new ideas."
Atheism
Christopher Silver
lois lee
Nonreligion
Terminology

Reflections on the 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism

"What is important to remember is that esotericism cannot be essentialised – it is an emerging and expanding phenomenon and field of study. What one scholar does not investigate or consider becomes the domain of another as our scope progressively widens and diversifies."
Conferences
Egil Asprem
Esotericism
Kennet Granholm
Stockholm
Venetia Robertson
Western Esotericism

Ethics on the Internet: Public versus Private, is it that simple?

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Christopher Cotter
In this week’s podcast about religion and digital media, Tim Hutchings and Jonathan Tuckett discuss various areas of current research into religion and digital media, such as use of online forums, creation of prayer groups and pages, and also the use of virtual worlds like Second Life in people’s religiosity, and the ability to construct churches and temples in such settings.
Digital Religion
Ethics
Gaming
Internet
Lauren Bernauer
Research
Tim Hutchings

Ends and Beginnings: A Reflection on the 2012 EASR Conference

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"If I had to choose I would say my favourite thing about these conferences was seeing young and vibrant postgraduate students presenting their craft. I was continuously impressed and excited by the high quality scholarship, ideas, and conversations presented and stimulated by my peers." To open the 2012 conference for the European Association for the Study of Religions (in conjunction with the International Association for the History of Religion)...
Conferences
EASR
New Religious Movements
NRMs
religion
Stockholm
Sydney
Venetia Robertson

Finding space for nonreligion? Further possibilities for spatial analysis

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Christopher Cotter
What exactly is the mode of existence of social relationships? Are they substantial? natural? or formally abstract? The study of space offers an answer according to which the social relations of production have a social existence to the extent that they have a spatial existence; they project themselves into a space, becoming inscribed there, and in the process producing that space itself. Failing this,...
Katie Aston
Kim Knott
Lefebvre
Location
Nonreligion
religion
Space
Spatial Analysis

Why are Women more Social than Men?

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"As a psychologist, my emphasis and interest is in the properties of individuals (or the situations of individuals) that underlie behaviors. Given that women are more agreeable and conscientious than men and that they mentalize more than men, it is not surprising that women are more involved in the social and ritual aspects of human behavior and, therefore, with religion."
Cognition
Cognitive Science
Erika Salomon
gender
Marta Trzebiatowska
Mentalization
psychology
religion
Socialization
women

Material Religion and Visual Culture: Objects as Visible, Invisible and Virtual

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David Morgan, Professor of Religion at Duke University, has written extensively on the subject of material and visual culture. In a recent interview with Christopher Cotter, he provides an overview of the field of material religion and introduces his new book The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (2012). In this review, I briefly tease out some of the themes from the interview, present a few snippets from some of Morgan’s publications and finally,
Buddhism
David Morgan
Embodiment
louise connelly
Material Religion
Virtual Worlds
Visual Culture

Roundtable: Building an Academic Career

During her recent trip to the UK, the Religious Studies Project managed (with the promise of copious Pink Gin) to persuade Professor Carole Cusack to take part in a roundtable discussion. She suggested that we discuss how to build an academic career – advice which she has been generous with to many people in the past. That having been agreed, ...
academia
advice
Career
Carole Cusack
Christopher Cotter
Conferences
David Robertson
Jonathan Tuckett
Journals
Kevin Whitesides
louise connelly
networking
Publishing
teaching

Roundtable: Critics or Caretakers?

This discussion brings together a number of aspiring academics to reflect on some of the issues brought up in a recent podcast in a friendly and hilarious manner. The question cuts to the core of what academics who study religion are doing… are they taking care of religion? Are they antagonising it? What should they be doing? And judging by the various long tangents through which discussion meanders, the question certainly sparked our interest.
Anna Clot i Garrell
anthropology
Caretakers
Christopher Cotter
Critics
David Robertson
Ethan Quillen
Jonathan Tuckett
Katie Aston
religion
Sociology
Ting Guo

So What Is Religion Anyway? Power, Belief, the Vestigial State

Prof. Goldenberg’s interview raises as many questions as it answers, in a good way. It seems to square the circle. She puts the topic of “religion” into context by making it disappear — or, to put it less cryptically, she insists that the codes by which we understand religion to be defined, and perhaps “made official”, are in fact no different from any other codes of law.
Definition
Jason Hartford
Naomi Goldenberg
Politics
Power
religion
theory