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

Nuancing the Qual-Quan Divide: The Vitality of Research Methods in the Academic Study of Religion

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Christopher Cotter
By using “vitality” in the title above, I mean to point to two aspects of the same urgent call. First, I simply mean that research methods are vital to the academic study of religion. As Stausberg and Engler suggest, “it is through methods that data and theory speak to each other and become part of a shared horizon” (2011: 11), and indeed it is still not a platitude to recall that theory, method and data can be considered three sides of that triangle we conjure, whether implicitly or explicitly,
anthropology
canada
David Voas
methods
qualitative
quantitative
Religious Studies
research methods
Sociology
yasaman s munro

Vernacular Religion: Because you’ll Find More than the Devil in the Details

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There is an important message embedded in Marion Bowman’s notion of “vernacular religion”–that when we plant our feet firmly on the ground, amidst the fray of religious life, we are confronted with the unmistakable heterogeneity of both belief and practice. As living people “do religion” on the ground it may not always resemble the religion of the Qur’an, the Vatican or your Buddhism 101 textbook.
belief
Boston University
Folk Religion
glastonbury
Lived Religion
marion bowman
Nancy Ammerman
Per Smith
Popular Religion
religion
Ritual
vernacular religion

Marx, Spiritualism and Power

I begin this response to Titus Hjelm’s discussion of the continuing relevance of Marxist approaches to the study of religion by noting his assertion that Marx is underemployed as a source of ideas, partly because he has generally been regarded as critical of religion. A number of additional reasons are also relevant. One difficulty for Marxist scholars has been the extent to which the predictive power of Marxist models was brought into question as the twentieth century unfolded.
david wilson
marx
Power
shamanism
spiritualism
titus hjelm

The Faith-Spangled Banner: Changes in American attitudes and belief in all directions

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Christopher Cotter
In contemplating a response to Prof Ariela Keysar’s interview with the Religious Studies Project over her work as Associate Director of ISSSC and its most famous endeavour, ARIS, I was struck by the dilemma faced when introducing myself to people here in the UK and telling them where I am from. The replies range from everywhere and between,
America
Ariela Keysar
belief
change
Lindsey Arielle Askin

The Spirit of the Matter: a Neo-Tylorian Response to Timothy Fitzgerald

In the interview regarding ‘religion, non-religion and mystification’ Timothy Fitzgerald is quite correct to chide many for failing to critically reflect on the terms they employ. Like all of the core concepts of the Social Sciences: culture, society, politics, ethnicity and ritual are concepts which have been handed down to us from the West and were greatly transformed in the modern era, though ideology is the only one to be specifically coined in this period.
edinburgh
Liam Sutherland
mystification
Neo-Tylorian
Nonreligion
religion
stirling
timothy fitzgerald
Tylor

In Saecula Saeculorum: Reflecting on the Age/Aeon in light of the Cappadocian Fathers

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Christopher Cotter
Drawing on my own research and interdisciplinary interests, the following response to Professor Tariq Modood’s podcast entitled ‘The Crisis of European Secularism’ will consist in a summary of his main thesis, followed by a statement of the challenge I seek to address, namely the anthropocentrism inherent in (some forms of) contemporary secularism; particularly its neglect of religion/God and the cosmos.
Cappadocia
David Robertson
Mario Baghos
religion
Secularization
St Andrew's
Sydney
tariq modood
Theology

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