Are You My Data? #3 - Ann Taves

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Thomas Coleman III
In this bumper episode of AYMD, Ann Taves talks to David Robertson about how she makes time to write, explanation versus interpretation, the metaphysics of mind, 'special things' in other disciplines, and what she has changed her mind about.

Religion, Food Waste, and Food Consumption (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
Anna Salonen explains how ethics is being involved in her studies of food waste and consumption by both religious and non-religious populations that live in affluent societies, such as Finland and Canada.

Buddhism in the critical classroom (Classroom Edit)

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Thomas Coleman III
How do we deal with different cultural languages when teaching an Introduction to Buddhism course? Is cultural familiarity something to be broken immediately and displaced by new concepts and perspectives? Is it to be leveraged as devices for easy onboarding to other, more unfamiliar terms and ideas? Are they to be outright ignored? David Robertson is joined by Matthew Hayes.

Critical Approaches to Pre-Islamic Arabia and Early Islam (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
Given the way in which many introductory courses present the history of early Islam and pre-Islamic Arabia, we may be tempted to think that the historical facts were well established and the narrative uncontested. However, this is far from the case. What evidence do we actually have from this period, and how may it challenge the conventional narratives that have become canonised in sacred and academic histories? What misconceptions might be challenged by modern epigraphic work, or the application of Social Identity theories to ancient texts? And why might this matter for contemporary Islam, contemporary Islamic Studies, and the critical study of religion more broadly? Joining Chris to discuss these questions, is Dr Ilkka Lindstedt of the University of Helsinki.

Demystifying the Study of Religion (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
In this podcast we have a group discussion about Russell McCutcheon's new book, Religion in Theory and Practice: Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Academics. Joining us on the podcast is not only the author himself, but two young scholars who also contributed to the book, Matt Sheedy and Tara Baldrick-Marone.

Nonreligion, Religion, and Public Health (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
The link between religion/spirituality (RS) and health is a recurring theme in the empirical literature within the psychology and sociology of religion, medical studies, and other disciplines. Although this research is usually limited to correlational studies, RS is often interpreted to be an important causal factor in positive health outcomes. This has led some academics, NGO's, and governments to argue that the putative health benefits of RS might be harnessed for public health and public policy more broadly. For example, the United States Army has recently launched a “spiritual health” program, and in the United Kingdom there is an ongoing debate about whether mindfulness meditation should be taught in schools. Government initiatives aside, what if the nonreligious are equally as healthy? In this podcast, Thomas J. Coleman III interviews Dr. David Speed on how research using nonreligious and nonbelieving samples problematizes some of the underlying assumptions of the relationship between RS and public health.

Discourse #7, April Edition

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Thomas Coleman III
This month on Discourse, Jaqueline Hargreaves, Jennifer Uzell and Theo Wildcroft approach the news from a Religious Studies perspective. We cover public responses to the Christchurch attack and the wearing of religious symbols as an act of solidarity. We discuss the boundaries of culture and religion, secularism and Buddhism, talking about the translation of mindfulness practices into indigenous Australian languages. Finally, we contemplate the intricate relationships between religious practice and materials, considering a number of recent news stories that involve fire and ash in acts of purification and consecration.

What is Mindfulness? A Critical Religious Studies Approach (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
Any casual user of social media can’t have missed the increasing number of adverts for dozens of ‘mindfulness’ apps. Perhaps you have encountered the term in the workplace or in a healthcare setting? It seems that, in the contemporary West, mindfulness is everywhere. But what is it? How popular is it? What is its connection to particular forms of Buddhism? Can it ever be considered wholly secular or is it necessarily religious? And why does this matter, and for whom? Today, Chris is joined by Ville Husgafvel of the University of Helsinki to discuss these important questions surrounding an increasingly pervasive phenomenon that has received little engagement from the critical religious studies community.

Atheism, New Religious Movements, and Cultural Tension (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
Extensive research has been conducted in exploration of the American religious landscape; however, only recently has social science research started to explore nonbelief in any detail. Research on nonbelief has been limited as most research focuses on the popularity of the religious “nones” or the complexities of alternative faith expressions such as spirituality. Through two studies, one qualitative and one quantitative, Dr. Christopher F. Silver's research explored how nonbelievers’ self-identify.

Discussing Pious Fashion and Muslim Dress Beyond the Headscarf (Classroom)

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Thomas Coleman III
In this discussion, we cover some key terms from Bucar’s book, such as what Pious Fashion is, why it might be defined that way, and how it helps further a conversation about Muslim women beyond the veil. We discuss the differences in performing fieldwork for this project in Iran, Indonesia, and Turkey. Connecting this research to Islamophobia and Muslim experience in America, Liz Bucar reflects on how modesty has become more mainstream.

Challenges and Responsibilities for the Public Scholar of Religion

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Thomas Coleman III
In this interview, Megan Goodwin examines the current state of public religious studies scholarship. “Public scholar” has become a buzzword in some corners of the discipline of religious studies, variously referring to scholars who share their research to a broader audience on social media platforms, in popular media outlets, or through multimedia such as podcasts and online video. As more scholars have entered these ranks, the broader field has taken notice.

LDS Garments and Agency (Classroom Edit)

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Thomas Coleman III
A candid discussion with Nancy Ross about Mormon women's experiences with wearing LDS garments. From the paper "LDS Garments and Agency: A Qualitative Study of Meaning" by Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan: "The form of LDS garments has changed over time, from wrist-to-ankle, single-piece long underwear, to versions that included short sleeves and legs, to the two-piece styles that are common today. One of the most difficult aspects of studying garments is that talking about them is a transgressive act." This is that boundary pushing discussion.

Discourse #6, March Edition: With Joel Ritala, Jarno Sandberg, Anton Stranden, and Martta Tenhu

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Thomas Coleman III
This special edition of #Discourse was recorded at the University of Helsinki in mid-February, with Chris and Study of Religion students Joel Ritala, Jarno Sandberg, Anton Stranden and Martta Tenhu. Topics covered include conspiracy theories, the entanglement of 'religion' in education and festive celebrations in Finland and the UK, the first amendment of the United States constitution, and a controversial conversion in the Netherlands.

Religion and Multiculturalism in Canada and Beyond (Classroom Edit)

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Thomas Coleman III
Dr. Wendy Fletcher is the co-author of "Space for Race: Decoding…

Christian Beauty Pageants: Beauty is in the eye of the creator (Classroom Edit)

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Thomas Coleman III
By comparing the Miss Christian America pageant to other more well known pageants Miss USA and Miss America, Chelsea's study provides a look at the intersections between religion, gender, and collective identity. Using Christian Smith's ideas of subcultural identity, Belanger examines how the structure of the Miss Christian pageant helps develop a unique form of embodied religion.