Negotiating Gender in Contemporary Occultism

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In this interview conducted at the 2018 EASR conference in Bern, Sammy Bishop speaks to Manon Hedenborg White about the development of Western esotericism, charting the influence of the infamous Aleister Crowley and his philosophy of Thelema. They explore Crowley's somewhat ambiguous view of gender, before bringing the research into the present day, on how gender roles in contemporary Thelema can be contested and negotiated. Finally, Hedenborg White delves into the important but often overlooked role of women in the development of contemporary Occultism.
crowley
Esotericism
gender
Occultism
Sexuality
Thelema

A Global Study on Government Restrictions and Social Hostilities Related to Religion

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In this podcast, we speak with Dr. Katayoun Kishi, who oversaw the ninth in a series of reports by Pew Research Center analyzing the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. We discuss the findings of the report as well as methodology for collecting and analyzing data. Dr. Kishi summarizes findings for different regions of the world--including the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa--and she explains long-term trends evident from Pew's reports.
annual report
global religion
government restrictions
Pew
social hostilities

Religion, Education, and Politics in Australia and NZ

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Following on from the delivery of her conference paper at the EASR 2018 in Bern, in this podcast, Professor Marion Maddox of Macquarie University speaks to Thomas White regarding the historical, national and regional differences in the presence of religion in Australian and New Zealand schools.
Australia
Education
New Zealand
policy
Politics

New Directions in the Study of Scientology

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Scientology seems almost exclusively to be considered fair game (pun intended) for ridicule and criticism among New Religious Movements, and this may have much to tell us about the theoretical models scholars are using, and the institutional factors at play in the legitimisation of particular traditions in the academic and popular discourse. We discuss insider scholarship and the control of information; the Free Zone and the Church; strategic use of the category 'religion'; and how we see scholarship developing in the post-Hubbard era
Cults
New Religious Movements

The Hugging Guru: Amma and Transnationalism

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In this interview conducted at the 2018 EASR conference in Bern, Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger speaks to Sammy Bishop about Amma, a guru who has become world famous for her healing hugs - apparently giving more than 33 million hugs over the past 30 years. They discuss the ways in which different audiences can interpret Amma's message, and how she reconnects Hindus in diaspora with their traditions.
Amma
diaspora
guru
Guruism
hinduism
Transnational

RE Commission report: A Way Forward?

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At a recent RE research and policy conference #2020RE, Dr Wendy Dossett had the opportunity to chat with two of the Commissioners and authors of the Religion and Worldviews report, Dr Joyce Miller and Prof Eleanor Nesbitt, along with Religious Education sociologist (and convener of SOCREL), Céline Benoit. Their conversation ranged over some of the following issues: the rationale for the move from calling the subject ‘Religious Education’ to ‘Religion and Worldviews’; the inadequacy for the classroom of a world religions approach; the degree to which faith communities are entitled to influence what gets taught in schools; and the anomaly of the so-called withdrawal clause.
Religious Education
world religions paradigm
worldviews

Preserving identity and empowering women. How do Canadian Muslim schools affect their students?

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In this interview, Dr. Jasmin Zine talks about Muslim schools in Canada and their impact on their students’ identity development and integration in the society. Having served for decades as a tool to preserve a particular religious identity, Islamic schooling also plays a crucial role in empowering female students. In some cases, Muslim schools have become a safe haven, especially for women, “a place where their identity is not in question, where they can feel safe and comfortable”.
faith-centered education
integration
Muslim schools
religious identity

The 'secular', the 'religious', and the 'refugee' in Germany

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Ever since the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the ‘refugee’ in Germany has been constructed in a variety of ways that are implicated in specific co-constitutive notions of the ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ that exert symbolic power by naturalizing certain notions of the religious and thereby the secular while excluding others and feeding back into the subject formation (or subjectivation) of people classified as ‘refugees’. In this process certain positions are produced as hegemonic while others are classified as not acceptable (e.g., “radical”, “not European” or “anti-humanist”).
Discourse
Foucault
Germany
Migration
power relations
Refugee

A Dark Goddess: An inter-religious language for feminine spirituality

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Ross Downing interviews academic and vlogger Áine Warren about her research and fieldwork experience of the Dark Goddess; a contemporary Pagan feminist figure being fed into by women from all over the world and from many religious backgrounds. The inspiration of Jungian psychology is discussed and the development of a media-based theology or thealogy.
contemporary paganism
female spiritual experience
feminist religious discourse
goddess spirituality

Representations of Religious Studies in Popular Culture

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Given that popular cultural representations are more likely to shape public perceptions about what the study of religion is and who does it than either direct experience in the classroom or statistics about graduation rates and job placements, we hope that you will agree that we should try to understand what these perceptions are. In this podcast, Chris speaks with Professors Brian Collins and Kristen Tobey about this fascinating and important topic.
academia
Dan Brown
Education
Film
Indiana Jones
Literature
Novels
Popular Culture
Social Construction
Stereotype

Ecospirituality, Gender and Nature

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Is, as Sherry Ortner once asked, Female to Nature as Male is to Culture? Where does this discourse come from? How does this gendering of nature intersect with contemporary forms of ecospirituality? And religion more generally? Why does it matter? And for whom? Joining Chris today to discuss these questions and more, is Dr Susannah Crockford of Ghent University.
Activism
Arizona
Ecospirituality
environmentalism
feminism
gender
nature
new age
Politics
Spirituality

What is the point of of academic conferences?: A roundtable discussion

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Why attend conferences? What is the point? What else could we do instead that might be a better use of our time? And how did we find having a fully-functional podcast studio set up at this conference? These are just a few of the issues that crop up in this lively roundtable discussion, facilitated by the inestimable Moritz Klenk.
academia
Conferences
Podcasting
Religious Studies

The Gods of Indian Country

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Dr. Jennifer Graber's new book, "The Gods of Indian Country," grew out of lingering questions from her first book, a study of American Quakers and prisons. Graber learned that Quakers served as missionaries to Native American reservations in the West. She combined this interest in Quaker missions with her research into Native American captivity, so that the resulting narrative contrasts the motives of U.S. officials with Kiowa captives on an Oklahoma reservation.
American West
Art History
colonialism
Empathy
Incarceration
Kiowa
material culture
Native American
Oklahoma
United States

What we can learn from our Founding Fathers

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In this discussion, Professor Schmidt discusses her keynote lecture at the Open University's "Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspectives: Publics and Performances". We turn back to discuss some of the "founding fathers" of the discipline of Religious Studies: Rudolf Otto, R.R. Marrett, and Andrew Lang.
Andrew Lang
Bettina Schmidt
Dance
R.R. Marret
religious experience
rudolf otto
Trance

Spirituality

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To discuss 'spirituality', we are joined by Boaz Huss and Steven Sutcliffe. We discuss the genealogy of 'spirituality', and its contemporary significance, with particular reference to the New Age movement. The second half focuses on how spirituality may trouble the religion / secular distinction, and its implications for the critical study of religion.
boaz huss
commercialism
David Robertson
new age
Popular Religion
secularisation
Secularism
Spirituality
steven sutcliffe