History Repeated: Religious Conspiracy Theories Then and Now

In this episode, Maxinne Connolly-Panagopoulus discusses the range of Dr. Carmen Celestini's work on religious conspiracy theories, Christian apocalyptic thought its impacts on the American political system. and tracks some of the parallels between early and modern conspiracy theories. They cover early grassroots movements such as the Anti-Masonic Party and the Know Nothings, who sought to fight against what they perceived as a threat to Christian values from a New World Order. This is paralleled to QAnon and current theories which hold a similar distrust of the government, the media and beliefs of a Satanic New World Order. We then move to discuss The John Birch Society and how their form of improvisational conspiracism linked to contemporary right-wing mobilisation and the Christian Identity Organisation. Threaded throughout our discussion, we ask explore the motivations for joining such a movement and what keeps people there despite moving targets and failed prophecies. Finally, Carmen describes the state of the field of conspiracy movements today, and where she sees it going in the future.

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#ClassificationMatters | Discourse! September 2021 (with video)

In the first Discourse! episode of the new season, RSP co-founder David Robertson is joined by Ting Guo and Jacob Barrett to discuss three stories in which classification matters. In the first, they look at the recent New York Times article which asks explicitly, "What counts as religion?" when it comes to vaccine resistance. In the second, they discuss how religious groups from conservative Jews to the Satanic Temple are challenging Texas' abortion ban. In the third, they discuss how the image of Muslim women and the supposed religious nature of misogyny and authoritarianism plays into how states like Afghanistan are portrayed and managed by European and American powers.

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Deconstructing ‘Religion’ in Contemporary Japan

In this episode, Dr. Mitsutoshi Horii joins RSP co-editor Andie Alexander to discuss his recent book The Category of 'Religion' in Contemporary Japan: Shūkyō & Temple Buddhism (Palgrave Macmillan 2018). What is 'religion'? How and when did this term emerge in contemporary Japan? Tune in to learn more about how the classification of Temple Buddhism as religion is used in political, legal, and commercial contexts.

Mapping the Digital Study of Religion

In this episode, Dan Gorman speaks with Christopher Cantwell and Kristian Petersen about their anthology Digital Humanities and Research Methods in Religious Studies (2021), which is part of DeGruyter's "Introductions to Digital Humanities—Religion" series. They discuss the ethics and management of ongoing Digital Humanities projects, the opportunities afforded by mapping technology for understanding religious life, and the question of whether digital projects are recognized as genuine scholarship.

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