Liam Sutherland

Liam Sutherland is a first year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh looking at religious communities and constructions of Scottish national identity, although not leaving behind his Masters obsession with E.B. Tylor and the definition of religion. He has written and recorded a review of Graham Harvey’s Food, Sex and Strangers, as well as An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy, The Spirit of the Matter: a Neo-Tylorian Response to Timothy Fitzgerald and A Brief Re-Examination of the Concept of Belief in the Study of Religion for the Religious Studies project, and participated in roundtable recordings on What is the Future of Religious Studies? and Should Religious Studies be Multidisciplinary?

Contributions by Liam Sutherland

podcast

Roundtable: What is the Future of Religious Studies?

After this week’s podcast, which involved eight scholars giving their views on the future of Religious Studies, there was really only one way we could create a suitably collective and varied response – six postgrads sitting around a table, accompanied by pink gin and our trusty dictaphone. Conversation ranges from the public perception of what Religious Studies does, ...

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podcast

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?

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response

An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy

The interview with Graham Harvey on Animism was of particular interest to me because my Masters thesis concerns the theoretical relevance of the work of E.B Tylor, credited with introducing the concept of Animism to scholarship. Harvey related Animism back to the work of Tylor but when offered a definition of Animism by the interviewer (David Robertson), as “the attribution of a soul of some kind to non-human beings”...

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response

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.

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response

A Brief Re-Examination of the Concept of Belief in the Study of Religion

"Belief [...] can be used as a concept to bridge [...] frameworks, to allow scholars to understand and appreciate the framework within which religious actors presume to act without using it themselves (or necessarily having to adopt it)." The work of Professor Martin Stringer is a breath of fresh air for all those who reject both the simplistic belief-centred approach to religion and its attendant backlash.

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podcast

Roundtable on Religious Studies and Academic Credibility beyond 'World Religions'

A while back a few of us gathered for what became the first of a 'successful' bout of roundtables conducted by a cadre of 'amazing people' with differing and 'unique' opinions. In that first ‘test’ for the ones that would follow, six of us gathered together to discuss the ‘future of religious studies.’

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podcast

Book Reviews, May, 2014 - Graham Harvey, Morgan Luck, and James Cox

Publishers just keep asking us to review their books. And who are we to refuse? Free books! So we've now decided to make book reviews a regular feature of the RSP. The format is exactly the same as it was previously. We handed out a few books to some of our friends and sat them down (or at least tried in one case)...

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podcast

"Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge": A Roundtable Discussion

It's time for another RSP roundtable, folks. Thanks very much to Liam for facilitating this, and to Angus, Essi, George and Hanna for joining him for a stimulating discussion. This year scholars from across the globe gathered in the city of Groningen in the north-west of the Netherlands...

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response

The Gamrie Brethren: At the Heart of Cosmic Struggle and the Fringes of the Imagined Community

I hope I can place Webster’s research [on the Scottish Brethren] in the wider social and historical context, the ‘national level’ alongside the ‘local’ and ‘global’ ones. In the RSP's interview with Joe Webster, listeners are treated to rich ethnographic data which reveal how an immediate ‘local’ context is embedded in ‘global’ processes and networks. Webster conducted his fieldwork in the fishing village of Gardenstown or ‘Gamrie’ in Aberdeenshire, in the north-east of Scotland.

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podcast

Christmas Special 2015 - Fourteen to One!

Fourteen contestants. One tetchy quizmaster. Three microphones. Numerous cases of wine. One glamorous assistant. Many bruised egos. A boisterous studio audience. A splash of irreverence. Dozens of questions. Four years of podcasts! A rapidly diminishing reservoir of academic credibility. And far, far too many in-jokes...

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podcast

Christmas Special 2017 - Scrape My Barrel!

As has now become traditional (how many times must something be repeated to become ‘tradition’? And does this make it ‘religious’?), we are delighted to end 2017 on a more light-hearted note and present our ‘Christmas’ special gameshow,

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podcast

The Legacy of Edward Tylor - Roundtable

This roundtable recorded at the annual BASR conference at the University of Chester 2017 brought together a group of scholars interested in different perspectives on the legacy of Tylor. Topics discussed included his impact on indigenous societies, the debates over animism,

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response

Re-Packaging E.B. Tylor

It is a rather odd experience to be writing a response to a podcast in which I participated, along with Graham Harvey, Paul François Tremlett, James Cox, Miguel Astor-Aguilera and Jonathan Jong. This was a roundtable discussion held at the 2017 British Association for the Study of Religion...

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The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).