Dr Paul Hedges is currently Associate Professor of Interreligious Studies at the Studies in Interreligious Religious in Plural Societies Programme (SRP), S. Rajaratnam School of International Relations (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Educated at Lampeter (Wales), he has taught in three continents and six countries. He has produced ten books, including most recently Towards Better Disagreement: The Dialogue of Religion and Atheism (2016), Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions: Retrospection and New Frontiers (2016, co-edited), Muslim-Christian Encounters: Dialogue, Diversity, and Developments (2015, edited), and the three volume set Controversies in Contemporary Religion (2014, General Editor). He has published around fifty academic papers, works on various book and journal boards, and teaches and researches around the areas of interreligious relations, theory in the study of religion, the historical encounter of worldviews and religions, and postcolonialism amongst others.
Scholars who deconstruct without re-construction undertake a feeble version of deconstruction that undermines itself (often without realising it).In his interview with the RSP, Teemu Taira refers to his work as in some sense a response to Kevin Schilbrack’s 2013 paper, “After We Deconstruct ‘Religion’, Then What?” However, I don’t find it speaking to the concerns of Schilbrack’s paper. This, is not to question the excellence of Taira’s work, scholarship, or methodology, all of which I am deeply impressed with.
Francis rightly notes, radicalisation and violence are not necessarily linked: people can be what we call radicalised without becoming violent, while many people are violent without being seen as being radicalised. In the general discourse, particularly in the media, all these terms are often seen as somewhat synonymous, which raises the ever important question about the baggage these terms hold, and what is hidden rather than revealed in using them. Are the terms analytically useful? Or do they have some other utility, perhaps in terms of communicating ideas?