Titus Hjelm on Marxist Approaches to the Study of Religions

"The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is indeed the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, state, society. This state and this society produce religion, ...
David Robertson
marx
post-structuralist
Sociology
SOCREL
titus hjelm

Ariela Keysar on "What does 'belief' mean to Americans?"

'Belief' lies at the core of E.B. Tylor's canonical definition of religion as belief in 'spiritual beings'. However, in the last decades of the twentieth century the concept became unfashionable in the social sciences, with scholars from all parts of the world denouncing its centrality as a Western, Protestant bias which has limited application to other religions. Ariela Keysar disagrees...
Abby Day
America
Ariela Keysar
ARIS
belief
Christopher Cotter
ISSSC
quantitative
religion
Unites States

'Religion' and Mystification

In this interview, Timothy Fitzgerald presents his critical deconstruction of religion as a powerful discourse and its parasitic relation to ‘secular’ categories such as politics and economics. Religion is not a stand-alone category, he argues; ‘religions’ are modern inventions which are made to appear ubiquitous and, by being removed to a marginal, ...
categories
critical religion
Jonathan Tuckett
mystification
podcasts
religion
Religious Studies
stirling
timothy fitzgerald

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?
Elizabeth Ursic
Ethan Quillen
Jonathan Tuckett
Kevin Whitesides
Krittika Bhattacharjee
Liam Sutherland
Maegan gilliland
multidisciplinary
ninian smart
roundtable

Tariq Modood on the Crisis of European Secularism

Secularism - the separation of religion and state - has been a central narrative in the European political sphere since the Enlightenment. But with renewed calls in some countries to affirm a Christian identity, and problems in accommodating some Muslim communities, is Western secularism under threat?
David Robertson
europe
podcasts
Secularism
SOCREL
tariq modood

Lisbeth Mikaelsson on Religion and Gender

From dress codes to notions of purity to questions of the legitimate of power the topic of gender is one few scholars can afford to ignore. With a whole range of issues to be investigated Lisbeth Mikaelsson gives us an introductory insight into the complex topic of religion and gender: the issues it raises, the way we go about it, who’s doing it and why.
bergen
gender
Jonathan Tuckett
lisbeth mikaelsson
podcasts

Studying "Cults"

Although "cult" and "sect" are used as technical terms in religious studies, in their popular usage, "cult" tends to refer to a New Religious Movement [NRM] or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered reprehensible. Since such pejorative attitudes are generally considered inappropriate for the academic study of religion, ...
Christopher Cotter
Cults
Eileen Barker
INFORM
Moonies
NRMs
religion
Scientology
Sociology

Jolyon Mitchell on Religion, Violence and the Media

Discussions of religion in the media nowadays frequently revolve around issues of violence and social unrest. Religions and media can become collaborators in promoting peace and opening negotiations; at the same time the media can become host to extremist narratives which may incite violence. Does the media have a responsibility to promote peace?
David Robertson
jolyon mitchell
media
podcasts
religion
violence

Roundtable: Can We Trust the Social Sciences?

In another roundtable gathering, conversation ranges from the strengths and weaknesses of such data, whether there is more to the social sciences than quantitative methods, and the place of the social sciences within a multi-disciplinary Religious Studies field. Can we trust social sciences when we study religion? Is a social scientific approach the future of religious studies?
Census
Christopher Cotter
David Robertson
Demography
Ethan Quillen
Katie Aston
Kevin Whitesides
Matthew Francis
religion
Religious Studies
Social Sciences
Sociology
Surveys

Historical Approaches to (Losing) Religion

How can we use historical approaches in the study of religion? More specifically, can we use historical approaches to understand why people are losing it? Professor Callum Brown tells us why historical approaches have much to tell us about religious change. How can we use historical approaches in the study of religion?
callum brown
Christopher Cotter
History
quantitative
scotland
Secularism
Secularization

Religion After Darwin

Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species was published in 1859, and had an immediate and dramatic effect on religious narratives. Traditional religions were forced to adopt an evolutionary worldview, or to go on the offensive; whereas New Religious Movements like Wicca or New Age adopted an environmental concern as a central part of their belief. And possibly, ...
bron taylor
Christopher Cotter
dark green religion
darwin
David Robertson
environmentalism
green religion
nature
podcasts

The Secularisation Thesis

The secularisation thesis - the idea that traditional religions are in terminal decline in the industrialised world - was perhaps the central debate in the sociology of religion in the second half of the 20th century. Scholars such as Steve Bruce, Rodney Stark and Charles Taylor argued whether religion was becoming less important to individuals, or that only the authority of religions in the public sphere was declining.
David Robertson
lancaster
Linda Woodhead
religion and society
Religious Decline
Secularization
transcript

Psychological Approaches to the Study of Religion

"In practice, experimentation requires much effort, imagination, and resources. The subject of religion seems too complex and too ‘soft’ for the laboratory. It is filled with much fantasy and feelings, two topics which academic psychology finds hard to approach." Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin, and Michael Argyle. The Psychology of Religious Behaviour, Belief and Experience. London: Routledge, 1997, p. 47.
Atheism
Beit-Hallahmi
Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
Christopher Cotter
Israel
New York
psychology
religion

Fiction-Based Religions

The majority of those who identified as a Jedi on the 2001 UK census were mounting a more-or-less satirical or playful act of non-compliance; nevertheless, a certain proportion of those were telling the truth. How does a religion constructed from the fictional Star Wars universe problematise how we conceptualise other religions, and the stories they involve?
arhuus
Christopher Cotter
fiction
Fiction-based Religions
Invented Religions
jedi
Markus Davidsen
Science Fiction
Tolkien

Doing Anthropological Fieldwork

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David Robertson
“If we want to discover what [wo]man amounts to, we can only find it in what [wo]men are: and what [wo]men are, above all other things, is various. It is in understanding that variousness – its range, its nature, its basis, and its implications – that we shall come to construct a concept of human nature that, more than a statistical shadow, and less than a primitivists dream, ...
anthropology
Bettina Schmidt
Christopher Cotter
condomble
David Robertson
Fieldwork
podcasts