"The Unverifiable Truth-claim", recorded at BASR 2016, hosted by David Robertson, and featuring Christopher Cotter, Katie Aston, Jonathan Tuckett, and Krittika Bhatta... Bhatta... Bhattacharjee! Plus a special appearance by RSP Managing Editor, Thomas Coleman!
“The Unverifiable Truth-claim”, recorded at BASR 2016, hosted by David Robertson, and featuring Christopher Cotter, Katie Aston, Jonathan Tuckett, and Krittika Bhata… Bhata… Bhattacharjee! Plus a special appearance by RSP Managing Editor, Thomas Coleman! If Carole Cusack isn’t playing, who will win? How many times will Jonathan accidentally swear? In-jokes galore!
You can also view this event on YouTube!
As our main audio setup failed us, we have used the backup, which is a little “roomier” that we would like. But these are one-off events, a thank you to our fans and sponsors, so we hope you enjoy anyway. Maybe next year we can organise a US version at the AAR. Although remember when “Whose Line is it Anyway” went to the US? It wasn’t good.
Want to check out last year’s RSP holiday mayhem? It’s right here.
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In his interview with the RSP, George Chryssides considers a prominent methodological challenge for scholars of New Religious Movements (NRMs) – how to approach the narratives of former members of NRMs in an academic context.
Ex-member narratives can cover a variety of issues relating to NRMs, ranging from reasons why certain members joined and left the movement, to intricate details involving esoteric practices that are unknown to outsiders.
It seems to me to be perfectly possible for someone to agree on the problem of representation, highlight the importance of reflecting on the situatedness of observer, challenge essentialism and still show no particular interest in problematizing analytical definitions of religion.
There is more than one discursive approach in religious studies. In his interview with the RSP, professor Kocku von Stuckrad outlines some of the key issues that are relevant for constructing a discourse theoretical framework for religious studies.
"As a particularly dramatic account in the early history of signs and sanctity, [the Chiara] episode highlighted the importance of context," writes Cynthia Klestinec in response to Sidney Castillo's interview with Gabor Klaniczay. There we see "how the local context of Chiara served to establish claims to sanctity in the early 1300s and how the more extensive context of the Counter Reformation generated an overlapping but ultimately different set of debates about those same signs in the 1650s."
Over ten years ago, Streib saw applicability to Fowler’s stages, but not in their typical empirical application. Heinz realized that Fowler’s descriptions had descriptive utility in how individuals structure and formalize their belief, but he also recognized that the graduated method of “stages” was empirically and culturally problematic. For Streib, these systems of meaning were not passé or scant in any way, only different.
Scholar of religion and nature Bron Taylor responds to Bruno Latour's 2013 Gifford Lectures, discussing the concept of the Anthropocence and contemporary spiritual-religious responses to the new epoch of climate change. The question about climate change has emerged as one of the defining debates of contemporary social and political discourse.
This interview with Craig Martin explores the limits of identity formation under modern Capitalism. Martin's work Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie focuses on the ways in which culture and religion are produced for consumption.
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?
Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester) has been a vocal critic of some of the theories and methods used by religious studies scholars working on Islam. In this podcast, he discusses his critique of the discipline and practice of religious studies he has made through works such as Situating Islam (Equinox, 2008), Theorizing Islam (Equinox, 2012), Abrahamic Religions (Oxford, 2012), The Study of Judaism (SUNY, 2013), and, most recently, Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity (Equinox, 2015).
Given the way in which many introductory courses present the history of early Islam and pre-Islamic Arabia, we may be tempted to think that the historical facts were well established and the narrative uncontested. However, this is far from the case. What evidence do we actually have from this period, and how may it challenge the conventional narratives that have become canonised in sacred and academic histories? What misconceptions might be challenged by modern epigraphic work, or the application of Social Identity theories to ancient texts? And why might this matter for contemporary Islam, contemporary Islamic Studies, and the critical study of religion more broadly? Joining Chris to discuss these questions, is Dr Ilkka Lindstedt of the University of Helsinki.
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