Responses

Scholars in dialogue with our weekly podcast

Scholars in Dialogue with our weekly podcast

Our Latest response

Whose fetish?

Recognizing the influence of "Christian colonialist attitudes" on scholarly discourses about the value of sacred objects means understanding how we are all implicated by our field's ongoing use of the term "fetish." Echoing the lessons from Breann Fallon's interview with Prof. J. Lorand Matory, respondent Colby Dickinson calls us to account for the ways in which "we are all hypocritical in our assigning of values to certain things and downplaying the value in other things." This includes, he writes, the theories of fetishism by Marx and Freud to which our field seems inescapably connected.

Browse past responses

Religious legislation as a place of religion-making

In this response to Episode 332, Ernils Larsson writes, “A central problem with the principles of religious freedom and the separation of religion and state as they were instituted in Japan under American occupation is that they assume a consensus with regards to what constitutes religion. As Japan was reshaped by the occupation authorities, an American understanding of religion forced a transformation of the public rites of the state in order for them to conform with the notion of Shrine Shinto as a private religion.”

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Exploring the Richness of Nonreligion

“Josh Bullock’s and David Herbert’s study advances our understanding of un/belief, belonging, and the sociality of nonreligion across different countries and generations,” writes Dr. Rachel Shillitoe in response to Episode #313 “Unbelief as a Social Phenomenon”

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Which Voice Speaks?

Russell McCutcheon writes that the ongoing scholarly issues raised by critical theorists about the category of religion, reflected by McCutcheon, Timothy Fitzgerald and others, reflect the reality that “old habits die hard because they are situated within larger contexts that organize our sense of who we are in relation to others.” This includes “discourses on religion” which “many scholars seem to have no choice but to continue to see as self-evident in their meaning and application”

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Choosing Not to Hide Behind the Camera

Choosing not to hide behind the camera: A media producer’s perspective on religious literacy A response to the Episode 320, “Religious Literacy is Social Justice” with Professor Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst by Richard Wallis There’s a fascinating moment in Netflix’s documentary series, The Family (August 2019), which tells the story of The Fellowship Foundation, a publicity-shy network of Evangelical men’s fellowship and support groups (or ‘prayer breakfasts’).  The series sets out to expose what it portrays

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Developing Communities of Practical Wisdom

“Religious studies programs that honor a social justice frame learn to speak to common human needs in compelling ways” says Holly Nelson Becker, PhD, LCSW in response to our conversation with Molly Bassett in RSP Episode 315: “Applied Religious Studies at Georgia State University.”

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Intellectual Journeys: Insights from Timothy Fitzgerald’s Work

Craig Martin writes of the lesson he learned from Timothy Fitzgerald’s work: “Reading widely outside of religious studies allows us to integrate the knowledge from different fields or disciplines, making connections where theories or claims overlap, or noting where some approaches allow us to answer some of my questions in a more sophisticated way than other approaches.”

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After Secularization: Unbelief in Europe

“Since the 1960s, critiques of scientific rationalism and technocracy have not withered away but have only expanded and have, in the process, diffused from the libertarian left to the new populist right,” writes Professor Dick Houtman in this response to our December 2nd episode, “Unbelief as a Nuanced Phenomenon.”

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What is AI For?

The prospect of an artificial intelligence both fascinates and frightens us.  Beth Singler notes in her podcast that, in AI, we are not encountering an intelligence alien to our own—we are trying to create one.  The question I have long asked is “Why would we want to do this?”  What are we really looking for in AI?   The simplest answer, the one many computer scientists might give, is that we are looking for machines

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Gaps in Our Understanding: AI, Gods, and Humanity

I am delighted to have an opportunity to respond to Dr. Beth Singler’s interview for the Religious Studies Podcast. As anyone who has had the opportunity to hear Dr. Singler in the past knows, she is always brilliant, entertaining, and specializes in making the field of artificial intelligence, particularly as it relates to religious studies, intelligible to the non-computer scientist. While there are many issues that Dr. Singler raises as part of her discussion during

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Whose Academy Is This, Anyway?

Publishing and the Academic Community of Practice: Whose Academy Is This, Anyway?  by Mary O’Shan Overton In Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (1998), educational researcher Etienne Wenger disputes the conventional institutional view of learning as “an individual process,” positing it as a social process of learning called a “community of practice” that is defined by a framework of four major elements: meaning, practice, community, and identity. From this perspective, academic publishing, onto which

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