Responses

Scholars in dialogue with our weekly podcast

Scholars in Dialogue with our weekly podcast

Our Latest response

“A Jesus Before Paul?”

Kicking off our Season 11 Response essays, Robyn Faith Walsh builds on Willi Braun's discussion of the emphasis on origins in New Testament studies to explore the strategic use and employment of Paul's letters in the history of Christianity.

Browse past responses

Hidden and Also Shared Around the Globe

How can Jewish Studies help us rethink concepts like “the political”? In this response to our episode featuring Carsten Wilke interviewed by Sidney Castillo, Jonathan Garb highlights additional aspects of “the rise of kabbalah as a potent cultural force in the early modern period” that challenge the limits of cross-cultural comparison.

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Performing Scripture

What are the limits of scripture as a performative concept? In this response to this season’s episode with Richard Newton, M. Cooper Harriss examines Newton’s hybrid understanding of scripture as a forceful and malleable process of signification.

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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.

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Health, Wealth, & Spiritual Warfare: The UCKG from Brazil to Australia

Get a global perspective on the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), whose Australian branches were discussed in our recent episode with Dr. Kathleen Openshaw.

Describing the UCKG as a leader in a global Pentecostal vanguard influencing the Catholic Church, respondents Professor Andrew Chesnut and Dr. Kate Kingsbury outline how the UCKG’s focus on health, wealth, and spiritual warfare have been critical to its success with migrants in Australian and around the world.

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How Ritual Reveals Margins and Marginalization in Buddhist Studies

Elaine Lai’s response to our roundtable on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Buddhist Ritual highlights the advantages of working across disciplines. In sum, Lai argues, this roundtable and all such interdisciplinary collaborations remind us of how embedded and contingent our terms can be. Those differences matter, especially as we work to decolonize the academy and democratize access to its efforts, for we must “remember that we are all first and foremost human… and it’s time to show up for one another with care,” she concludes.

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Books as Museums

Might books be a “space” like Museums for the sacred-secular work of Holocaust remembrance? In this response by Samuel J. Spinner to our season 9 episode with Avril Alba, stories take center stage as examples of “cultural innovation necessitated by catastrophe and catalyzed by a reworking of the relationship between people and texts.”

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Decolonizing Community-Based Service Learning: Processes and Praxes

What are the challenges for departments and universities as they teach Native American Studies using Community-Based Service Learning models? In this response by Lisa Poirier, we learn that the efforts to decolonize our curricula require not only new critical theorists, but a suffusing commitment to decolonization as transformation in what Natalie Avalos described as “a process of becoming.”

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