Responses

Scholars in dialogue with our weekly podcast

Scholars in Dialogue with our weekly podcast

Our Latest response

The Varieties of Environmental Myth-Making

Stories can "exert an agentic force" that makes them powerful tools for environmental action among the nonreligious for whom belief is a weak analytic category argues Lisa H. Sideris in this response to our interview with Tim Stacey.

Browse past responses

Are NDEs Universal?

Writing about universalism in NDEs, Natasha Tassell-Matuma explains that “Languages reflect the cosmologies, ontologies, and epistemologies underlying cultures and are mutually constitutive in a culture’s practices, beliefs, ideologies, and norms. As such, when people speak, they are essentially drawing on a collective legacy that speaks to the socially-sanctioned worldview of the culture they affiliate with.”

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On the study of NDEs

In this response, Gregory Shushan writes, “The notion expressed by both Prof. Cotter and Dr. Schlieter in their recent interview that near-death experiences (NDEs) have been discussed in academic contexts primarily from medical/materialist and “paranormal” approaches is somewhat overstated – particularly in the study of religions and related fields such as anthropology.  Those who have undertaken and published research adopting a “critical religious studies approach, looking at these narratives in their social and historical contexts” will be surprised at the claim that such works are “largely absent”

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The African Shaman: Some Qualifications

Research methods are at the crux of James Cox’s response to Episode 334. ” By combining the techniques of epoché and empathetic interpolation,” Cox argues, “the researcher conveys respect for the beliefs, practices, and alternate therapies forming the African worldview without either sanctioning or refuting them.”

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The Rise and Fall of the Televised Public Square

The Rise and Fall of the Televised Public Square: A Response to Episode 327 “The Public Square and the Heart of the Culture Wars” with Benji Rolsky by James M. Patterson, Ave Maria University In his recent interview with the Religious Studies Project, Dr. Benji Rolsky offers a view of Norman Lear as a television producer and activist who used mass media entertainment to advance progressive messages about racial justice, opposition to American imperialism, and

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Imagining American and Japanese Religious Freedom

“Diversity often lets us realize that we have limited our scope with no deliberation,” writes Satoko Fujiwara in this response to Episode 332.

“Regarding the study of Japanese religions,” she continues, “diversity is even more necessary because scholars in the field have largely consisted of only two groups: Japanese scholars and white Westerners. It is too often as if only “white” scholars have the freedom to study anything and everything.”

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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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The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).