Academic Study of Religion

Shifting the Focus of Graduate Education in the Study of Religion

Podcast
Join Carmen Becker and Andie Alexander for the RSP's 400th episode where they discuss the new international MA program at Leibniz University, Hannover.

Textbook in Today’s University

Response
Responding to our interview with Paul Hedges, Steven Ramey builds on the discussion by arguing for the necessity of unpacking the authority associated with textbooks and shifting pedagogical approaches from presenting information to training students to think critically about the information presented.

Can Deconstructing ‘Religion’ Be More than Critique?

Response
Responding to our interview with Mitsutoshi Horii, Ioannis Gaitanidis highlights Horii's analysis of the public benefit-aspect of religion in Japan and expands the conversation by asking how scholars can build on and push further our deconstructive analyses for the critical study of religion.

Teaching Religion: A Response to Douglas Brooks

Response
In his classroom, there is a clear divide between scholar and practitioner, between religious studies and religious practice. Obviously, [Brooks] is an example of how those two worlds comingle. But he is also committed to further advancing the study of religion as a secular discipline – in the same way that one studies history, psychology, sociology, and the like.

Theoretical Veganism: Practicing Religious Studies without Religion

Response
Perhaps it is time to stop treating the word “religion” as a tool of the scholar and to start treating it as the very object of study. Aside from being an oxymoron, the thought of “meatless meatballs” can elicit strong reactions, whether of disgust, confusion, or hunger. Such products are capable of breeding suspicion, whether in regards to their taste, their origins, or their status as “food.” After all, what exactly is meatless meat?

Making Space for the Better Book

Response
There is the perception that critical scholarship will not get a fair hearing, and there is a perception that theological or confessional scholarship is incapable of being fair. A number of years ago I attended a keynote lecture during a national religious studies conference at which an esteemed professor declared in exasperated tones; “What Have They Done To My Buddhism?!” The tension in the room, rising during his overtly confessional presentation, reached a silent crescendo at this exclamation. Even I, as a (very) junior scholar of religion, ...

In Praise of Polyvocality

Response
Perhaps my greatest argument against ‘non-religion’ has been based on the notion that it stands as a relational umbrella... A few weeks back, I found myself engaged in a one-sided debate with a colleague friend over the use of the term ‘non-religion.’ As it was at the end of a two-day conference, it was one of those casual conversations wherein certain sophisticated aspects of the preceding academic discourse spill over into the informality of a chat over drinks.

Learning to Unlearn “Religion”: Jason Ānanda Josephson on the Invention of Religion in Japan

Response
Would it be better to say “Japanese Religions”? How about “religions of Japan”? Or, is “religion” even the best word to use to describe the Japanese traditions we’re studying? One of the first Religious Studies courses in which I enrolled was titled “Japanese Religion.” There were several themes running through the course, but the one that stuck with me as the most important was something the professor asked during the first meeting of the class:

The Critical Study of Religion

Podcast
Professor Bruce Lincoln from the University of Chicago discusses a variety of topics including werewolves, critical theory, pedagogy, and self-imposed estrangement from the academic study of religion. In this interview, Professor Bruce Lincoln from the University of Chicago Divinity School discusses a variety of topics including werewolves, critical theory,