Critical theory

The Critical Humanist Study of Islam

Podcast
What sort of discursive traps to we fall into when talking about 'Islam' or 'the West'? How might we reframe our discussions with a critical humanist approach? In this episode, Khurram Hussain joins Andie Alexander to discuss his recent book, The Muslim Speaks (Zed Books, 2020) explore the benefits of critically engaging these issues in a way that takes seriously the human-focused study of religion.

The Strange Charm of Gnosticism

Podcast
For our last interview of 2021 (not to worry, the Mid-Year special is coming!), our co-founder David G. Robertson is back in the interview seat discussing his new book Gnosticism and the History of Religions with our co-editor Andie Alexander. Tune in to learn more about the 'strange charm of gnosticism'!

Religious Symbols, Secularism, and Culture Wars

Podcast
In this episode, Matt Sheedy joins RSP co-editor Andie Alexander to discuss his recent book Owning the Secular: Religious Symbols, Culture Wars, Western Fragility and unpack common assumptions about secularism and religion in the public sphere.

The Problem of Contextuality in Global Environmental Discourses

Response
Decolonizing ecological studies or environmental humanities forces us to "return to the problem of context," writes Rosemary Hancock in this response to our interview with Anna Gade.

Comparing Methods in Christian Origins

Podcast
What happens when scholars take seriously the human-focused study of religious practices? In this episode, Willi Braun joins Andie Alexander to discuss the importance of critical approaches in the study of religion.

Connecting the Parallel Lives of Critical Secular and Non-Religious Studies

Response
Lois Lee responds to our interview with RSP co-founder Christopher R. Cotter about his latest book, The Critical Study of Non-Religion. Calling his work "a milestone" that answers the need for a "systemic intervention" in critical approaches to non-religion, Lee suggests that the parallel lives of critical secular and non-religious studies are starting to converge.

Epistemological Sacrifice Zones and the Decolonization of Religion

Response
Decolonization requires changing the politics of academia's knowledge production, argues Tyler M. Tully in this response to Episode 337: Decolonizing the Study of Religion with Malory Nye.

Which Voice Speaks?

Response
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"

Intellectual Journeys: Insights from Timothy Fitzgerald’s Work

Response
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."

From Static Categories to a River of Theories: “The Myth of Disenchantment”

Podcast
In a free wheeling conversation, Dr. Jason Josephson-Storm and Dan Gorman discuss the intellectual history of religious studies and the myth that magic is dead.

The Return of Homo Religiosus

Response
A couple years ago I stumbled across a cartoon in my Facebook feed. It details two images on top of one another: The first image is of two ‘cavemen‘ who randomly decide to draw a bunch of dicks and boobs on a cave wall.

Reinventing Graduate Education in the Study of Religion

Podcast
We spend a lot of time on the Religious Studies Project discussing Religious Studies as a discipline or field of study, what it means to study 'religion' with or without quotation marks, and what exactly it is that the critical, scholarly study of societal discourses surrounding 'religion' might have to offer. However, ...

UFOs, Conspiracy Theories… and Religion?

Podcast
Area 51, Ancient Aliens, endemic child abuse at the BBC, and Reptilians,... This interview begins with David's own journey to this research field, before considering some basic questions such as "what is a conspiracy theory?"

Historicism, Reflexivity, and Our Discourses on Theory: Or, Why Lacan Is Not a Garnish

Response
Theory, from this perspective, is not something that’s added to a world that is already fully present to us; on the contrary, the things are after-effects of the theory. In this interview, Adam Miller speaks with Kathryn Lofton and John Modern about their new book series with University of Chicago Press, titled Class 200: New Studies in Religion.

Getting to Know the North American Association for the Study of Religion

Podcast
In this interview, Russell McCutcheon and Aaron Hughes discuss the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), an international organization dedicated to historical, critical, and social scientific approaches to the study of religion. In this interview, Russell McCutcheon and Aaron Hughes discuss the North American ...

What is ‘Buddhism in the West’?

Response
I often see “Buddhism in the West” lumped in with new religious movements (NRMs) or more interestingly as sources of therapeutic influence for new styles of mental health treatment such as those seen in the field of Psychology. The compulsion to lump Buddhism with new religious movements may derive from a variety of influences. There appears to be much debate regarding what defines Buddhism in the West. Particularly, ...

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,