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Religion as a Species of Human Activity

From Jonathan Z. Smith we learned that "religion is not its own genus of human activity, but a species of it," writes Willi Braun in this response to Andie Alexander's interview with Aaaron Hughes at the "Thinking With Jonathan Z. Smith" Conference in Trondheim earlier in 2019.
Response

Sitting on the bench: is the cognitive and evolutionary study of religion a team sport?

The grand challenge of cross-disciplinary integration Cognitive Science (CS) has always been interdisciplinary and multi disciplinary. As recapped by William Bechtel, Adele Abrahamsen, and George Graham (2001), since the very beginning,
Podcast

Witchcraft in Rural Slovenia

Based on her ethnographic fieldwork in the area, Mencej describes witchcraft from a variety of angles, from psychological to anthropological and historical, providing a detailed understanding of witchcraft as part of the lived social reality of the community. In what kind of situations are witchcraft narratives evoked?
Response

The Interstices of Science and Religion

Having exiled the supernatural, science finds itself left with the task of writing a modern genesis, or a liturgy for a secular age. Science and religion are not ancient concepts. What we think of as inherently scientific today may have carried theological overtones in times past; what we conceive of as religious may have likewise found support in scientific circles. Both categories have emerged through complex and contradictory histories:
Response

Taking Witchcraft and Possessions Seriously with Philip Almond

When the past has provided us as many truly excellent documents as early modern Europe has on witchcraft and possessions, what need have we to inject ourselves into their discussions? In this interview with Philip Almond, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Queensland and Deputy Director of the Centre for the History of European Discourses, listeners are treated to a wide-ranging survey of the past decade of Almond’s work on witchcraft and demonic possession in early modern England.
Podcast

Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict

Big Gods: 1. Watched people are nice people, 2. Religion is more in the situation than in the person, 3. Hell is stronger than heaven, 4. Trust people who trust in God, 5. Religious actions speak louder than words, 6. Unworshipped Gods are impotent Gods, 7. Big Gods for Big Groups, 8. Religious groups cooperate in order to compete.
Response

Historical Approaches to Studying Religion

Tim Hutchings: "My own field of research is digital religion, an area with a particularly troubled relationship to history. Scholars and commentators interested in digital culture and its significance for religion have struggled to distinguish what is truly new from what has come before, and continue to search for helpful ways to talk about change." As the RSP continues to grow, we're going to be returning more frequently to topics and themes which have already been touched upon in previous podcasts and features.