methods

Podcast

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

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 ...
Response

Surveying the Sacred and Secular

With a good representative sample, we can learn about how religion shapes the way people answer new questions, rather than what they believe about the issues alone. The RSP’s interview with Darren Sherkat arrives at a time when research on religion has caught a bit of the media spotlight. Both The Atlantic and Religion Dispatches recently touched on issues with surveys in their reviews of Robert Wuthnow’s new book, Inventing American Religion. In this book, ...
Response

But Mountains, Dammit!

Are we to believe those mountains weren’t here before humans came to name them?! Mountains, dammit! They’re real and they’re mind-independent! (It’s at this point that the radical constructionists ask, “can you say that without discourse?” and then the realists really go apoplectic.) Titus Hjelm’s book Social Constructionisms: Approaches to the Study of the Human World is a fantastic introduction to the topic of “social constructionism.”
Response

Experiences Deemed Religious from Micro and Qualitative to Macro and Quantitative

With the strength of a research method, there is a corresponding weakness. And these weaknesses turn out to be overcome by the strengths of other, “opposite” kinds of methods. This joint Religious Studies Project SSSR session was a symposium that included four presentations, all focused on some variation on the topic of “religious experiences,” a category better described as experiences deemed religious (EDRs; Taves, 2009). Beyond that idea in the symposium summary, the only similarity among the presentations was that that they were almost purely descriptive.
Podcast

The Fate of Earthly Things

In this interview, Molly Bassett begins by introducing us to the world of Middle America, the sources scholars use today to study this period and its cultures, and then describes the benefits and challenges of teaching with Meso-American materials. Her students learn not only to challenge the categories scholars use to describe religious ideas like "god," ...
Response

What “in the world” is theory?

Despite Meyer's own resistance to being named a theorist, I argue that her sensational mediation is a form of theory making, one which more students of religion should embrace. Birgit Meyer’s interview with George Ioannides in the recently released Religious Studies Project podcast (6/30/2014) is a pedagogical tour de force. In this conversation, ...
Podcast

The Subtle Body

During the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, Damon Lycourinos had the pleasure of interviewing Jay regarding her work on the subtle body and alternative notions of intersubjectivity, addressing both the theoretical and methodological...
Podcast

Before “Religion”: a History of a Modern Concept

Brent Nongbri talks to Jack Tsonis about his recent book, "Before Religion: a History of a Modern Concept". Nongbri provides an overview of the history of "religion" as a concept in the English speaking world, highlighting that the seemingly "natural" or "obvious" definition of the term is actually highly specific to the modern West.
Podcast

THATCamp Roundtable on Digital Religious Studies

What does it mean to teach or research religious studies digitally? Does religious "data" make digital religious studies distinct within the digital humanities? What is a digital religious studies research project you think more people should know about? How can departments and the field better support digital methods and pedagogies? Six scholars gathered at the AAR's groundbreaking THATCamp to discuss these questions and more!
Podcast

“Would You Still Call Yourself an Asianist?”

Over the course of Ramey's career he has gradually and smoothly made a significant shift. Of course he still studies material relevant to his earlier training, but a shift in research focus from inter-religious cooperation to diaspora religion, eventually studying south Asian communities in the U.S.
Response

Ayahuasca as a Gateway Drug (Toward a Less Stigmatized Academic Discussion of Drugs and Religion)

"The assertion that an experience which takes place while under the influence of a drug should not be construed as having religious import implicitly makes a value-judgment about what true or valid religion can consist of, whereas an examination of how hermeneutic and discursive resources are drawn upon to develop a personal or communal account in which drugs and the experiences they elicit are ‘deemed religious’ (Taves 2009) is likely to provide significantly more analytical purchase."
Podcast

Material Religion Roundtable

What exactly does Material Religion bring to Religious Studies? Is it a potentially revolutionary phenomenon, or merely a passing fad? How might one apply the theoretical perspectives and methodologies developed in this growing field to some of the defining debates of our subject area? To discuss these issues, and reflect on the conference in general,...
Podcast

Peter Collins on Religion and the Built Environment

Buildings dominate our skylines, they shape the nature, size, sound and smell of events within their walls, they provide a connection to the recent and distant past, and they serve as a physical, material instantiation of any number of contextual discourses. But what about the relationship between 'religion' and these (generally) human-made structures?
Podcast

Ralph Hood on Mysticism

Dr. Ralph W. Hood Jr. has extensive experience in the field of psychology of religion and particularly in the study of mysticism and mystical experience. As an early pioneer in the renaissance of the field of psychology of religion, Hood’s work is extensive and prolific exploring a variety of research topics in the social sciences of religion.
Response

Nuancing the Qual-Quan Divide: The Vitality of Research Methods in the Academic Study of Religion

By using “vitality” in the title above, I mean to point to two aspects of the same urgent call. First, I simply mean that research methods are vital to the academic study of religion. As Stausberg and Engler suggest, “it is through methods that data and theory speak to each other and become part of a shared horizon” (2011: 11), and indeed it is still not a platitude to recall that theory, method and data can be considered three sides of that triangle we conjure, whether implicitly or explicitly,