Ritual

Response

How Ritual Reveals Margins and Marginalization in Buddhist Studies

Elaine Lai's response to our roundtable on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Buddhist Ritual highlights the advantages of working across disciplines. In sum, Lai argues, this roundtable and all such interdisciplinary collaborations remind us of how embedded and contingent our terms can be. Those differences matter, especially as we work to decolonize the academy and democratize access to its efforts, for we must "remember that we are all first and foremost human... and it's time to show up for one another with care," she concludes.
Podcast

Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Buddhist Ritual

How does discipline impact the way we see Buddhist ritual? How can more diverse disciplinary conversations help scholars see ritual in new ways? Five scholars from four time zones come together from around the world to discuss the impacts of interdisciplinary approaches to Buddhist ritual.
Response

Intellectual Journeys: Insights from Timothy Fitzgerald’s Work

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."
Podcast

The Problem with ‘Religion’ (and related categories)

Tim Fitzgerald - a founding figure in the critical study of religion - discusses his career up to his seminal volume, The Ideology of Religious Studies, published twenty years ago this year.
Response

Santa Muerte and the Interplay of Cultures on Dia de los Muertos

Santa Muerte is a death saint with a rich history and reflects the deep interplay of cultures and devotional practices in Mexico.
Podcast

‘Good’ Grief? Rituals of World Repairing

Toys, Rabbits, and Princess Diana - three things that may not seem at all connected. However, when one starts to question the notion of grief, bereavement, and death in the contemporary West, these three are more connected than appears. In this podcast, Breann Fallon interviews Professor Douglas Ezzy of the University of Tasmania on the power of symbols...
Podcast

Death, Music, and Ritual: Contemporary Requiems in the Commemoration of Death and Violence

Hoondert discusses the step away from the liturgy associated with requiems as way for today's individual to deal with death or violence in their own way. Still, It is clear that the ritual elements of the requiem remains, hence where this contemporary music fits into the sacral landscape is up for debate.
Podcast

A Critical Introduction to the History, Beliefs, and Practices of Wiccans

In this interview Ethan Doyle White, author of the book Wicca: History, Belief, and Community in Modern Pagan Witchcraft, introduces his systematic overview of the contested history and multifaceted developments of Wicca. White presents his own methodological approaches and theoretical data utilising both emic and etic sources in a thematic framework.
Podcast

Historical, Popular, and Scholarly Constructions of Yoga

In its earliest uses, the word “yoga” meant “yoke,” primarily yoking a warhorse to a chariot. In the classical period, yoga took on a variety of other meanings, including yoking the mind-body complex through meditative practices, such as breath control and mantras, to achieve liberation. In this interview, ...
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

Between the Lab and the Field: Xygalatas and the Science of Extreme Rituals

Breaking down the boundary between the research lab and the “field site” is becoming more common beyond the boundaries of religious studies and anthropology. The research project of Dimitris Xygalatas is part of a growing trend in cognitive approaches to human sociality. This trend involves breaking down the boundary between the lab and the field; sometimes this involves bringing the field into the lab—an approach not uncommon to many social psychologists
Podcast

The Burning Saints, Fire-Walking Rituals of the Anastenaria

It’s dark outside. The moon hangs in the sky and the soft smell of smoke permeates the warm air as it stings your eyes. Looking down, you notice the glow from burning coals, as hot as 535 degrees C, scattered on the ground below. When Saint Constantine calls you to become a firewalker – you answer - at least if you are one of the Anastenaria.
Podcast

Ritual, Religion, and the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Culture

Cognitive neuroscientist Merlin Donald discusses the role of ritual in human evolution, and its continued importance in all forms of society and culture. In this interview, Professor Donald outlines his perspective on the evolution of human cognition, and the importance of both embodied communication and mind-sharing networks.
Podcast

Santo Daime

"Pretty much unprepared for the sensory feast of a Santo Daime ritual, I was visually struck by the colourful ‘uniforms’ and brightly decorated ceremonial space. The strongly rhythmical and fervently sung ‘hymns’ also made an impact, as did the powerful smell and bitter taste of the religious sacrament which practitioners call ‘Daime’.
Podcast

Religion and Food

This week we bring you an interview with Chris Silver speaking to Professor Michel Desjardins of Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, on the topic of Religion and Food. Connections are made with recent turns in the academic study of religion (gender, materiality etc.), and other areas of study such as religion and nutrition/health.
Podcast

Paul Williamson on Serpent Handling

In this week’s podcast, Chris Silver and Dr Paul Williamson explore Williamson’s research related to documentation of the Serpent Handling Sects of Appalachia. By some accounts these traditions are in decline due to globalization. Williamson has attempted to study these traditions qualitatively and quantitatively to better understand ...
Response

Vernacular Religion: Because you’ll Find More than the Devil in the Details

There is an important message embedded in Marion Bowman’s notion of “vernacular religion”–that when we plant our feet firmly on the ground, amidst the fray of religious life, we are confronted with the unmistakable heterogeneity of both belief and practice. As living people “do religion” on the ground it may not always resemble the religion of the Qur’an, the Vatican or your Buddhism 101 textbook.