Dedicated to historical, critical, and social scientific approaches to the study of religion, as well as a relentlessly reflexive critique of the theories, methods, and categories used in such study.

Resources of Interest: Body and Religion

attachmentEquinox is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal commencing in 2016. For more information about submissions and subscriptions please visit the journal home page:

Body and Religion is an internationally peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journal devoted to all issues of body and religion. We welcome English-language submissions from scholars who use diverse methodologies and approaches, ranging from traditional to innovative, to explore issues of “body” as a fundamental analytical category in the study of religion. We seek to publish the widest possible diversity of critical inquiry into the relationships between all manner of bodies; concepts of “body,” and both traditional and alternative religious traditions, popular culture, literature, the arts, psychology, philosophy, the natural sciences, national and social movements, gender and sexuality, modification and transformation, underground/alternative culture, time periods, and regions.

The journal provides a forum for the study of all manner of ancient and contemporary practices, concerns, ideals, and connections or disconnections between body and religion. Essays and analyses are capable of being delivered on a multi-media platform, assisting in examining performances, rituals, and other topics that are not easily captured in print. However, alternate and innovative presentations must include a significant written portion for print, while corresponding extra color art, video, and other media will be included on the journal website and in other electronic forms.”

Books of Interest: New Religiosity in Contemporary Sweden

Liselotte Frisk and Peter Åkerbäck, New Religiosity in Contemporary Sweden: The Dalarna Study in National and International Context (Equinox 2015).

The contemporary popular or new religious landscape in Sweden — arenas with religious elements outside the established churches — is large and multifaceted. Religion is today expressed in different localities, like retreat centers, health centers and gyms, and can manifest as for example healing, mindfulness, seances, coaching and body therapies. The boundaries between religious and secular arenas are becoming increasingly blurred. The popular or new religiosity is firmly rooted in older traditions, but also expresses creative innovation as a result of globalization, secularism, individualism and the impact of psychological and therapeutic orientations.

The book is based on a local study of contemporary popular or new religiosity in the area of Dalarna, Sweden. Religious expression always reflects its time. One of the book’s purposes is to explore how religion is perceived in our time and how Christianity has shaped our view of what belongs to the “religion” and what is seen as “superstition”. To understand religion it is necessary to study its practical everyday expressions.

Books of Interest: Fabricating Origins

Russell T. McCutcheon (editor), Fabricating Origins (Equinox 2015).

Fabricating Origins builds on a series of posts that originally appeared, in earlier forms, at the blog for Culture on the Edge. In these posts each member of the group focused on the problem of origins, examining how we repeatedly conjure up an authorized past that suits the needs of the continually changing present. Fabricating Origins presses these short studies further by inviting ten early career scholars to each work with Culture on the Edge by applying, extending, even critiquing the group, to further illustrate for readers how talk of origins in the present is so much more interesting that being preoccupied with long past origins themselves.

The volume, like all books in the Working with Culture on the Edge series, is introduced and concluded by original, theoretically challenging but engaging essays. It provides a selection of ten main articles which draw on a variety of examples to make the case, followed by original commentaries on each, all of which are pithy but substantive. Although not a textbook, and while challenging for any reader unaccustomed to making the switch from origins to the discourse on origins, Fabricating Origins is especially aimed at the early career reader. The volume therefore includes an annotated set of suggested readings on how to rethink origins as the product of contemporary and always tactically useful talk and action.

Announcement: Job Posting for Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

The Chair of Religious Studies (Prof. Dr. Robert Yelle) in the Faculty for Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Religious Studies at LMU Munich, seeks beginning with October 1, 2015: A scientific co-worker (PhD candidate—part time 65%).

Tasks:

  • Research on your own PhD project and in the general field of the Chair.
  • Teaching in the amount of 3.25 semester hours, as well as student advising.
  • Active participation in the administration of the academic program.
  • Scientific development is an intergral component of the work and will be actively supported.

For more information please see this pdf.

CFP: Religion and Journalism

Religion, a leading peer-reviewed journal in the study of religions, seeks submissions for a special issue on “Religion and Journalism.”

If religion is in the news, this is the result of journalism. Journalists put religion on the agenda. Moreover, many religious groups have their own newspapers and magazines and forms of journalism.

The editors invite the submission of academic articles addressing any aspect of this theme, including but not limited to the following: forms of religious journalism; the representation of religion by journalists; journalists as religious agents; changes and challenges in the work of covering religions; insider/outsider dynamics in religion reporting; global and national trends in religion coverage (thematic and structural); ethical challenges of reporting on religion; impact of new technologies on these issues; etc.

For more information, see the journal’s website here.

Books of Interest: Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty

Trevor Stack, Naomi R. Goldenberg, and Timothy Fitzgerald (editors), Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty (Brill, 2015).

Religious-secular distinctions have been crucial to the way in which modern governments have rationalised their governance and marked out their sovereignty – as crucial as the territorial boundaries that they have drawn around nations. The authors of this volume provide a multi-dimensional picture of how the category of religion has served the ends of modern government. They draw on perspectives from history, anthropology, moral philosophy, theology and religious studies, as well as empirical analysis of India, Japan, Mexico, the United States, Israel-Palestine, France and the United Kingdom.

“…But What Do You Study?”: A NAASR Workshop on Theory & Method in the Job Market

This session, to be held as a part of the NAASR program this November in Atlanta, proposes to explore the employment challenges facing early career scholars who are interested in issues of theory & method in the study of religion, through both a discussion and workshop. This session addresses issues important to junior NAASR members (notably, but not exclusively, ABDs now entering/about to enter the job market) by demonstrating how a professional organization can provide a practical and strategic forum for job-market advice.

The following activities will take place in this 90 min. workshop:

1. Open Discussion

The first half of the session will be devoted to an open discussion, led by Martha G. Newman (University of Texas at Austin) and Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama). Each will begin by providing brief introductory remarks (approx. 5 minutes each) on what they each see as constructive and strategic advice for early career scholars who are navigating the academic job market, aimed initially at how applicants can be strategic not only in trying to ascertain a Department’s needs but also in negotiating potential theoretical and political landmines in the field. A discussion (35 min.) will follow in which participants can discuss these issues in an informal atmosphere and share information. This guided discussion will therefore focus on four central questions, namely, how might early career scholars interested in theory and method:

  • represent themselves strategically on the job market?
  • apply to calls for general positions, fitting themselves to broad departmental needs?
  • shape their cover letters and CVs to appeal to a wide range of departments?
  • respond to critiques that they have no “specialty,” “content,” or “area of study”?

The discussion is designed to reflect different opinions regarding the place of theory & method in the job market, as well as in the study of religion more generally.

2. Workshop

In the second half, participants will break into small groups, each led by a more senior NAASR member. Building on the previous discussion, participants will work within their groups to workshop how they might best represent themselves, their work, and their scholarly interests on the job market. The smaller setting will allow for more “hands on” advice, taking as examples the CV and cover letters participants can bring with them to the session. Simply focusing on what one says in a cover letter’s opening paragraph, for example, or how one orders a C.V., will provide the way into larger questions of representation in these small group discussions. Participants in this section will have an opportunity to work with John E. Llewellyn (Missouri State), Russell McCutcheon (University of Alabama), Martha G. Newman (University of Texas at Austin), Steven Ramey (University of Alabama), and Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama).


Scholars of all concentrations within the field of Religious Studies are welcome to join the workshop—whether a NAASR member or not—though preference will be given to early career scholars, particularly those at the senior ABD stage (i.e., those already on or going onto the job market). Shortly before the workshop, but once the participants have been identified, each participant will be invited to share with the other members, via email or a closed social media group, their academic focus/dissertation topic, level of teaching experience, their level of experience with the job market as well as their own current position (e.g., PhD Student, Postdoc, Instructor, etc.) in order to ensure all participants come to the meeting somewhat familiar with the diversity of experience in the workshop. In addition, each participant will be invited to bring one sample cover letter and one sample CV which may be used in the small group activities. More details will follow after the participant list has been finalized.

Space is limited to 25 participants in this NAASR workshop. To register, please e-mail the organizer, Michael Graziano (mgraziano@fsu.edu) by no later than June 15, 2015. In this request to register please include your current degree or professional career stage.

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