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.

New Issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (44.2)

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Table of Contents

Editorial
Religious Proximity and Cultural Distance: An Introduction on the East/West Dichotomy Philip L. Tite

Articles
“Never the ‘Twain Shall Meet”: Disorienting East and West in Teaching and Scholarship
James Mark Shields

The Grey Matters: The Use and Abuse of East/West Taxonomies
Sarah F. Haynes

The Pedagogical Issues of Teaching “Eastern” and “Western” Traditions
T. Nicole Goulet

“Weasternization” of the West: Kumbh Mela as a Pilgrimage Place For Spiritual Seekers from the West
Marianne C. Qvortrup Fibiger

Roundtable on East/West
Philip L. Tite,

North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR): An Interview with Russell McCutcheon
Matt K. Sheedy

NAASR Notes
Matt K. Sheedy

Tips on Teaching
Getting Students Out of the Classroom and into the Pews
Melissa Deckman

Books of Interest: Writing Religion

Steven W. Ramey (ed.), Writing Religion: The Case for the Critical Study of Religion (University of Alabama Press 2015).

In 2002, the University of Alabama’s Department of Religious Studies established the annual Aronov Lecture Series to showcase the works of nationally recognized scholars of religion capable of reflecting on issues of wide relevance to scholars from across the humanities and social sciences. Writing Religion: The Case for the Critical Study of Religions is an edited collection of essays that highlights critical contributions from the first ten Aronov lecturers.

Section one of the volume, “Writing Discourses,” features essays by Jonathan Z. Smith, Bruce Lincoln, and Ann Pellegrini that illustrate how critical study enables the analysis of discourses in society and history. Section two, “Riting Social Formations,” includes pieces by Arjun Appadurai, Judith Plaskow, and Nathan Katz that reference both the power of rites to construct society and the act of riting as a form of disciplining that both prescribes and proscribes. The writings of Tomoko Masuzawa, Amy-Jill Levine, Aaron W. Hughes, and Martin S. Jaffee appear in section three, “Righting the Discipline.” They emphasize the correction of movements within the academic study of religion.

Steven W. Ramey frames the collection with a thoughtful introduction that explores the genesis, development, and diversity of critical analysis in the study of religion. An afterword by Russell McCutcheon reflects on the critical study of religion at the University of Alabama and rounds out this superb collection.

The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to “avoid every tendency toward confusing the study of religion with the practice of religion.” Instruction about—rather than in—religion is foundational to the department’s larger goal of producing knowledge of the world and its many practices and systems of beliefs. Infused with this spirit, these fascinating essays, which read like good conversations with learned friends, offer significant examples of each scholar’s work. Writing Religion will be of value to graduate students, advanced undergraduates, and scholars interested in the study of religion from a critical perspective.

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.

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