Drone Metal Mysticism

In this interview, Owen Coggins joins us to talk about the use of religious (and sacreligious) language and imagary in Drone Metal, a genre which stretches metal to low, slow, repetative extremes. Drawing on the work of Michel de Certeau, he tells David Robertson that the prevalence of language relating to mysticism and “spiritual experience” may be due to the genre’s focus on the physicality of the musical experience. Expanding out to discuss other forms of popular music which exhibit these modes of engagement, the conversation moves to consider how this case-study might open up new ways to engage with religious ideas in popular culture, and in other practices involving extreme states of bodily consciousness.

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    The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. Find out more…

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  • New Publication: Death, Ritual and Belief

    The RSP is delighted to be sponsored this month by a new publication from Douglas Davies – Death, Ritual and Belief: The Rhetoric of Funerary Rites

    Now in its third edition, this text provides an excellent introduction to key authors and authorities on death beliefs, bereavement, grief, and ritual-symbolism, all from a Religious Studies perspective (including anthropology and sociology). New additions to this publication cover euthanasia, terrorism, green burial, material culture, and online death studies; and case studies range from Anders Breivik in Norway, to the Rapture in the USA, to the Princess of Wales.

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    Religion and its Publics (Part 1)

    This week we’ve got something a little different for the Features segment. A couple of months ago the RSP attended the Open University’s conference on Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspectives. We thought this would be a great opportunity to do another RSP video! This time we decided to do something

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    Myth, Solidarity, and Post-Liberalism

    With the rise of reactionary politics across the globe, it is arguably increasingly important for the academic community to give consideration to the prospects of developing and strengthening solidarity across apparent religious, political and economic differences. In this podcast, Chris speaks to Dr Timothy Stacey (University of Ottawa) about his forthcoming book, Myth and Solidarity in the Modern World: Beyond Religious and Political Division (Routledge, 2018), in which he asks how we can begin to imagine solidarity in the modern world, and challenges academics to be challenge the co-option of their work by being “better than those who seek to co-opt us.”

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    Magic and Modernity

    This conversation between Richard Irvine, Theodoros Kyriakides and David G. Robertson concerns magical thinking in the modern world. We may think that such ideas are confined to the fringes in the secular, post-Enlightenment world, but this is not necessarily the case. We talk about Weber’s rationalisation and James Frazer’s evolutionary model of modernity, and how they relate to ideas of belief, and magic.

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    Shall we play the game?

    A response to “The BASR and the Impact of Religious Studies”
    By Jonathan Tuckett

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    Religious change in Japanese Shinto

    In this week’s podcast, Hans Van Eyghen sits down with Professor Michael Pye to discuss the  various historical, political, and social factors that have impacted Japanese Shinto.

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    This-Lifers and Afterlifers

    A response to “Good Grief? Rituals of World Repairing”
    by Douglas Davies

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    The BASR and the Impact of Religious Studies

    A panel on the public impact and engagement of Religious Studies/Study of Religion/s led by committee members of the British Association for the Study of Religions, including Dr Stephen Gregg (Wolverhampton), Dr Christopher Cotter (Edinburgh), Dr Suzanne Owen (Leeds Trinity), Dr David Robertson (The Open University) and Dr Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh).

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    ‘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 in creating relationships and world-repairing rituals in the context of grief and death.

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    “Unbelief” or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Imprecise Terminology

    A response to “From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A Developing Field…
    by Alex Uzdavines[1]

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    From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A developing field…

    In this podcast, we check in with the state of the field, discuss developments beyond the Anglophone “West”, some of the many exciting projects being worked on under the “Understanding Unbelief” banner, the utility and pitfalls of the terminology of “unbelief”, and some of the critical issues surrounding the reification of survey categories.

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    A student response to “Hinduism”

    Edinburgh Masters students respond to Will Sweetman on “Against Invention: A Richer History for ‘Hinduism’”
    by Whitney Roth and Lauren Flynn

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    Against Invention: A richer history for ‘Hinduism’

    In this interview Associate Professor Will Sweetman talks to Thomas White about the idea that ‘Hinduism’ and many of the other terms we use to classify religions—including the term religion itself—are modern inventions, emerging out of nineteenth-century inter-cultural contact and European colonialism. Will argues against this critique, and to make his case he draws on historical sources that discuss ‘Hinduism’ both outside of the anglophone experience and long before the nineteenth century. Through identifying alternative, non-anglophone sources of cross-cultural, West-East encounters, where comparative religion is the subject of reflection and description, the concept of ‘Hinduism’ is presented as obtaining a much richer history than the ‘invention thesis’ allows.

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    God and Mathematics

    What does math have to do with religion? In his interview with Hans van Eyghen, author Chris Ransford discusses his latest book ‘God and the Mathematics of Infinity’. He discusses why mathematics is useful for thinking about religion, covering some of the conclusions he draws in the book.

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