Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: The Co-Dependency of Religion and the Secular

In our fifth editors’ pick, Marek Sullivan writes “Few questions are as meta-reflexive as the question ‘Is secularism a world religion?’ […] Donovan Schaefer brings his background in critical theory and material religions to bear on this mind-bending question, leading us through the history of the secularisation thesis, the idea of ‘world religions’, the Protestant genealogy of secularism, and the urgency of parsing the academic study of secularism into historically and culturally differentiated variants.”

Let me see more…

  • What is RSP?

    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…

  • Support RSP
  • To whom we are grateful…
  • Follow RSP
  • Subscribe via email
  • Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: Studying the “off-the-beaten-track”

    In the fourth of our editors’ picks, Ray Radford picks David Robertson’s interview with David Wilson on ‘Spiritualism and Shamanism’ which “helped me realise that my burgeoning interest was in religions that were off the beaten track (so to speak) and that there was so much out there that I can (and will and indeed at the moment, do) study.”

    Let me see more…

    Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: Shifting from religions to ‘religion’

    In the third of our editors’ picks, David Robertson picks “the interview that I wished I had done. Reading Tim Fitzgerald’s The Ideology of Religious Studies (2000) as an undergrad was part of a seismic shift in my perspective, from an interest in religions to an interest in ‘religion’ […]. This is a dense interview that rewards another listen.”

    Let me see more…

    Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: The Intersections of Religion and Feminism

    In the second of our summer “Editors’ Picks”, Sammy Bishop flags up an important interview in which Dawn Llewellyn provides a great introduction to how feminism, religion, and the academic study of both, might (or indeed, might not) interact. Llewellyn also does an excellent job of flagging up how future work in these fields could become more productively interdisciplinary.

    Let me see more…

    Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: Critiquing the Axial Age

    In the first of our summer “Editors’ Picks”, Chris Cotter flags up an important interview, in which Jack Tsonis “demonstrates how the term ‘Axial Age’ shares much in common with the notion of ‘World Religions’ in that both – to quote the subtitle to Tomoko Masuzawa’s seminal work – preserve ‘European universalism […] in the language of pluralism’.”

    Let me see more…

    The first meeting of the RSP Trustees

    This afternoon we had the first meeting of the Trustees of the Religious Studies Project Association (that’s the name of the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation that produces the RSP). Besides Chris Cotter and myself (David Robertson), the Trustees are Carole Cusack (Sydney), Russell McCutcheon (Alabama) and Dominic Corrywright (Oxford Brooks), so

    Let me see more…

    Religion and its Publics (Part 2)

    In the last feature of the “semester” we’re continuing with the video format. A couple of months ago the RSP attended the Open University’s conference on Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspectives. I went about asking the pundits a couple of questions about Religion and its Publics. This week we have the

    Let me see more…

    What we can learn from our Founding Fathers

    In this discussion, Professor Schmidt discusses her keynote lecture at the Open University’s “Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspectives: Publics and Performances”. We turn back to discuss some of the “founding fathers” of the discipline of Religious Studies: Rudolf Otto, R.R. Marrett, and Andrew Lang. These three founding fathers all proposed a non-rational understanding of religion which is relevant today to our considerations of religion in terms of vernacular or “lived” religion.

    Let me see more…

    The Blog Assignment: Confronting “Spirituality” in Teaching Religious Studies

    In this second of a two-part series, Richard Ascough adds his voice to Sharday Mosurinjohn’s reflections on a new blog post assignment used in a course on Spirituality, Secularity, and Nonreligion taught through the School of Religion at Queen’s University. In the earlier post, Sharday noted that she learned two key lessons: that students are concerned about what it means to be “critical” in a public posting and that they do not have a level of digital literacy that one might expect in a generation that grew up fully immersed in digital technologies. In this follow-up post, Sharday and Richard discuss strengths and weaknesses in students’ digital literacy and explore how understanding one of the weaknesses might actually help us understand a particularly troublesome religious studies concept – what they consider a “threshold concept.”

    Let me see more…

    Spirituality

    To discuss ‘spirituality’, we are joined by Boaz Huss and Steven Sutcliffe. We discuss the genealogy of ‘spirituality’, and its contemporary significance, with particular reference to the New Age movement. The second half focuses on how spirituality may trouble the religion / secular distinction, and its implications for the critical study of religion.

    Let me see more…

    Superheroes are Immigrants, or Immigrants are Superheroes?

    A Response to “Muslim Superheroes”
    by Kemal Budak

    Let me see more…

    “Soka Gakkai, Kōmeitō and the religious voices of Japan’s political arena

    Throughout Japanese history, religion has always coloured and influenced the matters of the state. Religious validation of imperialist aggression and Japan’s war efforts in the first half of the 20th century is just one example of this. Japanese religious institutions entered the post-war period with the ethically problematic baggage of

    Let me see more…

    Putting an Umbrella Over a Bridge

    A Response to “Worldviews and Ways of Life”
    by Alex Uzdavines

    Let me see more…

    Muslim Superheroes

    A. Dave Lewis joins us again for a discussion of representations of Muslims in superhero comics. We talk about some positive representations, like Kamala Khan, Marvel’s new Ms Marvel, and some less-than-positive portrayals, like Frank Millar’s Holy Terror! We talk about American comics as a product of the immigrant experience, and how comics made by Muslims play with the conventions of the genre. And we talk about how to use these texts in the classroom, as a powerful tool for exploring representation, media and religion. And what is the “wormhole sacred”?

    Let me see more…

    The Blog Assignment: “Authentic” Learning about Spirituality, Secularity, and Nonreligion?

    In this first post of a two-part series Sharday Mosurinjohn reflects on the outcome of a new assignment that was intended to invite students to write in a way that was both familiar to their usual online communication (short and social media-based) and scholarly. The results led her to rethink the meaning of “authentic learning” (pedagogical approaches that empower learners to collaborate with one another – and in this case, professional scholars – to engage real-world complex problems) when it comes to digital information and communication technologies. In the second post, she and colleague Richard Ascough (School of Religion, Queen’s University) will discuss strengths and weaknesses in students’ digital literacy and explore how understanding one of the weaknesses might actually help us understand a particularly troublesome religious studies concept – what they consider a “threshold concept.”

    Let me see more…