The Insider/Outsider problem, relating to where scholars position themselves relating to the subject matter (whatever that may be), is one of the most perennial problems in the academic study of religion. Does one have to be a member of a community for your testimony about that community to be valid? Or does your membership of the community invalidate your objectivity? Does an academic training permanently exclude you from insider status regardless of your personal ‘beliefs’ or sense of belonging? These questions and many more form part of the theoretical backdrop for this interview with Dr Chryssides.
An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy
By Liam Sutherland, University of Edinburgh
Published by the Religious Studies Project, on 17 February 2012 in response to the Religious Studies Project Interview with Graham Harvey on Animism (13 February 2012).
The interview with Graham Harvey on Animism was of particular
“Managing your bibliography is one of the most essential skills you can develop as an academic. For some, the system will be a matter of organised chaos; a personalised mess of paper, online files, post-it notes which makes sense to you and only you. And that’s fine. In the end, no one else needs to understand your system for organising your personal reference library. For others, there will be a complex system of neatly ordered cards or word-processed documents. And for others, like me, there will be bibliographic software.”
We decided when we launched the Religious Studies Project that we wanted to have a reasonable amount of content available on the site before we started a major publicity push. Now that we have published our fifth podcast – David’s interview with Graham Harvey – we are ready to start
Animism is often taken as referring to worldviews in which spirits are to be found not only in humans, but potentially in animals, in plants, in mountains and even natural forces like the wind. It was of central importance in early anthropological conceptions of religion, most notably in the work of E. B. Tylor. More recently, however, Graham Harvey has challenged the traditional conception of animism, seeking to understand it as “relational epistemologies and ontologies”; in other words, it is a way of living in a community of persons, most of whom are other-than-human.
The Merits of Hybrid Theology
By Gemma Gall, University of Edinburgh
Published by the Religious Studies Project, on 10 February 2012 in response to the Religious Studies Project Interview with Donald Wiebe on the relationship between Religious Studies and Theology (6 February 2012).
The work of Donald Wiebe is not entirely alien to
“More often than not, however, our manuscripts seem to come from (a.) authors we’ve worked with before, (b.) authors published by other companies whose previous books we like, or (c.) first-time authors recommended by other authors with whom we have established relationships.)”
It is generally accepted – at least as far as most academics are concerned – that there is a distinct difference between religious studies and theology. As you shall see from this interview, however, things are much more complicated, and Professor Wiebe is particularly qualified to present his own take on the relationship between these two distinct disciplines.
Finding religiosity within a parody
By: Essi Mäkelä, University of Helsinki
Published by the Religious Studies Project, on 3 February 2012 in response to the Religious Studies Project Interview with Carole Cusack on ”Invented Religions” (30 January 2012).
A parody of religion will include elements
“Stage fright is something everybody has to handle in their own way. But academic culture is something we can deliberately change. This short essay is an attempt to begin that process with some pointers for effective public speaking.”
What is an “Invented Religion”? Why should scholars take these religions seriously? What makes these “inventions” different from the revelations in other religions? What happens when an author does not want their story to become a religious text?
“As the cognitive science of religion matures, there will no doubt be creative and exciting approaches to the current debates and to questions that are only beginning to arise in the field, such as how thinking about malevolent agents differs from thinking about benevolent ones. It is an exciting time for the study of religious cognition.”
“applicants should realize that in today’s situation most institutions advertising a position will receive many more applications than those charged with evaluation of them want to handle. So, the person(s) going through the applications will initially look for reasons to set aside as many applications as possible, so that a smaller, manageable lot is left for more detailed consideration.”
The cognitive study of religion has quickly established itself as the paradigmatic methodology in the field today. It’s grounded in the concept that religiosity is natural because it is well adapted to the cognitive propensities developed during the evolution of our species. In this episode, Professor Armin Geertz tells Chris why it deserves its prominent profile, and how it is developing.
“This general lack of clarity over what is contained in the phrase ‘phenomenology of religion’ and who are phenomenologists has generated considerable misgivings about the field. Indeed, Willard Oxtoby rightly acknowledges that there are ‘as many phenomenologies as there are phenomenolgoists’ (Oxtoby, 1968:598).”