Implicit Religion, Vol 22, No 3-4 (2019)

Response to Contributors

Timothy Fitzgerald
Issued Date: 4 Aug 2020


In my first contribution to this issue, I looked at my motives for writing The Ideology of Religious Studies (IRS). I tried to sort out some of the inherent problems and contradictions in IRS, as well as the parts that seem to me to be valid and worthwhile. I suggested that, when I wrote IRS, I was not fully conscious that there is an unresolved tension between two different projects. One is limited critique, which tries to isolate the critical deconstruction of religion and turns a half-opened eye to the similar and inherent problems in other categories strongly associated with “secular” universities, such as “politics,” “society,” “nation” or “culture.” The other is extended or unlimited critique, which follows the critical logic where it goes, and consistently subjects other categories to similar treatment. I was not fully conscious of this antagonism at the time of writing, and I think it may help to understand the different things that different people have derived from IRS.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.41791


Barbato, Melanie, Cameron Montgomery and Rajalakshmi Nadadur Kannan. eds. Accepted for publication, 2020. Critical Religion Reader. Pembroke, ON: Studio Dreamshare.

Latour, Bruno. 2004. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30(2): 225–248.

Harrison, Joel. 2016. “Facts v. Values: Can Religious Studies Be More Critical?”
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Hervieu-Léger Danièle. 2000. Religion as a Chain of Memory. Cambridge: Polity.

Horii, Mitsutoshi. 2017. The Category “Religion” in Contemporary Japan: Shukyo and Temple Buddhism. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fitzgerald, Timothy. 2016. “Postcolonial Remains: Critical Religion, Postcolonial Theory, and Deconstructing Modern Categories.” In The Postcolonial World, edited by Joytsna Singh and David Kim, 169–183. Abingdon. Routledge.


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