Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 44, No 3 (2015)

Editor’s Corner: Critics or Caretakers? It’s All in the Mapping

Philip L. Tite
Issued Date: 7 Sep 2015


A short essay, in responding to an online roundtable (the Religious Studies Project), explores the role of progressive ideology in the academic study of religion, specifically with a focus on debates over Russell McCutcheon's distinction between scholars functioning as cultural critics or caretakers of religious traditions. This short piece is part of the "Editor's Corner" (an occasional section of the Bulletin where the editors offer provocative musings on theoretical challenges facing the discipline).

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v44i3.26866


Arnal, William E. 1998. “What If I Don’t Want to Play Tennis? A Rejoinder to Russell McCutcheon on Postmodernism and Theory of Religion.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 27.1: 61-66.

Harré, Rom and Luk van Langenhove, eds. 1999. Positioning Theory: Moral Contexts of Intentional Action. Oxford: Blackwell.

McCutcheon, Russell T. 2001. Critics Not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

______. 1998. “Returning the Volley to William E. Arnal.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 27.1: 67-68.

______. 1997a. “A Default of Critical Intelligence? The Scholar of Religion as Public Intellectual.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65.2 (1997): 443-68.

______. 1997b. “ ‘My Theory of the Brontosaurus’: Postmodernism and “Theory” of Religion.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 26.1: 3-23.


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