Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 37, No 1 (2018)

A Logico-Indigenous Critique of Atalia Omer’s Critical Caretaker Binary

Adam Stewart
Issued Date: 7 Jun 2018

Abstract


In this article I do three things. First, I describe the logical coherence of the critic caretaker binary articulated by Russell T. McCutcheon, which argues that, in order to be successful at their work, it is necessary for scholars of religion to be critics, not caretakers, of the religions they study. Second, I describe the logical incoherence of the more recent critical caretaker binary proposed by Atalia Omer, which argues that, when they encounter conflict or social injustice, scholars of religion can successfully operate in a third mode of practice that combines those of critic and caretaker. Finally, using the example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, I very briefly illustrate how the critical caretaker binary is not only illogical, but also ethically negligent, as its application among Indigenous subjects does violence to these individuals in ways that could be avoided by adhering to the critic caretaker binary.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.34745

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