Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 38, No 1-2 (2019)

“The Study of Religion” and “Religious Studies”: To What are We Entitled and to Whom are We Obliged?

Aldea Mulhern
Issued Date: 14 May 2019

Abstract


Here I offer thoughts on what the recent history of the academic study of religion might reveal about its current state, and why we need to continually renew attention to our collective, and ideally, contested, vision for the academy. I frame this reflection in relation to two scholars of religion, Donald Wiebe and Michel Desjardins, who in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries shaped the Canadian and American academic conversation about this field of study. I approach their work in this area not as discrete faits accompli, but as examples of iterative self-construction in the history of the field. Attention should continually be paid to what kind of religious studies we do, and what we study when we study religion; part of that account is of the we, specifically of our relationality, in our entitlements and obligations.1 I am increasingly persuaded that the key nexus of focus for our attention is not (or is no longer) primarily in the question of the humanistic versus the social-scientific study of religion. Thinking through what we do over against what we think we ought to be doing will involve a less oppositional, more relational accounting of and accounting for who we think we are and what we think we owe one another.

 

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/rsth.38500

References


Asad, Talal. 1993. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0020743800061195

Berger, Peter. 1967. The Sacred Canopy. New York: Random House.

Coward, Harold. 2014. Fifty Years of Religious Studies in Canada: A Personal Retrospective. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press.

Coward, Harold, ed. 1983–2015. The Study of Religion in Canada: A State-of-the-Art Review. 6 Volumes. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842989702600306

Desjardins, Michel. 2011. “Studies in Religion /Sciences religieuses: A Forty-Year Retrospective.” Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses 40(1): 7–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008429810392355

———. 2012. “Religious Studies That Really Schmecks: Introducing Food to the Academic Study of Religion.” In Failure and Nerve in the Academic Study of Religion: Essays in Honor of Donald Wiebe, edited by William E. Arnal, Willi Braun, and Russell T. McCutcheon, 147–156. Sheffield: Equinox. https://doi.org/10.1086/684283

Gill, Sam. 1998. “No Place to Stand: Jonathan Z. Smith as Homo Ludens, The Academic Study of Religion Sub Specie Ludi.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66(2): 283–312. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/66.2.283

Harvey, Graham. 2013. Food, Sex, and Strangers: Redefining Religion. Durham: Acumen.

 

Juschka, Darlene. 2001. “Introduction.” In Feminism in the Study of Religion:
A Reader, edited by Darlene Juschka, 1–33. London: Continuum.

Masuzawa, Tomoko. 2005. The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.1086/511373

Mauss, Marcel. 2002. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Translated by W. D. Halls 1990, Foreword Mary Douglas 1990. Abingdon: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203407448

McCutcheon, Russell. 1997. Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842980002900315

McGuire, Meredith. 2008. Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McDannell, Colleen. 1995. Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture
in America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. https://doi.org/10.
2307/3170490

Orsi, Robert. 1997. “Everyday Miracles: The Study of Lived Religion.” In Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice, edited by David Hall, 3–21. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/3169898

———. 2013. “Doing Religious Studies with Your Whole Body | Practical Matters Journal.” Practical Matters 6. http://practicalmattersjournal.org/issue/6/centerpieces/doingreligious-studies-with-your-whole-body

Patton, Kimberley and Benjamin Ray, eds. 2000. A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age. Berkeley, CA: University of
California Press. https://doi.org/10.1086/491039

Ruel, Malcolm. 1997. Belief, Ritual, and the Securing of Life: Reflexive Essays on a Bantu Religion. Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1086/490216

Sharpe, Eric. 1986. Comparative Religion: A History. La Salle, IL: Open Court.

Tweed, Thomas. 2006. Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Smith, Jonathan Z. 1998. “Religion, Religions, Religious.” In Critical Terms for Religious Studies, edited by Mark C. Taylor, 269–284. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.

———. 2007. Afterword: “The Necessary Lie: Duplicity in the disciplines.” In Studying Religion: An Introduction, edited by Russell McCutcheon, 73–80. Sheffield: Equinox.

Wiebe, Donald. 1985. “The Failure of Nerve in the Academic Study of Religion.” Studies in Religion/ Sciences religieuses 13(4): 401–422. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842988401300403

 

Wiebe, Donald. 1988. “‘Why the Academic Study of Religion?’ Motive and Method in the Study of Religion.” Religious Studies 24(4): 403–413.

———. 2017. “The ‘Luther (Martin) Effect’ on the Study of Religion – Up to Eighty.” Religio 25(1): 99–108.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy