Latest Issue: Vol 46, No 2 (2017) RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

Philip L. Tite, University of Washington

Managing Editor
Arlene MacDonald, University of Texas Medical Branch

Book Review Editor
Adam T Miller, University of Chicago

Blog Editors
Matt K Sheedy, University of Manitoba
Stacie Swain, University of Ottawa

The Bulletin began life in 1971 as the CSSR Bulletin when it was published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion (CSSR). In 2009 the Council disbanded and the journal moved to Equinox. It remains affiliated with the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), a CSSR successor and NAASR members receive The Bulletin as part of their annual membership. See below for NAASR 2017 Call for Respondents, annual AAR program.

The Bulletin publishes articles that address religion in general, the history of the field of religious studies, method and theory in the study of religion, and pedagogical practices. Articles featured in the Bulletin cover diverse religious traditions from any time period (from ancient religions to new religious movements), but are typically distinguished by their social scientific methods (e.g., historical, sociological, anthropological, cognitive scientific) or critical theory apparatus (i.e., post-colonialist, post-structuralist, neo-marxist). The Bulletin is unique in that it offers a forum for various academic voices to debate and reflect on the ever-changing state of the field, and insofar as it encourages scholars continually to engage meta-level questions at the leading edge of inquiry.

Since 2010 (volume 39), the Bulletin has been published in print and online, with a print frequency of 4 issues per volume. The associated Bulletin Blog has been active since 2010 and has approximately 2,500 followers.


new Bulletin App, launching in March 2017 offers easy access to Bulletin issues as well as supplemental content not appearing in the print or electronic editions including interviews, book excerpts, and virtual issues drawing on content from across other Equinox books and journals as well as special offers for members and subscribers.

Publication Frequency (Print Edition)
March, June, September and December

ISSN: 2041-1863 (Print)
ISSN: 2041-1871 (Online)

Editorial Address
Philip Tite
c/o Equinox Publishing Ltd
Office 415, The Workstation
15 Paternoster Row
Sheffield, S1 2BX

Recent Blog Entries


Theses on Professionalization: Vincent Burgess

In this series with the Bulletin, we have asked 21 early career scholars to weigh in on Russell McCutcheon’s Theses on Professionalization, first published in 2007. In his 21 theses, McCutcheon offers advice to young scholars entering (or soon to enter) the job … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-12-12More...

Theses on Professionalization: Nickolas Roubekas

In this series with the Bulletin, we have asked 21 early career scholars to weigh in on Russell McCutcheon’s Theses on Professionalization, first published in 2007. In his 21 theses, McCutcheon offers advice to young scholars entering (or soon to enter) the job … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-12-05More...

Again with the Elephants…

by Adam T. Miller A few years ago, I started teaching an introductory religious studies course online. While I have since had the opportunity to redevelop the course, initially it was just something I inherited—syllabus, textbook, assignments, all of it. … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-30More...

Flourish and Decay: Exploring Religion in Process

Call for Papers The Religion Graduate Organization and the Department of Religion at Syracuse University announce the 2018 Graduate Student Conference Flourish and Decay: Exploring Religion in Process on Friday, April 13th, 2018. Flour·ish: [‘flǝriSH] (n., v.) growth and development in a … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-28More...

God of the (Consciousness) Gap: Religious Experience between Waking and Sleeping

by Adam J. Powell This post first appeared on What if I told you that last night I was visited by an angel whilst lying in bed? What if I could provide specific details, like that there were diffuse light and … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-23More...

What’s in Your Religion Syllabus?: Joshua Patterson

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars of religion to share with our readers what’s in their religion syllabus, from a new class or a class they’ve taught for years, reflecting on what has worked, what has been … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-21More...

Claims and Constraints: The Category of Religion in the SCC Ktunaxa Nation Decision

by Stacie Swain NB: This post adapts and expands comments that I made during a panel discussion hosted by the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law.[i] On 2 November 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released their decision in … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-16More...

Call for Papers: Ethics in Comedy

Edited by Steven A. Benko What makes a joke right or wrong? When is it good or bad to laugh? The rights and wrongs of a joke can be expressed in political terms: a joke is politically incorrect or it … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-14More...

”Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine”: Reflections on the European Academy of Religion

by Teemu Taira Have you seen the recent conference announcement by the European Academy of Religion (EuARe)? If you haven’t, I would strongly suggest that you have a look at the list of announced keynotes for the conference that takes … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-09More...

When White Supremacists Come To Town

by Rebekka King This post originally appeared on the Wabash Center blog. Editor’s note: While this post initially appeared on October 26, just prior to a white supremacists rally in both Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, its on-going implications remain as relevant … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-11-07More...

Recent Articles


A Recipe for Success, or for Assignment Starvation? When Students Wanted an Assignment Outline, What I Gave Instead, and What Happened Next

This article is about teaching fieldwork-based analytical writing, using a recipe. It comes out of my unease with some traditional forms of university pedagogy, and is part of a larger story of how I used food and foodways materially and epistemically in a second-year course. Here, I focus on how and why I adapted a part of my course mid-stream in response to student needs, by responding to student requests for an assignment handout with a recipe for writing.
Posted: 2017-05-12More...

Making Sense of Religion and Food

When looking at eating beyond physical nourishment, British anthropologist Mary Douglas (1921-2007) defined food as a cultural system, or code that communicates not only biological information, but social structure and meaning. What can a study of food and faith teach us, as scholars of religion, that we might not otherwise know? This article outlines thematic and pedagogical approaches to teaching food and religion through the lens of five semesters of teaching this course to undergraduate and graduate students. In it, I explore the topics of Food memory and community; Food and scripture; Food, gender and race; and Stewardship and Charity, thinking about spiritual and physical nourishment in the world's major religious traditions.
Posted: 2017-05-12More...

Food Matters: Tasting, Teaching, Theorizing Religion and Food

Each week in my religion and food course during Spring 2016, a student or I brought foods related to the religious group we were studying into the classroom for all to try. With the first dish they tasted, students asked, “So what makes this food ‘religious’?” This question formed the central theme throughout the semester as we wrestled with what religion is in the context of food and foodways: the network of material aspects (food itself; practices like growing, distributing, cooking, eating; sensory experiences such as taste) and conceptual aspects (ideas, meanings, metaphors, symbols, values such as taste) of food in a particular social/cultural group. The familiar and unfamiliar foods elicited visceral reactions from students. This essay argues that paying closer attention to religion as an independent interpretive category and especially to food itself, as a material agent eliciting powerful sensory effects that precede religious ideas and enable those ideas, provides an alternative to dependence on common food studies’ interpretive categories and on the Protestant-influenced focus on food as abstracted symbol or metaphor of ‘meaning.’
Posted: 2017-05-10More...

Bread Beyond Borders: Food as a Lens Into Tweed's Theory of Religion

In this article I rely on Tweed’s theory of religion as found in Crossing and Dwelling (2006) to inform my exploration of how transnational identities are negotiated through food. I show how food is an ideal lens through which to see Tweed’s theory at work on the ground, in the lives, and bodies, of transnational migrants. Focussing on the last five words of Tweed’s definition of religion, namely that religions “make homes and cross boundaries,” I address how food plays the same role that Tweed posits for religion in the processes of home making and boundary crossing. Using examples from my ethnographic fieldwork in Paris, France and Montréal, Canada I show how, for my informants, food (in place of religion in Tweed’s theory) designates “where they are from,” identifies “who they are with” and prescribes “how they move across” the various borders, both physical and psychological in their lives.
Posted: 2017-05-09More...

Am I a Buddhist Because I am Vegetarian? Teaching at the Intersections of Religion and Food

Food can be a wonderful way to approach the theoretical realm in studying and teaching on the concept of religion. In this article, I share what I find to be a successful approach for teaching social theory via my own research on food and religion. This approach is as much about how the categories of food and religion “intersect,” as it is about comparing how they are socially constructed and how social relations are constantly being constituted in these processes. I provide two short examples of how I go about this task followed by some final remarks on what helps structure my courses in this manner. This is but a brief glimpse into the trajectory I aim for in my teaching methodology- one that helps students see the relevance of social theory in their everyday lives.
Posted: 2017-05-09More...

Most Viewed Articles


Current Trends in the Study of Early Christian Martyrdom

This paper investigate recent scholarship on early Christian martyrdom. It discusses the shift away from the study of the origins of martyrdom to an interest in martyrdom and the body, Christian identity formation, and martyrdom and orthodoxy. It further discusses the need for a reappraisal of the evidence for early Christian martyrdom and the renewed attention that questions of dating, authorship, and provenance have received.
Posted: 2012-08-12More...

Theoretical Challenges in Studying Religious Experience in Gnosticism: A Prolegomena for Social Analysis

Several theoretical impediments face the ancient historian who wishes to embark on the study of religious experience within ancient cultures. While many of these difficulties face other religious studies scholars, the historical quality compounds these challenges. This paper explores several of these theoretical difficulties with a specific focus on the Valentinian, Sethian, and other so-called “Gnostic” groups in late antiquity. Specifically, the study of religious experience tends to give privileged interpretative position to insiders (evoking the etic/emic problem) and psychological analyses due to the “personal” or “individual” quality of such experiences (typified by perennialist approaches) (Otto, Wach, Eliade, Smart), or, following James and Jung, focus on the initial charismatic moment’s effect upon subsequent social structures. In contrast to such tendencies I suggest, by building on Fitzgerald’s lead in the Guide to the Study of Religion and largely agreeing with constructivist approaches, that we re-direct our focus toward the external social forces at play that discursively facilitate, shape, and direct experiential moments within the confines of social identity construction. This article builds on attachment theory from social psychology. Such analysis will allow us to better appreciate the experiential aspects of “Gnosticism” while appreciating the individual, communal, and (most importantly) discursive quality of the intersection of the individual and communal. Specific examples of such social facilitation will be briefly explored from Nag Hammadi, where ritual, narrative, and mythological discourse function to enable, and thereby define, religious experience.
Posted: 2012-12-18More...

Reinventing Religious Studies: An Interview with Scott Elliott

I interviewed Scott S. Elliott in December 2013, where we discussed his recent book (as editor) Reinventing Religious Studies: Key Writings in the History of a Discipline (Acumen 2013). Our conversation ranged from the history of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion to how articles appearing in its journal, the CSSR Bulletin, over some 40-odd years have been at the leading edge of advancing debates in the study of religion, from problems in theory and method and the definition of religion, to issues of identity politics and the study of Islam.
Posted: 2014-03-05More...

Religion Snapshots: On the Uses of “Data”

Religion Snapshots is a new feature with the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, where a number of contributors are asked to briefly comment on popular news items or pressing theoretical issues in the field, especially those topics relating to definitions, classification and method and theory in the study of religion more generally. Below is one such roundtable discussion, focusing on the problematic notion of “data” in the study of religion. The editors of the Bulletin encourage readers to follow Religion Snapshots on our blog (and, of course, we welcome responses to the topics discussed by other scholars).
Posted: 2014-01-10More...

Romania’s Saving Angels: ”New Men”, Orthodoxy and Blood Mysticism in the Legionary Movement

In Romania, a Christian, ultranationalistic movement known as The Legionary Movement has before and after the Communist period called for a national, spritual revolution. Perceiving themselves as front fighters protected by the Archangel, Legionaries endeavour to purify the nation so that it can live in its God-given fatherland. In order to assure national resurrection, Legionaries want to create a “New Man”, understood as a new male. This ideal combines the qualities of a Christian martyr, a working hero, a monk and a militant and as such both complex and ambiguous. In practice, Legionaries have a lot in common with other European “boot boys”. Based on field studies, this article discusses the role of men in this movement: their role models, male bonding, rituals and myths, as well as their concepts of family, brotherhood and blood relations, all with reference to a particular ethnonationalistic, christocentric worldview.
Posted: 2012-03-15More...


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