On 5 September 2019, David Robertson and his colleague from the Religious Studies Project, Chris Cotter, delivered the opening lecture at the XXXIII Jahrestagung der Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW 2019) in Hannover. Or, rather, they were stuck between flights in Amsterdam, and so recorded the lecture in advance. Here it is. Thanks to the organizers for inviting us, and allowing us to share.
Abstract: What happens to the study of religion when the comparative categories upon which it is founded fall away? Can we reconceptualize the field? Should we? ‘After World Religions’ (2016) attempted to show some ways in which we might address this in our teaching practise, but it also showed how hegemonic categories like “world religions” continue to be in public discourse and in the institutional logic of the modern Religious Studies department. The growth of studies into the non-religious and embodied vernacular practices may suggest the broader relevance of our approach(es), but also represent a defence of categories like “religion” against these criticisms. This input paper will discuss and critically assess some possible ways forward for Religious Studies after World Religions.
Want to know what’s in R45, our brand new honours degree course on Religion, Philosophy and Ethics? Here’s Graham Harvey and Carolyn Price to give you a taster.
They discuss what students will gain from studying this degree – what skills will you develop? How might studying this qualification be valuable at work or elsewhere? Why are these good subjects to study together? We’ll also talk about the content of the modules, the connections between the Religious Studies and Philosophy modules, and how ethics fits in.
Graham Harvey talks about “Finding Religion Where You Are” at the Open University’s Religious Studies Student Day, September 18th 2018. This talk is a taster of material you can explore in depth in A227, “Exploring Religion”
Stefanie Sinclair talks about Regina Jonas, the first female Rabbi, at the Open University’s Religious Studies Student Day, September 18th 2018. This talk is a taster of material you can explore in depth in A332, “Why is Religion Controversial?”
FASS Chats are a light-hearted look at the world through the eyes of OU Arts and Social Science academics. With no script, experts from wide-ranging fields of study and research chat about a topic, bringing their different perspectives to the discussion.
Paul Francois Tremlett took part in the latest FASS Chat, to talk about Christmas with Lynda Prescott and Jonquil Lowe. Our seasonal traditions might be more recent, complex and darker than you realised!
We’re back! In bang-on three minutes, Stefanie Sinclair tells us about Benedict Anderson’s theory of Imagined Communities, in which groups gather around ideas and identities even when separated geographically. Originally coined for nationalism studies, the concept has great significance for other fields, including Religious Studies.
What Imagined COmmunities are you part of? Let us know in the comments!
Religious festivals involve a range of social practices. From having an annual drink with acquaintances before Christmas, office parties, spending money on gifts and eating a weeks’ worth of food in a day, and ideally fitting in all that study, juggling demands can be difficult. In this session, we think about what these religious festivals might add, and how restraint during Lent or Ramadan, followed by festivities, are different to things like dry January.
But what does this have to do with studying? Taking ideas of restraint and celebration and applying those to study, Graham Harvey and Paul-Francois Tremlett give you some space to think about potential gains vs time, acknowledging success, and when discipline can be useful in your studies.