Welcome to Stirling University’s Critical Religion Research Group. This site describes the work that we do, the kind of engagement we pursue, and the possibilities of studying and working with us.
What is Critical Religion?
Critical Religion is a key marker of how we ‘do’ religion at Stirling. The term ‘critical religion’ is one created by colleagues in the department that seeks to describe two key approaches to thinking about religion:
- following in part from ground-breaking work by Tim Fitzgerald, Russell McCutcheon, Naomi Goldenberg, Talal Asad and others, we seek to understand what we are thinking about when we think about religion: for example, why has much of western culture identified one particular kind of ritual as ‘religious’ (such as baptism) whilst other kinds of ritual are seen as ‘secular’ (such as military parades). Not all cultures make these divisions, but the dominance of western cultural norms around the world from the colonial era onwards has impacted in profound ways on how people globally think about these issues.
- ‘critical religion’ as we pursue it also means more than this: we examine religion from a positive critical standpoint, with a view to showing how open to re-interpretation or re-conceptualisation the term ‘religion’ is today in our intellectual, social, and cultural spheres. We try to do this in ways that seek out and identify the limits of the language we employ (whether this be ‘religious language’ or language about ‘religion’ or ‘religions’ etc.), so that we can move beyond these limiting terms and concepts.
You will find a fuller discussion of how we interpret these ideas (and what they mean for our research and teaching) here.
We have organised several public and academic events, and are in the process of arranging more. Details are these events are here.
We encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have about our work. Each staff page includes contact details, and there is also a generic contact page.