Critical Religion Research Group

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What is Critical Religion?

We are all committed to approaching religion in a critical manner, ‘critical’ being understood in all its positive senses, with two broad strands informing our work:

Firstly: We question the fundamental category of ‘religion’.  It is sometimes assumed to be a ‘thing’ that simply exists, and this is where, in part, the idea that we can study ‘religions‘ as entities in any society or context comes from.  This, of course, implies that what ‘religion’ actually is is common knowledge and applies to all contexts, geographic and ideational (in Scotland, the Middle East, Asia, or in power and gender structures etc.).  This assumes that ‘we will know it when we see it’.  But where, in any given context, does religion begin, end or transgress into other areas?  Some of the great religion scholars of the past have argued that there is some kind of supernatural essence to ‘religion’ based on a person’s relationship to (a) God.  But perhaps ‘religion’ as a category has little meaning on its own because the boundaries around what is and what is not ‘religion’ are so blurred when related to other categories (such as politics, economics etc.)?

Secondly: Rather than hold religion to suspicion, or blame, or discredit, or incredulity – a growing tendency amongst certain public intellectuals, even if against the tide of global demographics – we examine religion from a positive critical standpoint.  What this means is that we engage in our work 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.Just as the term ‘critical’ has a wide semantic range, so too does the concept of religion continue to develop beyond traditional and conventional boundaries.  So not only do we find engagement with the idea of ‘religion’ in the contexts of religious institutions, but also within the fields of hermeneutics, visual art, literature, history, gender studies, anthropology, politics, philosophy and so on.

What unites us in thinking about these two strands is a conception of religion that inflects on our teaching and our research in ways that accord to the varied meanings of the term ‘critical’:

  • Crucial: We believe that the question of religion remains absolutely essential to our thinking about what it means to be human, and especially what it means to be human in relationship, in what we can now only call a post-secular 21st century.
  • Exercising careful observation and judgement: For us, religion must be examined with utmost rigour, not taking for granted pre-conceived notions or inherited traditions, but carefully examining the ideas of religion, with all their variegated histories, both in theory and in praxis, in order to uncover both the complexities and profundities that ‘religions’ have always embodied, as well as the new possibilities that the term ‘religion’ (or its substitutes) might now afford.
  • Discerning the limits: Following upon Kant’s notion of Kritik in his famous three Critiques, we interrogate the nature of thinking “religiously” with a view to its own internal limits.  How far can the concept of ‘religion’ take us before it must, perhaps necessarily, leave its own conceptual framework behind?  Can a religion, in its particularised, organised, institutional form, be conserved amid the realities of our modern, or postmodern, or post-postmodern, world?   Or must the limits and limitations of these concepts give way to new modes of thinking, which nevertheless may still be deemed somehow religious, even if under different terms (such as spirituality), and, more significantly, as informed by different disciplines?  For us being critical with religion is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary mode of engagement: incorporating many disciplines, but also going beyond the limits of any one discipline, whether of theology, biblical studies, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, the visual arts, hermeneutics, postcolonialism, feminism, gender studies, politics, history, cultural studies, and critical theory itself.
  • Of the nature of a crisis: Few will contest, from whatever position, that religion, however construed, is presently in the midst of a crisis, whether in Western or global contexts.  Many would argue that religion is still flourishing in the world.  But the contentious nature of religion has never been more palpable as it is now, intellectually, culturally, ideologically, politically, and militarily.  We feel this is an important time to be studying religion, not to relieve religions of their crises, as if this were desirable or could ever be done comprehensively, but to understand and appreciate the gravity and far-reaching influence these crises have on our perceptions of reality and on our subsequent actions within our local, national and transnational spheres of existence.
  • Critical mass, a point at which some action, property or condition passes over into another: In drawing upon a broad range of ideas, theories, and disciplines, we hope that our approach at Stirling goes some way to forming a critical mass with respect to the question of religion.  We feel that ‘religion’ and thinking ‘religion’ is at a crucial point in what we might call our ‘Western world’, as well as in all other contexts.  The impact of globalisation, arising from colonialism and the intrusion of capitalist systems into all parts of the world, means that ideas of religion and its inherited history of ideas and practices is of global import.  We feel it is in the process of passing over into something ‘other’ and ‘new’ – but the exact nature of this ‘other’ and ‘new’ is yet undetermined.  However, through our various yet connected research interests and teaching commitments, we hope to contribute to determining its features and the implications they will have – socially, culturally, ethically – on the world we inhabit.

These understandings are what make the study of religion at Stirling distinctive, offering a richness and diversity of thought that is reflected both in the work of the academic staff, and the various research projects of our postgraduate students.

Referencing

Here is a summary of referencing advice, based on the Chicago Manual of Style website. For most undergraduate coursework, the Quick Guide will be all you need.  These are some examples from the Quick Guide, and cover most of the examples you are likely to encounter as an undergraduate.

Ask your seminar tutor/course convener if you have specific questions related to referencing.

Remember: Bibliographic information must be in your notes and in the bibliography (final page of your essay).

Books with one author

Footnotes
  1. Andrew Hass, Hegel and the Art of Negation: Negativity, Creativity and Contemporary Thought (London: IB Tauris, 2013), 19.
  2. Hass, Hegel, 23.
Bibliography

Hass, Andrew. Hegel and the Art of Negation: Negativity, Creativity and Contemporary Thought. London: IB Tauris, 2013.

Books with Two or more authors

Footnotes
  1. Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, The War: An Intimate History, 1941–1945 (New York: Knopf, 2007), 52.
  2. Ward and Burns, War, 59–61.
Bibliography

Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns. The War: An Intimate History, 1941–1945. New York: Knopf, 2007.

For four or more authors, list all of the authors in the bibliography; in the note, list only the first author, followed by et al. (“and others”).

Chapter or other part of a book

In a note, list the specific page numbers consulted, if any. In the bibliography, list the page range for the whole chapter.

Footnotes
  1. Michael Marten, ‘Re-imagining ‘metropole’ and ‘periphery’ in mission history,’ in Protestant Missions and Local Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, eds. Hilde Nielssen et al, (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 297.
  2. Marten, ‘Re-imagining,’ 299.
Bibliography

Marten, Michael. ‘Re-imagining ‘metropole’ and ‘periphery’ in mission history’, in Protestant Missions and Local Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, eds. Hilde Nielssen, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, and Karina Hestad Skeie, 293-315. Leiden: Brill, 2011.

Preface, foreword, introduction, or similar part of a book

Footnote
  1. Michael Marten and Katja Neumann, introduction to Saints and Cultural Trans-/Mission, edited by Michael Marten and Katja Neumann (Sankt Augustin: Academia, 2013), 5.
  2. Marten and Neumann, introduction, 4.
Bibliography

Marten, Michael and Katja Neumann, introduction to Saints and Cultural Trans-/Mission, edited by Michael Marten and Katja Neumann, 1-6. Sankt Augustin: Academia, 2013.

Book published electronically

If a book is available in more than one format, cite the version you consulted, whether a real book or an e-book. For e-books, list a URL and include an access date. If no fixed page numbers are available, you can include a section title or a chapter or other number.

Footnotes
  1. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Penguin Classics, 2007), Kindle edition, chapter 17.
  2. Austen, Pride and Prejudice, chapter 15.
  3. Timothy Fitzgerald, The Ideology of Religious Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), accessed 8.1.2015, https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9780195347159/, 40.
  4. Fitzgerald, Ideology, 47.
Bibliography

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007. Kindle edition.

Fitzgerald, Timothy. The Ideology of Religious Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), accessed 8.1.2015, https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9780195347159/.

Journal article – in a print journal

In a note, list the specific page numbers consulted, if any. In the bibliography, list the page range for the whole article.

Footnotes
  1. Michael Marten, ‘Imperialism and evangelism: Scottish missionary methods in late 19th and early 20th century Palestine,’ Holy Land Studies 5/2 (2006): 140.
  2. Marten, ‘Scottish missionary,’ 157.
Bibliography

Marten, Michael. ‘Imperialism and evangelism: Scottish missionary methods in late 19th and early 20th century Palestine.’ Holy Land Studies, 5/2 (2006): 105-186.

Journal article – in an online journal

Include a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if the journal lists one. A DOI is a permanent ID that, when appended to http://dx.doi.org/ in the address bar of an Internet browser, will lead to the source. If no DOI is available, list a URL.

Footnote
  1. Alison Jasper, ‘Feminism, Religion and This Incredible Need to Believe: Working with Julia Kristeva Again,’ Feminist Theology 21/3 (2013): 283, accessed 8.1.15, DOI: 10.1177/0966735013484218.
  2. Jasper, ‘Feminism,’ 286.
Bibliography

Jasper, Alison. ‘Feminism, Religion and This Incredible Need to Believe: Working with Julia Kristeva Again.’ Feminist Theology 21/3 (2013): 279-294. Accessed 8.1.15. DOI: 10.1177/0966735013484218.

Website

Because website content is subject to change, include an access date or, if available, a date that the site was last modified.

Footnotes
  1. ‘What is Critical Religion?,’ last accessed 8.1.15, http://criticalreligion.org/what-is-critical-religion/.
  2. ‘What is Critical Religion?’
Bibliography

Critical Religion Association. ‘What is Critical Religion?,’ last accessed 8.1.15, http://criticalreligion.org/what-is-critical-religion/

Blog entry or comment

Similar to websites.

Footnotes
  1. Teemu Taira, ‘The Category of “Religion” in Organizing Contemporary Societies,’ Critical Religion Association, 21.7.2014, http://criticalreligion.org/2014/07/21/the-category-of-religion-in-organizing-contemporary-societies/.
  2. Taira, ‘Category of “Religion.”‘
  3. Chris, 23.7.2014 (13:32), comment on Teemu Taira, ‘The Category of “Religion” in Organizing Contemporary Societies,’ Critical Religion Association, 21.7.2014, http://criticalreligion.org/2014/07/21/the-category-of-religion-in-organizing-contemporary-societies/.
  4. Chris, comment on Taira ‘Category of “Religion.”‘
Bibliography

Taira, Teemu. ‘The Category of “Religion” in Organizing Contemporary Societies,’ Critical Religion Association, 21.7.2014, http://criticalreligion.org/2014/07/21/the-category-of-religion-in-organizing-contemporary-societies/.

Chris, 23.7.2014 (13:32), comment on Teemu Taira, ‘The Category of “Religion” in Organizing Contemporary Societies,’ Critical Religion Association, 21.7.2014, http://criticalreligion.org/2014/07/21/the-category-of-religion-in-organizing-contemporary-societies/.

Books with an Editor, translator, or compiler instead of author

Footnotes
  1. J. Stevenson, ed., A New Eusebius. Documents illustrative of the history of the Church to A.D. 337 (London: SPCK, 1957), 187.
  2. Stevenson, Eusebius, 267.
Bibliography

Stevenson, J., ed. A New Eusebius. Documents illustrative of the history of the Church to A.D. 337. London: SPCK, 1957.

Books with an Editor, translator, or compiler in addition to author

Footnotes
  1. Saint Augustine, The City of God, trans. John Healey, ed. R. V. G. Tasker (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1945), 60-61.
  2. Augustine, City, 146.
Bibliography

Saint Augustine, The City of God, trans. John Healey, ed. R. V. G. Tasker. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1945.

Chapter of an edited volume originally published elsewhere (as in primary sources)

Footnotes
  1. Quintus Tullius Cicero, “Handbook on Canvassing for the Consulship,” in Rome: Late Republic and Principate, ed. Walter Emil Kaegi Jr. and Peter White, vol. 2 of University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, ed. John Boyer and Julius Kirshner (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 35.
  2. Cicero, “Canvassing for the Consulship,” 35.
Bibliography

Cicero, Quintus Tullius. “Handbook on Canvassing for the Consulship.” In Rome: Late Republic and Principate, edited by Walter Emil Kaegi Jr. and Peter White. Vol. 2 of University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, edited by John Boyer and Julius Kirshner, 33–46. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Originally published in Evelyn S. Shuckburgh, trans., The Letters of Cicero, vol. 1 (London: George Bell & Sons, 1908).

Article in a newspaper or popular magazine

If you consulted the article online, include a URL and an access date. If no author is identified, begin the citation with the article title.

Footnotes
  1. Michael Marten, ‘Where were you? Reflections on the current crisis in the Middle East’, in Coracle, issue 3/60, June 2002, 10.
  2. Marten, ‘Where were you?,’ 11.
  3. Iain Macwhirter, ‘Time the rich were saved from themselves,’ The Herald, 24.12.2014, accessed 8.1.15, http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/iain-macwhirter-time-the-rich-were-saved-from-themselves.115091573.
  4. Macwhirter, ‘Time the rich.’
Bibliography

Marten, Michael. ‘Where were you? Reflections on the current crisis in the Middle East’, Coracle, issue 3/60, June 2002, 10-11.

Macwhirter, Iain, ‘Time the rich were saved from themselves,’ The Herald, 24.12.2014. Accessed 8.1.15, http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/iain-macwhirter-time-the-rich-were-saved-from-themselves.115091573.

Book review

Footnotes
  1. Michael Marten, ‘Perceptions and Realities of the Holy Land’, review of Imagining the Holy Land: Maps, Models, and Fantasy Travels by Burke O. Long, The Quality of Heroic Living, of High Endeavour and Adventure. Anglican Mission, Women and Education in Palestine, 1888-1948 by Inger Marie Okkenhaug, and The Christian Communities of Jerusalem and the Holy Land: Studies in History, Religion and Politics ed. by Anthony O’Mahony, Holy Land Studies, 3/1 (2004): 114.
  2. Marten, ‘Perceptions,’ 115.
Bibliography

Marten, Michael. ‘Perceptions and Realities of the Holy Land’, review of Imagining the Holy Land by Burke O. Long, The Quality of Heroic Living, of High Endeavour and Adventure by Inger Marie Okkenhaug, and The Christian Communities of Jerusalem and the Holy Land ed. by Anthony O’Mahony, Holy Land Studies, 3/1 (2004), 113-117.

Thesis or dissertation

Footnotes
  1. Rajalakshmi Nadadur Kannan, ‘Performing ‘religious’ music: interrogating Karnatic music within a postcolonial setting’ (PhD diss., University of Stirling, 2013), 67.
  2. Nadadur Kannan, ‘Performing’, 103.
Bibliography

Nadadur Kannan, Rajalakshmi. ‘Performing ‘religious’ music: interrogating Karnatic music within a postcolonial setting.’ PhD diss., University of Stirling, 2013.

Film on DVD

Footnotes
  1. The Message. The Story of Islam, directed by Moustapha Akkad (1977; UK: Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2006), DVD.
  2. The Message.
Bibliography

The Message. The Story of Islam. Directed by Moustapha Akkad. 1977. UK: Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2006. DVD.

March 2015 ‘Shrew or Rat’ – Will Tuladhar-Douglas

image courtesy of Will Tuladhar-Douglas

image courtesy of Will Tuladhar-Douglas

Shrew or Rat?
How ethnobiology reveals
a god hidden in plain sight

Dr Will Tuladhar-Douglas

University of Aberdeen

While ethnobiology and religious studies might seem to have little to do with each other, I will show that the use of research methods from ethnobiology—and Indology, anthropology, and history of art—reveal a wholly unknown deity with a distinct cult and history in one of the most intensively studied sites in Asia, Kathmandu. Further, the social anthropology of this deity exposes an indigenous critique of the state religion used to control Newar society.

Pathfoot B2 – Friday, 13 March 2015, 15:00 – all welcome!

Staff

The following members of staff from across the School of Arts and Humanities form the Critical Religion Research Group:

Dr Andrew Hass – Reader in Religion

Dr John I’Anson – Lecturer in Education

Dr Alison Jasper – Lecturer in Religion and Feminist Studies

Prof. Richard Roberts – Emeritus Visiting Professor

Dr Sabine Dedenbach Salazar-Sáenz – Senior Lecturer in Latin American and Amerindian Studies

Two members of the original Critical Religion Research Group left the university in 2015.  They are still involved in the Critical Religion Association:

Dr Tim Fitzgerald – formerly Reader in Religion

Dr Michael Marten – formerly Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies and Religion

Dr Alison Jasper

Senior Lecturer in Religion and Feminist Studies

Alison Jasper

MY INVOLVEMENT WITH CRRG:

I identify with the research theme of ‘critical religion’ because I think it’s important to recognise that the binary distinction between the religious and the secular has a complex history; we can’t just assume we know what these terms mean especially since they seem so heavily dependent on each other. Applying  ‘religious’ to things, practices or people in the west today, results, typically, in their being cast as private (thus not serious matters in the public world) irrational (thus not to be taken seriously) or dangerous (thus to be destroyed or violently controlled). Applying ‘secular’ to other things – government, economics, the ‘political’ –  results in them becoming ‘more serious, trustworthy or  rational in comparison. One key task of research in CRRG is to keep posing the questions:  are such distinctions really valid?  What are we doing when we use these terms?

‘Critical religion’ also resonates strongly with feminisms and gender analyses of the hegemonic, patriarchal, colonial subject/other,  because ‘woman’ – like ‘religion’ – and ‘the feminine’ is still so often indexed as irrational, in need of supervision and properly confined to a private rather than a public sphere. In this light it is interesting to note, the kind of critical yet not unsympatheic interest shown in the idea of ‘religion’ by feminist philosophers like Pamela Sue Anderson and Julia Kristeva. Nevertheless, a key aim of my research bridging both CR and  concerns with feminisms and gender analysis more generally is to keep these culturally rooted but philosophically contestable binary patterns under constant duress; whose interests is the current status quo serving in these contexts?

Educational spaces identified with ‘religion’ create a dilemma for today’s policy makers.  We can’t go back to Christian confessionalism but we seem to have fallen out of love with the notions of difference; multiculturalism, global diversity and ‘world religions’ are now viewed with suspicion in British policy making contexts in which funding for training teachers of RE (Religious Education) in England has been cut and UK university departments of TRS  (Theology and Religious Studies) are shrinking and disappearing. Does this reflect a properly critical approach to the religion/secular binary or simply its fuller reinforcement?

RECENTLY PUBLISHED IN RELATION TO THESE RESEARCH THEMES:

Anderson, P. S. & A. E. Jasper, “Engaging the ‘Forbidden Texts’ of Philosophy:  Pamela Sue Anderson Talks to Alison Jasper.” In  Text Matters:  A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 1.1: 2011. 312-328.

I’Anson, J. & A.E.  Jasper, “‘Religion’ in educational spaces:  Knowing, knowing well, and knowing differently.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education:  An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice. 10.3: July 2011.  295-314.

Jasper, Alison E., Because of Beauvoir: Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius. Texas:  Baylor University Press, 2012

Jasper, Alison E., “Feminism, religion and this incredible need to believe:  Working with Julia Kristeva again.” In Feminist Theology, May 2013.

OTHER RESEARCH RELATED PROJECTS:

SCHOOLING INDIFFERENCE under contract with Equinox publishers, London. A jointly authored book with John I’Anson (School of Education, University of Stirling) concerned with the positivity of difference – in the context of Religious Educational spaces – in a context now substantially ‘out of love’ with ideas of multiculturalism and set along the pathway to sameness or ‘indifference’.

ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS:  A research project with Dr John I’Anson (School of Education, University of Stirling) that has involved interviewing (14)  stakeholders in Scottish Religious Educational Spaces to find out how people feel about Religious Education spaces on the ground. (APPLICATIONS TO CARNEGIE FUND &  to continue this work in UK and Europe). Involves further interviews and analysis with a chance for feedback from contributors.

WOMEN, RELIGION AND GLOBAL POLITICS SYMPOSIUM:  Winchester 7-9th June 2013, Under the leadership of Professor Lisa Isherwood (Winchester University UK) and Dr Kathleen McPhillips (Newcastle, Australia).

TEACHING:

At UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL I regularly teach core courses (modules) on Religion and representation and on various theories of Religion including references to the themes of CRRG, setting this in a broader historical context.  At honours level I teach courses on Christianity, the Bible and Religion and feminism and gender, developing a spread of approaches to the history of western, Christian thinking about gender and, more recently, exploring differences in relation to what shapes gender issues in a more recent Chinese context.

A TAUGHT MASTERS PROGRAMME in gender and feminist studies is currently being developed to come on stream in 2014.  I will be teaching a core course on key feminist thinkers  and also exploring critical, feminist philosophical issues relating to ‘religion’.

I CURRENTLY SUPERVISE THE FOLLOWING PHD STUDENTS:

  • Rasa Luzyte (Goddess traditions) – Using tools derived from analytical psychology, feminist anthropology and Goddess thealogy and working with Russian and Lithuanian sources, Rasa is developing the model of a non-Christian Mary who bridges the gap between European goddess traditions and the post-Christian revival of thealogy and the Goddess.
  • Kat Neumann (Dorothee Sölle) – Working with her own translations of German theologian Sölle’s poetry to develop a theory of ‘deprivatised’ prayer, Kat insists on both poetry and prayer as vital keys to unlocking her extraordinary prophetic ambitions.
  • Miryam Clough (Shame) – Covering a wide range of perspectives on the issue of ‘shame’ from feminist theory and terror management theory to neuro-biology,  Miryam focuses on its role  in attempts to control and contain female subjectivity and the unruly female body in western Christian cultures.

March 2013.

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    Press release for Prof. Goldenberg’s visit

    This press release can also be downloaded as a PDF document.

    Professor Naomi Goldenberg

    Professor Naomi Goldenberg

    Professor Naomi Goldenberg, from the Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, is visiting Britain this coming week (21 – 28 April 2012) to give public and university addresses in Stirling, Aberdeen and London.

    Professor Goldenberg will argue that religions function effectively as ‘vestigial states’ (or remnants of states) – institutions and practices that originated in the past and in reference to former sovereignties, but still operate within contemporary nation states. This creates tensions between present and past authorities, between sacred and secular power, and between patriarchal and more progressively feminist structures.

    Her work has considerable relevance to contentious debates about religion in public life in Britain and in North America. She will be available for media interviews throughout her visit (see contact below).

    Professor Goldenberg offers a feminist critique of patriarchal religion. Her related interests include psychoanalytic theory, body politics, gender and popular culture. The author of Changing of the gods: Feminism and the end of traditional religions (1979), she is, amongst many other interests, on the editorial board of the journal Goddess Thealogy: An International Journal for the study of the Divine Feminine.

    Her visit is being sponsored by the University of Stirling’s Critical Religion Research Group, which is pioneering intellectual engagement with questions of religion at the interface between the academy and public debate.

    On Thursday 26 April she will give a major public lecture at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London, entitled ‘What’s God Got to Do With It? Feminism, Religion and the State’. This event is being co-sponsored by the cutting edge religion and society thinktank Ekklesia (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/).

    On Monday 23 April Professor Goldenberg speaks on ‘Contemporary Statecraft, Gender and the Category of Religion’ at the University of Stirling.

    On Tuesday 24 April she is speaking at a day workshop entitled Modernity and the Category of Religion, organised by Dr Trevor Stack of Aberdeen University’s Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law. Other speakers include Dr Stack, Dr Tamas Gyorfi, the University of Stirling’s Dr Timothy Fitzgerald, Dr Suzanne Owen and Dr Brian Bock. Stirling’s Dr Alison Jasper is a discussant.

    – Ends –

    Notes to Editors:

    1. All enquiries should be directed in the first instance to Dr Michael Marten on 01786 467532 (in and out of office hours) and michael.marten@stir.ac.uk.
    2. Full visit details: https://www.criticalreligion.stir.ac.uk/events/april-2012-naomi-goldenberg-visit/.
    3. Professor Naomi Goldenberg’s CV is available here: http://naomigoldenberg.com/cv.html.
    4. Advance contributions from Professor Goldenberg on the Critical Religion blog: https://www.criticalreligion.stir.ac.uk/author/naomigoldenberg/.
    5. The Critical Religion Research Group (founded 2010/11) pioneers intellectual engagement with questions of religion through events in the university and public spheres and a regular multi-author blog linking academic research and contemporary issues. More information on Critical Religion is available at: https://www.criticalreligion.stir.ac.uk/what-is-critical-religion/.

    April 2012 Dr Seija Jalagin

    On behalf of the department of Languages and Literatures, the Critical Religion Research Group is delighted to be welcoming Seija Jalagin, University of Oulu, to the University of Stirling.

    Dr Jalagin is Senior Lecturer in General History and Japanese Studies, having published widely on the study of Finnish missions to Japan. She continues to work on Japan, and is also now pursuing the study of Finnish missions to Jews in Jerusalem. She is one of the co-editors of the CLIOH-World research project’s book World and Global History – Research and Teaching, available as a download here.

    She will be speaking on 16. April at 15:00 in Pathfoot E26, on ‘A Transnational Love-story: Contesting Gender and Ethnicity in Finnish Mission to Early 20th-Century Japan’ – all Stirling staff and postgraduate students are most welcome. Enquiries should be directed to Michael Marten in the first instance.

    April 2012 Naomi Goldenberg visit

    The Critical Religion Research Group is delighted to be hosting Naomi Goldenberg, Professor of Religious Studies (Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa), for a visit to the UK in April 2012.

    Prof. Goldenberg will be speaking in three locations: Stirling, Aberdeen and London. Details for each location are noted below, as are some notes about her current research. The Critical Religion Research Group is also happy to facilitate media enquiries regarding Prof. Goldenberg’s visit (press release available here). Unless otherwise noted, all general enquiries should be directed to Dr Tim Fitzgerald.

    In advance of her visit, Prof. Goldenberg has also written guest blog entries that discuss her work.

    Please distribute information about these events widely (share buttons are at the bottom of this page).

     

    Stirling – Monday, 23.4.12

    “What’s God Got to Do With It? Contemporary Statecraft, Gender and the Category of Religion”

    Room B2, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling, at 15:00.

     

    Aberdeen – Tuesday, 24.4.12

    Prof. Goldenberg is speaking at a day workshop entitled Modernity and the Category of Religion, organised by Dr Trevor Stack of Aberdeen University’s Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law.

    Other speakers include Dr Stack, Dr Tamas Gyorfi, Stirling’s Dr Fitzgerald, Dr Suzanne Owen and Dr Brian Bock; Stirling’s Dr Jasper is a discussant.

    Please email Louise Harkins with any queries.

     

    London – Thursday, 26.4.12

    “What’s God Got to Do With It? Feminism, Religion and the State”

    Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Covent Garden, London, at 19:00.

    Posters for this event can be sent on request, and are available for download here in jpg format: A3 size, A4 size.

    The London event is organised in conjunction with our partner, Ekklesia.

     

    Theme

    Prof. Goldenberg writes:

    I will argue that religions function as vestigial states within contemporary nation-states. By ‘vestigial states’ I mean sets of institutions and practices that originate in particular histories with reference to former sovereignties within present governmental jurisdictions. Vestigial states are both tolerated and encouraged as attenuated and marginalized governments within fully functioning nation states. However, they compete with contemporary nation states and therefore are always problematic in varying degrees – especially if a vestigial state challenges the exclusive right of the present state to control violence. Indeed, vestigial states have a propensity to behave as once and future states. Nevertheless, although vestigial states can contest contemporary governments, they also work to ground the powers that authorize them by recalling earlier, now mystified forms of sovereignty from which present states arise. They are thus storehouses of nostalgia for fictional, beneficent male hegemonies that present states are thought of as representing in less magical (i.e. ‘secular’) incarnations.

    Because vestigial states always embody and perform patriarchal power through citing former male-dominated governments, they support the notion that the only truly legitimate political authority is male. Although women can exercise some authority in contemporary nation states, this power is so novel that it lacks cultural roots and social gravitas. Rights and responsibilities tend to be provisional, partial, and subject to restriction. In order for recent, progressive feminist gains worldwide to be both secured and furthered, the role of vestigial states – i.e. religions – in the maintenance of male control of contemporary nation states must be more vigorously interrogated.

    We also encourage you to read Prof. Goldenberg’s guest blog contributions.

     

    Media

    Prof. Goldenberg is very happy to conduct media interviews during her time in the UK. A press release with more details is here. All enquiries should be directed in the first instance to Dr Michael Marten on 01786 46 75 32.

    Prof. Richard H. Roberts

    Visiting Emeritus Professor of Religion

    I can be contacted directly using this form:

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      Links

      Here are some links to other projects at Stirling that include members of the Critical Religion Research Group, and which may suggest possible interests for postgraduate study at Masters or PhD level.

      Translating Christianities – a research group organising regular workshops and occasional publications

      Crossing Cultures – a research group that touches on issues related especially to the postcolonial interests in the Critical Religion Research Group

      Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies – co-founded by Alison Jasper, the Centre is a vibrant research and study centre.

      A key additional resource, organised by four of the original staff at Stirling (Tim Fitzgerald, Andrew Hass, Alison Jasper and Michael Marten) is the Critical Religion Association, an international scholarly association that connects many people working on these issues around the world, and that includes a blog offering short articles on ideas related to Critical Religion.  You can receive regular updates here.