Posts Tagged ‘sociology of religion’

November 21st, 2016

Islamic and Jewish Legal Reasoning: An introduction

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Islamic and Jewish Legal ReasoningIslamic and Jewish Legal Reasoning: Encountering Our Legal Other is a curious book, in part because it came out of a working group that seemed the least likely vehicle for producing a collection of articles in book form. For five years, sponsored by the University of Toronto and Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council, approximately six Rabbinic law scholars and six Islamic law scholars sat around a table with various legal texts from their respective traditions and talked, discussed, and queried.

As a protocol of discussion, we would have the scholar of one tradition introduce the text of the other tradition. In other words, a Rabbinic scholar would introduce the Islamic legal text, and the Islamic law scholar would introduce the Rabbinic text. This process precluded anyone from claiming expertise over what the text “says,” and instead created a space of openness, engagement, and even play. The endeavor was not designed to make us into scholars of our tradition’s Other, but rather to experience (in the most robust sense of that word) the encounter with our legal tradition’s Other.

April 17th, 2015

Remembering Martin Riesebrodt

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On December 6, 2014, influential sociologist of religion Martin Riesebrodt died at the age of 66. Professor Riesebrodt was the author of two groundbreaking comparative studies: Pious Passion: The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran (1993), and The Promise of Salvation: A Theory of Religion (2010).

November 10th, 2012

Religion on the Edge

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A new book, Religion on the Edge: De-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion, edited by TIF contributors Courtney BenderWendy CadgePeggy Levitt and David Smilde, has been published.

October 18th, 2012

Subjects, spirituality, and smoking: An interview with Hubert Knoblauch

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After discussing the general contours of the sociology of religion in Germany today (see part 1), I had a chance to ask Hubert Knoblauch about some of his own research. In recent years, Knoblauch, who works in the phenomenological tradition started by Alfred Schütz, has been preoccupied with spirituality, popular religion, and near-death experiences.

October 16th, 2012

The view from Berlin: An interview with Hubert Knoblauch

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Hubert Knoblauch is a professor of sociology at the Technical University of Berlin, where he specializes in general sociological theory, sociology of knowledge, and the sociology of religion. A student of Thomas Luckmann, he is among the most distinguished representatives of the sociology of religion in Germany today. This summer, we sat down together over some of Berlin’s famously bad Indian food to discuss the sociology of religion in Germany, the influence of Jürgen Habermas, the meaning of spirituality, and ways to quit smoking.

August 16th, 2012

Enter the Post-Secular

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It was, then, a stirring sight to see Habermas sit down with Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004 for a philosophical dialogue. It is hard not to miss a breath at the image of both men in conversation, one the arch-defender of reason and rationality, described by Habermasian scholar Thomas McCarthy as the “last great rationalist,” and the other, renowned as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and subsequently as Pope Benedict XVI), for his steadfast theological defense of Catholic tradition and moral teaching. At the same time, the twinning of the two Germans made for a fitting tableau: through their long careers, both have shown little interest in sociological realities and have remained intellectually aloof from lived experience.

July 24th, 2012

Paul Froese featured in New Voices

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The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) recently featured Paul Froese in their New Voices section, which recognizes leading scholars in the social sciences for outstanding and original research.

April 20th, 2012

In defense of the sociology of religion

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In a recent contribution to ASA Footnotes, Christian Smith explains why it is crucial  for sociologists to take religion seriously, arguing that it is imperative for sociologists to overcome ignorance and bias when it comes to religion.

March 28th, 2012

Durkheim and belief

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This Friday, March 30, at 12:30pm, the Committee for the Study of Religion at the City University of New York Graduate Center is hosting a lecture by Steven Lukes with the title “Is Durkheim’s Understanding of Religion Compatible with Believing?” The lecture marks the centenary of the publication of Émile Durkheim’s classical work, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

August 30th, 2011

Understanding resacralization (part 3)

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Should religious discourse be welcomed in the public sphere, or should we require that it first be translated into secular terms? Part of the concern in the debate is that such translation would be demeaning to religiously-committed people, and that they would be unwilling to do this. But in something like the Rimini Meeting it seems that the opposite is the case—translation into secular idiom may in fact be an attractive prospect to religious groups: an attempt to retain a freshness of content by changing the form, a way to express their way of life in a public forum that might invite those who might otherwise steer clear.

August 29th, 2011

Understanding resacralization (part 2)

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The Rimini Meeting is run almost entirely by unpaid volunteers. Everything from the physical construction and take-down of the arena, to its cleaning staff, to the various literary, scientific and artistic exhibits, to food services, is the prerogative of around 4,000 unpaid volunteers who give up their vacation time and pay money (covering their own travel and lodging costs) to work at this event. […] I interviewed nearly 100 of these volunteers, including university students, factory workers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, housewives, and retirees. Among the questions I asked them was whether they would consider the Meeting a “religious” event. Nearly half of them immediately replied “no.” A handful replied “yes” right away, and the rest couched with “it depends.” But regardless of the initial answer, they all offered very much the same explanation.

August 12th, 2011

Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference

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SOCREL, the British Sociological Association’s study group on Religion, is now accepting abstract submissions for its 2012 annual conference. The conference will be held at the University of Chester, UK, March 28-30, 2012. Plenary speakers include Tariq Modood (University of Bristol), Elaine Graham (University of Chester), and Sean McCloud (University of North Carolina). According to the call for abstracts, the conference is on religion and (in)equalities.

August 9th, 2011

Understanding resacralization (part 1)

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Dominant accounts of the religion-modernity relationship, at least among sociologists of religion in the US, have tended to focus mainly on what falls into these categories of decline, capitulation, withdrawal, or confrontation. But the Rimini Meeting and its offshoots are among a host of new phenomena that really don’t fit into the above, and seem to warrant a different category.

March 15th, 2011

What we talk about when we talk about the postsecular

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The term “postsecular” is quickly becoming a keyword for scholars of religion and public life. So what is it all about? An overview of its uses and meanings.

December 25th, 2010

The parting of religion and culture

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The New York Times reviews Olivier Roy’s Holy Ignorance, now out in English translation.

April 12th, 2010

College Professors not as non-religious as one would think

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Sociology of Religion has just published a study by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons on US professors’ belief in God. Unsurprisingly, the American professoriate is less religious than the general population. But as the study shows, 35% of those surveyed believe absolutely that God exists, while another 17% believe so with some reservations, which is not small by any means.

November 23rd, 2007

After Durkheim

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secular_age.jpgI continue, as I reread it, to have the highest opinion of A Secular Age and to believe that it is among the handful of the most important books I have ever read, to the point where The Chronicle of Higher Education speaks of my “effusive” praise. So it was with some surprise that I found there was a point where, if I didn’t entirely differ from Taylor, I had at least some serious questions to raise. […]