By Matt Sheedy
This is part-two of a two-part response to Watts and Mosurinjohn’s essay “Can Critical Religion Play by Its Own Rules? Why There Must Be More Ways to Be ‘Critical’ in the Study of Religion,” which recently appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. See part 1 here.
Critique #3. The claim that ‘CR’ scholars set up a false dichotomy by upholding their own position as etic (i.e. as objective outsiders), while deeming others as emic (i.e. as subjective insiders) is based on a misinterpretation. Continuing with the example of colonialism that I outlined in Critique #2, Watts and Mosurinjohn claim, with reference to the work of McCutcheon: Continue reading “Critical Religion and the Critical Study of Religion: A Response to Galen Watts and Sharday Mosurinjohn, Part 2”
By Matt Sheedy
This is part-one of a two-part response to Watts and Mosurinjohn’s essay “Can Critical Religion Play by Its Own Rules? Why There Must Be More Ways to Be ‘Critical’ in the Study of Religion,” which recently appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
Before detailing some of my disagreements with this essay, I should say that I was happy to see this article in print as it signals the relevance of what some have called Critical Religion (CR) in our discipline and offers an important opportunity for clarification and further debate. Too often, I feel, we forget that the ultimate aim of scholarship is to advance knowledge and not simply ‘win’ an argument, whatever that may mean in the short term. As someone interested in the idea of Critical Religion and who is trained in Critical Theory (of the Frankfurt School and post-structuralist varieties), I approach this essay as a chance to think more carefully about the aims, influences, and effects of these debates. Continue reading “Critical Religion and the Critical Study of Religion: A Response to Galen Watts and Sharday Mosurinjohn, Part 1”
I was asked a question at a recent presentation I did up at the University of Chicago, concerning why the etymology of technical terms is a focus in an intro book that I wrote (and which I use in my own 100-level classes). Given my persistent critique of quests for origins it seems odd, or so the question might go, to focus on the origins of words, no?
late 14c., ethimolegia “facts of the origin and development of a word,” from Old French etimologie, ethimologie (14c., Modern French étymologie), from Latin etymologia, from Greek etymologia “analysis of a word to find its true origin”
Good point. Why do I talk about etymologies in that book? Continue reading “An Apology for Etymology”
I recently wrote a post on living in Alabama, and the way it can be frustrating when those from elsewhere in the country adopt the moral high ground and judge us while exempting themselves from the same criteria. My point was that while, yes, there’s a number of complexities associated with the U.S. south when it comes to such topics as the history of race relations, they are hardly unique to this part of the country. Continue reading “Of Planks and Specks and Ice Cream Trucks”