Matching Items (9)

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Modernity, science, and the making of religion: a critical analysis of a modern dichotomy

Description

This project examines and challenges the West's generally accepted two category approach to the world's belief systems. That is, it will deconstruct the religion / science `paradigm' that has

This project examines and challenges the West's generally accepted two category approach to the world's belief systems. That is, it will deconstruct the religion / science `paradigm' that has developed over the past two centuries. It will argue that the dichotomy between the two categories was created by modernity for the purpose of establishing an exclusive view believed to be based on knowledge. This exclusive view, philosophical naturalism (science), was set in opposition to all alternative views identified as religion. As the exclusive view, though constructed on a defective foundation of knowledge, philosophical naturalism, nonetheless, became the privileged interpreter and explainer of reality in the academy of the Western world.

As a work in the area of epistemology and the philosophy of religion, this project will challenge philosophical naturalism's claim to knowledge. The approach will be philosophical and historical critically assessing both modernity's and postmodernity's basis for knowledge. Without a rational basis for exclusive knowledge the popular dichotomy dissolves. The implications of this dissolution for `religious studies' will be addressed by offering an alternative scheme that provides a more plausible way to divide the world's belief systems.

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  • 2014

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Mormonism and the new spirituality: LDS women's hybrid spiritualities

Description

This dissertation illuminates overlaps in Mormonism and the New Spirituality in North America, showing their shared history and epistemologies. As example of these connections, it introduces ethnographic data from women

This dissertation illuminates overlaps in Mormonism and the New Spirituality in North America, showing their shared history and epistemologies. As example of these connections, it introduces ethnographic data from women who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in order to show (a) how living LDS women adapt and integrate elements from the New Spirituality with Mormon ideas about the nature of reality into hybrid spiritualities; and (b) how they negotiate their blended religious identities both in relation to the current American New Spirituality milieu and the highly centralized, hierarchical, and patriarchal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study focuses on religious hybridity with an emphasis on gender and the negotiation of power deriving from patriarchal religious authority, highlighting the dance between institutional power structures and individual authority. It illuminates processes and discourses of religious adaptation and synthesis through which these LDS women creatively and provocatively challenge LDS Church formal power structures.

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  • 2012

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Mormons and the World's Fair 1893: a study of religious and cultural agency and transformation

Description

My dissertation project, Mormons at the World's Fair: A Study of Religious and Cultural Agency and Transformation looks at a pivotal period of transition within the American religious and political

My dissertation project, Mormons at the World's Fair: A Study of Religious and Cultural Agency and Transformation looks at a pivotal period of transition within the American religious and political national culture (1880-1907). Using Mormonism as an important focal point of national controversy and cultural change, this dissertation looks at the interconnections between Mormon transitions and the larger national transformations then under way in what historians call the "progressive" era. Prominent scholars have recognized the 1893 World's Fair as an important moment that helped initiate the "dawning" of religious pluralism in America. This national response to American religious diversity, however, is limited to a nineteenth-century historiographical framework, which made real religious pluralism in the next century more difficult. Bringing together into one narrative the story of the anti-polygamy crusades of the 1880s, the ambivalent presence (and non presence) of Mormonism at the World's Fair of 1893, and the drawn-out US Senate Hearings and ultimate victory of Mormon apostle and Senator Reed Smoot in 1907, this dissertation offers new insights into the meaning and limitations of American religious liberty, the dynamics of minority agency, as well as a deeper understanding of America's developing national identity.

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  • 2012

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Ambivalent blood: religion, AIDS, and American culture

Description

Ambivalent Blood examines the unsettled status of religious language in the semiotic construction of HIV/AIDS in America. Since public discourse about HIV/AIDS began in 1981, a variety of religious grammars

Ambivalent Blood examines the unsettled status of religious language in the semiotic construction of HIV/AIDS in America. Since public discourse about HIV/AIDS began in 1981, a variety of religious grammars have been formulated, often at cross-purposes, to assign meaning to the epidemic. The disease's complex interaction with religion has been used to prophesize looming apocalypses, both religious and national, demand greater moral solicitude among the citizenry, forge political advantage within America's partisan political landscape, mobilize empathy and compassion for those stricken by the disease, and construct existential meaning for those who have already been consigned to physical and social death. Several studies fruitfully have explored specific registers of religious discourse and the AIDS epidemic, particularly in regard to processes of social stigmatization and combating its very effects. However, assumptions about the secular aims of scientific inquiry as well as the presumably secular trajectory of American national culture have dampened a more robust consideration of religion within the history of HIV/AIDS. In most synoptic histories of AIDS, religion is constructed as either a wincing footnote to the Religious Right or as an occasional and bland example of salubrious Christian charity posed against the backdrop of disease and death. Ambivalent Blood seeks to extend such analysis beyond a digestible footnote by disinterring the often polysemous and ambivalent interaction of HIV/AIDS and religious discourses within American culture. Though not a historiographic work, the current project illuminates the complicated ways in which religious and HIV/AIDS discourses coalesced around the very definition of America itself. Like the Cold War that preceded and the Global War on Terror that followed, the AIDS crisis precipitated significant and contested recourse to the religious imaginary in the effort to forge conceptions of Americanness and citizen belonging.

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  • 2012

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Son salutations: Christian yoga in the United States, 1989-2014

Description

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the physical and mental elements of yoga practice are made safely secular by disassociation from their ostensible religious roots. Commonly deployed phrases, "Yoga is not a religion," or even, "Yoga is a science," open a broad invitation. But the very need for this clarification illustrates yoga's place in the United States as a borderline signifier for spirituality. Vocal concern by both Christians and Hindus demonstrates the tension between perceptions of yoga as a secular commodity and yoga as religiously beget. Alternatively embracing and rejecting yoga's religious history, Christian yoga practitioners reframe and rejoin yoga postures and breathing into their lives of faith. Some proponents name their practice Christian Yoga.

Christian Yoga flourishes as part of contemporary religious and spiritual discourse and practice in books, instructional DVDs, websites and studios throughout the United States. Christian Yoga proponents, professional and lay theologians alike, highlight the diversity of American attitudes toward and understanding of yoga and the heterogeneity of Christianity. For religious studies scholars, Christian Yoga advocates and detractors provide an opportune focal point for inquiry into the evolution of spiritual practice, the dynamics of tradition, experience and authority, and the dialectic nature of evolving cultural attitudes in a religiously plural and complex secular environment.

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  • 2014

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Building a pious self in secular settings: pious women in modern Turkey

Description

This dissertation aims to explore the diverse ways in which piety is conceptualized and cultivated by highly-educated Muslim women in Turkey. These women hold active positions within the secular-public sphere

This dissertation aims to explore the diverse ways in which piety is conceptualized and cultivated by highly-educated Muslim women in Turkey. These women hold active positions within the secular-public sphere while trying to keep their aim of becoming pious in their own way, in relation to their subjective understanding of piety. After a detailed analysis of the formation of the secular modern public sphere in Turkey, in relation to the questions of modernity, nation-building, secularism, Islamism, and the gender relations, it gives an account of the individual routes taken by the highly educated professional women to particular aspirations of piety. The individual stories are designed to show the arbitrariness of many modern binary oppositions such as modern vs. traditional, secular vs. religious, liberated vs. oppressed, individual vs. communal, and etc. These individual routes are also analyzed within a collective framework through an analysis of the activities of two women's NGO's addressing at their attempt of building a collective attitude toward the secular-liberal conception of gender and sexuality. Finally the dissertation argues that Turkey has the capacity to deconstruct the aforementioned binary categories with its macro-level sociopolitical experience, and the micro-level everyday life experiences of ordinary people. It also reveals that piety cannot be measured with outward expressions, or thought as a sociopolitical categorization. Because just like secularism, piety has also the capacity to penetrate into the everyday lives of people from diverse sociopolitical backgrounds, which opens up possibilities of rethinking the religious-secular divide, and all the other binaries that come with it.

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  • 2012

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Spiritual economy: resources, labor, and exchange in Glastonbury and Sedona

Description

Current data indicates that a growing number of individuals in the English-speaking world are identifying as “spiritual, but not religious” (SBNR). Using ethnographic data collected at two important sites of

Current data indicates that a growing number of individuals in the English-speaking world are identifying as “spiritual, but not religious” (SBNR). Using ethnographic data collected at two important sites of spiritual pilgrimage and tourism—Glastonbury, England and Sedona, Arizona—this project argues that seekers at these places produce spirituality as much as they consume it. Using the lens of economy, this project examines how seekers conceptualize the (super-) natural resources at these sites, the laborious practices they perform to transform these resources, and the valuation and exchange of the resultant products. In so doing, the project complicates prevailing notions, both among scholars and the public, that contemporary unaffiliated spirituality is predominantly an individualistic consumer process.

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  • 2018

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Competing Christianities: social dynamics of religious change in the upper South

Description

This study analyzes competing forms of Protestant Christianity within the Bible Belt of the Upper South (Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina). On one hand, a conservative “culture war” version of

This study analyzes competing forms of Protestant Christianity within the Bible Belt of the Upper South (Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina). On one hand, a conservative “culture war” version of Christianity has dominated the South, and deeply influenced national politics, for almost fifty years. This form of Christianity is predicated on white supremacy and heteropatriarchy and regulates religious, as well as sexual, gender, and racial norms. On the other hand, an emerging movement of those once socialized in the culture war version of Protestantism is now reconfiguring the regional traditions. Through ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews, and historical analysis, this study explores the ways these post-culture war Christians are navigating and negotiating relations with family, church, and politics and society more broadly. This work argues that Protestantism in the Upper South is being re-landscaped from the inside by individuals staying within the tradition who seek to reorient regional, national and religious identities. This study goes beyond generalizations about changes in American religion to shed light on the specific motivations, conflicts and dynamics inherent in shifts in lived religion in this particular region. In so doing it also contributes to deeper understanding of processes of religious change more generally.

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  • 2018

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Dynamic secularisms: Christianity and the struggle for human rights in the Uruguayan Laïcité

Description

From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through

From 1973 to 1984 the people of Uruguay lived under a repressive military dictatorship. During that time, the Uruguayan government violated the Human Rights of its opponents and critics through prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions without trial, physical and psychological torture, disappearance, and a negation of freedom of speech, thought and congregation. In this project, I argue that these violations of Human Rights committed by the military dictatorship added urgency to the rethinking by religious individuals of the Uruguayan model of secularism, the laïcité, and the role that their theology required them to play in the "secular" world. Influenced by the Liberation Theology movement, Catholic and Protestant leaders simultaneously made use of and challenged the secularization model in order to carve a space for themselves in the struggle for the protection of Human Rights.

Furthermore, I will argue that due to the Uruguayan system of partitocracy, which privileges political parties as the main voices in public matters, Uruguay still carries this history of Human Rights violations on its back. Had alternative views been heard in the public sphere, this thorny history might have been dealt with in a fairer manner. Thus, I call for further exploration of the "intelligent laïcité" model, which might ensure true democratic participation in the public sphere.

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  • 2015