Tag: Definition of Religion


Your Sun Bread, Yourself

Every year my kids and I make Sun Bread to commemorate the winter solstice. I got this idea from the place where modern momming dwells: Instagram. My kids (by chance) went to a Waldorf preschool which focuses, among other things, on reinforcing the children’s identification with nature and spending the majority of time outside regardless of weather (born in Germany, Waldorf schools take seriously the German saying “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”). The year is built around […]

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Democracy is Risky

A couple years ago I gave a talk at Lehigh University (a lecture that became chapter 8 in a book I published not long after). The topic was on my frustration with how scholars of religion — because they define their object of study as a universally present and deeply meaningful human impulse — often assume their research is always relevant. As evidence I drew on a recent national conference where scholars of religion were encouraged to think about how […]

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Embedded in Religion

What ideological positions are embedded within the practices and conceptions that we commonly identify as religions? Depending on one’s own ideological position and perspective, various people emphasize the patriarchy, ethnocentrism, and violence within various examples of religion. People will certainly debate if those ideological positions are typical in expressions of religion or an accretion to some idealized form. What about common definitions of what counts as religion? What ideological positions are embedded there? In classes I often emphasize the ways […]

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Do You Eat Them for Dessert?

File this story under “Classification Matters”: is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? I’ve used the Nix v. Hedden 1893 US Supreme Court decision in intro classes for quite some time, to illustrate the point that identity is the product of negotiations within practical conditions. Such as winning the right to count carrot marmalade as “fruit” for the purposes of trade within the European Union, perhaps? (Search for “carrot” in the following PDF document.) Even when it comes to […]

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