I’m on a panel, at a national conference this November, assessing the contributions of the late Huston Smith, so I’m re-reading some things that I’ve not read in a long time — such as his 1958 book, The Religions of Man (which, in one or another edition, has been in print ever since it was first published).
In this episode we think about the ways we categorize things as religion. The show begins with the ritual life of turkeys and what that tells us about the category “religion.” Then a few REL majors show us how the category “sacrifice” is all around us. Finally, host Michael Altman talks with Dr. Megan Goodwin (@mpgphd) about the new CNN show Believer and how religious studies can find a broader public audience.
Do you ever listen to “Interfaith Voices” on the radio or on the web? I find it to be a fascinating place to hear how scholars of religion (who often comprise the show’s guests and experts) try to represent their work to the wider public — a representation that’s generally lodged in all sorts of methodological and theoretical problems. Whether the issue lies in how these scholars go about doing their own academic work or, perhaps, in how they think they have to talk to non-specialists is, of course, something that would require more than just a brief blog post to investigate. (You should know, however, that my money is on the former.) Continue reading