1,368 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.3 • 7 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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    83 Stephen Batchelor on Secularizing Buddhism

    83 Stephen Batchelor on Secularizing Buddhism

    Today I speak to Stephen Batchelor, figurehead for Secular Buddhism, well known author, and Scot. I present the lovely man some of the critique aimed at his work in the book Secularizing Buddhism, and from my previous interview with Richard K. Payne. We also discuss some of his intellectual influences, touch on phenomenology, Gianni Vattimo, and whether Stephen is fixated on the past in his relationship with early Buddhism. Stephen was game throughout for what turned out to be a constructive and illuminating conversation.
    Next up will be one of Stephen’s collaborators and philosophically informed secular Buddhist teachers, Winton Higgins, all the way from Australia.
    Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).
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    • 1 hr 19 min
    Sabrina D. MisirHiralall, "Devotional Hindu Dance: A Return to the Sacred" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

    Sabrina D. MisirHiralall, "Devotional Hindu Dance: A Return to the Sacred" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

    Devotional Hindu Dance: A Return to the Sacred (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) sheds light on the purpose of Hindu dance as devotional. Dr. Sabrina D. MisirHiralall explains the history of Hindu dance and how colonization caused the dance form to move from sacred to a Westernized system that emphasizes culture. Postcolonialism is a main theme throughout this text, as religion and culture do not remain static. MisirHiralall points to a postcolonial return to Hindu dance as a religious and sacred dance form while positioning Hindu dance in the Western culture in which she lives.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 38 min
    James Kapaló and Kinga Povedák, "The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe" (Routledge, 2021)

    James Kapaló and Kinga Povedák, "The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe" (Routledge, 2021)

    This new book by James Kapaló and Kinga Povedák explores the complex intersection of secret police operations and the formation of the religious underground in communist-era Eastern Europe. In sixteen chapters, The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2021) looks at how religious groups were perceived as dangerous to the totalitarian state whilst also being extremely vulnerable and yet at the same time very resourceful. In this podcast James and Kinga talk about what is special about secret police archives and how they allow us to explore the material culture, including things like photographs and food, of clandestine and secretive communities. They argue that stories from the archives continue to shape present day religious communities and postsocialist societies more generally as well as reflecting upon what comparing movements from eight different countries shows us that we might miss from looking just at one or two case studies.
    Roland Clark is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Liverpool, President of the Society for Romanian Studies, and a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Jyotirmaya Sharma, "Elusive Nonviolence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi’s Religion of Ahimsa" (Westland, 2021)

    Jyotirmaya Sharma, "Elusive Nonviolence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi’s Religion of Ahimsa" (Westland, 2021)

    In Elusive Nonviolence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi’s Religion of Ahimsa (Westland, 2021), Jyotirmaya Sharma argues that Gandhi acknowledged the absence of any serious tradition of non-violence in India. His uncompromising insistence on ahimsa, then, was a way of introducing non-violence as an Indian value by fabricating a tradition around it. Gandhi offered a unique interpretation of Hindu texts and philosophical practice while engaging with certain strands of European and American intellectual traditions.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 43 min
    Jeffrey Guhin, "Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Jeffrey Guhin, "Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Jeff Guhin joins us today to talk about his book Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools (Oxford University Press, 2020). Jeff, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, shares with us how his experiences with religious schooling shaped his interests in education, culture and religion. Agents of God is the culmination of Jeff’s dissertation work while he was a doctoral student in Sociology at Yale University, a thoughtful comparative ethnography of Muslim and Conservative Protestant high schools.
    In today’s conversation we explore the nuances of religious education, how people negotiate boundaries and the agentification of institutions. We also discuss the politics of national identity and the role of schools in this nationalization. Jeff also touches on his experiences with mental health and how he works to navigate those within academia and in the process of writing this book. This book provides a compelling lens for how to understand the forces of Science, Scripture and Prayer as “external authorities” that shape individual and national behavior.
    Nafeesa Andrabi is a 4th year Sociology PhD student at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Biosocial Fellow at Carolina Population Center and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Crawford Gribben, "The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Crawford Gribben, "The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Today Crawford Gribben joins us to talk about his new book, The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland (Oxford UP, 2021). Ireland has long been regarded as a 'land of saints and scholars'. Yet the Irish experience of Christianity has never been simple or uncomplicated. The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland describes the emergence, long dominance, sudden division, and recent decline of Ireland's most important religion, as a way of telling the history of the island and its peoples.
    Throughout its long history, Christianity in Ireland has lurched from crisis to crisis. Surviving the hostility of earlier religious cultures and the depredations of Vikings, evolving in the face of Gregorian reformation in the 11th and 12th centuries and more radical protestant renewal from the 16th century, Christianity has shaped in foundational ways how the Irish have understood themselves and their place in the world. And the Irish have shaped Christianity, too. Their churches have staffed some of the religion's most important institutions and developed some of its most popular ideas.
    But the Irish church, like the island, is divided. After 1922, a border marked out two jurisdictions with competing religious politics. The southern state turned to the Catholic church to shape its social mores, until it emerged from an experience of sudden-onset secularization to become one of the most progressive nations in Europe. The northern state moved more slowly beyond the protestant culture of its principal institutions, but in a similar direction of travel.
    In 2021, fifteen hundred years on from the birth of Saint Columba, Christian Ireland appears to be vanishing. But its critics need not relax any more than believers ought to despair. After the failure of several varieties of religious nationalism, what looks like irredeemable failure might actually be a second chance. In the ruins of the church, new Columbas and Patricks shape the rise of another Christian Ireland.
    Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
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    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

James Ettaman ,

too much poor sound in some conversations

Many interesting discussions- but why is the sound quality so poor in some of the phone interviews? It sounds like they were recorded from low quality VoIP lines on a noisy cell phone connection. Surely in an age of digital communications it shouldn't be so hard to record a phone conversation that doesn't sound like its coming through a distortion system muffled through a blanket.

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