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Serendipities in the Production of Danish Islams
Author: Jesper Petersen
In the last decade a number of women-led mosques have emerged in Europe and North America. In The Making of a Mosque with Female Imams Jesper Petersen documents the serendipitous, yet predictable, emergence of the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen. The study first demonstrates that individuals’ facing the unpredictable plays a decisive role in social processes. This leads to an investigation of how serendipities are erased when narratives are erected retrospectively in the form of commodified products, autobiographical narratives, and research. Furthermore, Petersen conceptualizes non-Muslims’ theological productions of Islam – Islam without the worship of Allah, so to speak – and demonstrates how this influences Muslim productions of Islam.
This volume explores issues and themes related to violence against women. It is distinctive in two ways. First, the editors have convened an international cohort of contributing scholars, whose assessment of the pervasiveness and urgency of the problems and their proposals for solutions derives from their pneumatology: their theology of the Holy Spirit. Second, this book represents quite simply the first sustained effort to bring together in one volume Pentecostal voices from a variety of academic disciplines, ecclesial traditions, and cultural situations to address the urgent issues associated with violence toward women.
The present volume brings together scholars from all over the world in an open section and three special sections that explore how lesser-heard and unheard voices may be studied. Special section 1, Religion in Higher Education interrogates lived experiences of religion in higher education contexts and how certain voices are marginalised and minoritised. Special section 2, Cultural Blindness in Psychology, explores how culture as a lived experience, especially in its religious dimension, is rendered invisible in psychological science. Finally, special section 3 entitled Religious Authority in Practice in Contemporary Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal Christianity outlines “evangelicalism” and introduces “authority” as a sociological concept from various theoretical perspectives.
Author: Al Dueck

Abstract

Blind spots have resulted in dimensions of human experience that were simply not “seen,” or when seen, were not recognized as relevant for a fuller understanding of what it means to be human. Sexuality, religion, race, subjectivity, and gender were at one point unseen and then ‘discovered’ by psychologists. This essay examines three forms of cultural and psychological blindness related to the field of psychology of religion. (a) The normative impact of culture on the psyche. A plethora of psychological processes (cognition, memory, perception, emotion, identity, and so on) reflect the impact of the culture in which we live our lives. After considerable research demonstrating the cultural context of psyche, it became apparent that the normative culture shaping the field of psychology was, in fact, the social force of Western, modernist values. b) For much of the past century psychology studied the religion of the abstracted, autonomous, unbounded individual on the assumption that to describe a single person was in reality to observe generic human identity and religiosity. In the past 30 years, however, we have discovered that at macro and micro levels how embedded spirituality is in cultures that co constitute our subjectivity. c) At a deeper level there is the blind spot identified by recent anthropological research. Ontological assumptions have blinded the researcher to the integrity of spirituality in exotic cultures. The result has been the marginalization of spiritualities deemed irrational. It is argued that this lack understanding of spirituality in local culture is, in part, because religious traditions in different local cultures are ontologically different.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
Author: Xiaoqi Tang

Abstract

Chinese national laws and regulations clearly stipulate that national education should be separated from religion, and that organizations and individuals are not allowed to engage in religious activities on campus. This does not mean that religious people are excluded from university campuses. In fact, there are some Buddhist monks working and teaching at universities in contemporary China. Here I am trying to examine Chinese laws, existing literature, public information, and interview some Buddhist monks who work in Chinese universities. I hope to show the situation of Buddhist monks working on university campus in contemporary China. This includes their reasons for working at universities, their Buddhist identity, the sources of their living expenses, their religious practices, and their opinions regarding the policy on the separation of education from religion.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
Author: Stephen Heap

Abstract

What it means to be a university is a fundamental question. Churches and individual Christians of various traditions have sought to answer it as they have been involved in founding, writing about and seeking to shape universities and their antecedent institutions. This paper considers some of that work in the English context, where some Universities self-consciously seek to live out their Christian foundations, churches provide chaplains for universities, and theologians and church bodies express views about the roles and ordering of universities. Particular attention is given to theologians within English Anglicanism who have sought to conceptualise what is means to be a university. The views they express are focussed on universities per se rather than on specifically Anglican foundations. Their arguments cluster around the idea that universities are to serve the common good in their work with students, in research and in engaging with the wider community. The theologians also write about the proper place of religion in universities. Some areas of common ground and dissonance with other views are noted.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32

Abstract

It is argued that cultural blindness is symptomatic of a culture-free science that contributes to the theory crisis in psychology by privileging automatic inference at the expense of the phenomenon and its subjective interpretations. For illustration, the peer review process of a paper that deviated from the “best practice” of a culture-free science is analyzed to identify the need for psychology to put culture and theory back in the picture, if it is to measure up to its ethical obligations to confront the racial and cultural biases in the profession.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
Author: Thomas Teo

Abstract

On the background of ethnocentrism, the lack of knowledge and experiences, and the a priori assumption that one’s culture is not only the standard or norm but at the apex of a historically constituted or imagined hierarchy, the expressions of culture-supremacy are discussed. Although culture-centrism afflicts every culture, with every context having a limited horizon as part of mainstream ideology, culture-supremacy entails reinforcing that status quo, using economic, military, ideological, practical, institutional, and academic power, and without knowing or caring about other cultures. It is argued that intersectionality is not only expressed in terms of oppression but also in terms of supremacy, reflecting the nexus between culture, race, religion, nationality, and country of origin, and that culture can easily become a substitute for biological discourses. Expressions and other phenomena of culture-supremacy and its motivated ignorance are discussed, as are its sources that include hierarchical thinking, quantification, and ranking. Culture-supremacy in the discipline of psychology is debated. Suggestions for combatting culture-supremacy, including the practices of solidarity and agape, are proposed, while it is emphasized that resistance cannot be reduced to individual activities and that it is equally important to work on interpersonal, societal, and economic conditions.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
Author: Ryan T. Cragun

Abstract

In 2009, the University of Tampa, a private, non-sectarian mid-sized urban university in the Southeastern United States, announced it was going to construct a chapel on campus. Accompanying the chapel was the formation of a faculty, staff, and student group tasked with overseeing religious, spiritual, and interfaith programming on campus. I fielded a survey of students at the University of Tampa in 2009 after the announcement of the chapel that included a battery of questions about religiosity and spirituality but also included measures of prejudice towards Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and other minority religious individuals. The chapel was completed in 2011 and the group overseeing religious, spiritual, and interfaith programming had begun offering events, activities, and retreats on campus, many of which centered on interfaith discussion and dialogue. In 2013, I fielded a follow-up survey with the same questions as were included in the 2009 survey. Using cross-sectional rather than longitudinal samples, there was no significant change in general attitudes toward religious minorities among the student body at the University of Tampa despite the introduction of both a chapel and numerous activities designed to foster interfaith contact and greater tolerance for others. However, I found mixed evidence that students who participated in interfaith discussion groups held more accepting attitudes toward minority religions.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32
Author: Jenny Morgans

Abstract

Gender and faith identities intersect in complex and fluid ways for ‘emerging’ Christian women in the intense time of transition at university. Based on qualitative research with 21 women students over a period of eighteen months, this research identifies the gendered and religious impact on emerging adulthood in two contexts: academic learning and ‘lad culture’, conversing with the work of Adrienne Rich in both contexts. This article introduces emerging adulthood and proposes that the ubiquitous postfeminist narrative among emerging women’s lives is a debilitating concern. Academic work is shown to be an area of exploration in which Christian students integrate their faith into their daily lives. However, it is often a space in which their gender is unwelcome and disregarded, negatively impacting their learning. On campus, lad culture is experienced by the women as a common injustice. However, engagement in Christian student activity often gives opportunity to either opt-out or to deny the prevalence of lad culture, including within Christian subcultures themselves. Finally, conclusions are offered in order to enable engagement and integration between student women’s faith, gender, and lived experiences at university.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32