Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

4. Catagorizing Contrariety: Narrative and Taxonomy in the Construction of Sikhism

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

John Soboslai [+-]
Montclair State University
John Soboslai is an Assistant Professor in the department of Religion at Montclair State University. He holds an MA in the history of religion from Columbia University, and a PhD in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Specializing in martyrdom and global religious violence, he was named Sherman Emerging Scholar of 2016, and in 2015 UC Press published his co-authored book God in the Tumult of the Global Square.

Description

In response to the provocative essay by Annette Yoshiko Reed, this paper engages with some of her main ideas and the ways categorization operates as a practice in academic and cultural contexts. First interrogating some philosophical bases for approaching religion as a discrete category, the author proceeds to frame Reed’s approach in the nominalism of David Hume by which general ideas are formed by relations of impressions. After characterizing Reed’s efforts as the analysis of narrative constructions of contiguity, using the case of transnational Sikh groups striving for political recognition in the early to mid-twentieth century as a case study for another nominalist relation: contrariety. By analyzing the ways religion was used in a two-pronged attempt to distinguish Sikhism from its parent ‘religion’ Hinduism, this essay provides a complement to Reed’s model by considering how religious classification is employed in a specific socio-cultural context towards political ends. The author concludes with an encouragement to attend to the ‘why’ of categorization as much as the ‘how’.

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Citation

Soboslai, John. 4. Catagorizing Contrariety: Narrative and Taxonomy in the Construction of Sikhism. Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 48-60 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781796764. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34169. Date accessed: 19 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34169. Oct 2019

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