1. Feast and Famine in the Study of Religion
Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars - Russell T. McCutcheon
Russell T. McCutcheon [+]
University of Alabama
Russell T. McCutcheon is University Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, USA. He publishes widely on the history of the study of religion, the tools scholars use in their work, and the practical implications of that work. Among his recent publications are Reading J. Z. Smith (with Willi Braun; Oxford University Press, 2018), ‘Religion’ in Theory and Practice (Equinox Publishing, 2018) and Fabricating Religion (de Gruyter, 2018).
Written originally as the Afterword for a volume of papers from the 2015 annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), this chapter argues that, although it now seems to some that theoretical issues and critical acumen pervade the academic study of religion, what some call the post-theoretical field is still characterized by an idealist approach that presumes the word religion merely names a deeply personal, pre-social disposition that is simply expressed in varied situations.