4. On Z-factors and Empires
Florida State University
This chapter examines the often suppressed conceptual frameworks that normalize “religions” as privileged units of comparison in the study of religion. Starting from Aaron Hughes’s essay, this chapter highlights how the category of “empire” operates as such a framework, and argues that problematizing this framework (and other such frameworks) raises interesting questions about the historical conditions and specific motives that transform fluid social practices into discrete comparative units.