13. Religion, Authority Grammar: The Scholarly Legacy of Secular Concepts
Andrew Atwell [+]
University of Chicago
Throughout his scholarly career, Michael Jerryson has been an attentive and trenchant critic of the hegemony of Western conceptions of religion in knowledge production about non-Western religions. While his research focused primarily on Theravada Buddhism, this essay contends that through such critique Jerryson has at the same time been a perceptive, if indirect, investigator of secularism and the theologico-political foundations of the West. One may discern in Jerryson's work, as is also discussed in secular studies, secularism's creation of religion and thus the erasure of the very conceptual basis of religious studies, while at the same time discerning the continuing urgency of religious studies, making Jerryson's work salient and timely far beyond the study of Buddhism.