On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study - James Dennis LoRusso

On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study - James Dennis LoRusso

1. On the Grammar of Teaching Religious Studies

On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study - James Dennis LoRusso

Leslie Dorrough Smith [+-]
Avila University
Leslie Dorrough Smith is Professor of Religious Studies at Avila University and a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty.

Description

This essay explores what is at stake if we start talking about the category of religion more frequently in active, verb form within the classroom setting. The underlying presumption is that students (not to mention the scholars who teach them) are so steeped in perennialist assumptions that a grammar disruption may be a useful tool in helping to generate critical thought. Talking about religion as if it is a "thing" may inadvertently reinforce essentialist ideas of a cohesive, sui generis entity, but shifting our language to describe religion as an active process places attention on the very real social and cultural acts that religious speech is used to achieve. The essay considers the implications of using this type of speech in light of the ideal critical goals of the religious studies classroom while also offering classroom-tested case studies of how this language shift might be realized.

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Citation

Dorrough Smith, Leslie . 1. On the Grammar of Teaching Religious Studies. On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 11-31 Oct 2022. ISBN 9781800502291. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41068. Date accessed: 07 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41068. Oct 2022

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