Response: Weaponizing Religious Literacy: Religionizing as Revitalizing the Field or Reinforcing Neoliberal Values?

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

Martha Smith Roberts [+-]
Denison University
Martha Smith Roberts is Assistant Professor of Religion at Denison University. Her primary research is a critical analysis of post-racial and post-ethnic theories of American religious pluralism. Roberts is also working on a co-authored manuscript analyzing the various spiritualities emerging within the hula hooping subculture. She is the Executive Secretary and Treasurer for the North American Association for the Study of Religion, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life in Austin, Texas.

Description

Responding to Leslie Dorrough Smith's paper, "On the Grammar of Teaching Religious Studies," my work asks questions about our ability to participate in the "noun and verb" forms of religion simultaneously. Thinking critically with the terms "religious literacy" and "tolerance" as anchors, my paper asks if it is possible to think about concepts, like “religious literacy” as ways of framing the kind of knowledge we find so valuable while also reflecting the knowledge that our universities and institutions recognize as having value. Or, as a colleague of mine put it recently, “can we do what is expected and maintain our own integrity while we’re at it?” Can we meet the university’s expectations and institutional requirements and use their language, but still do the kind of work we want to do? This is what I see Smith doing in her chapter, teaching religion and religious literacy in ways that show value to a variety of invested parties (including institutions and students). My paper then uses examples of activities and assignments from my courses that play with the boundaries of these two investments.

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Citation

Smith Roberts, Martha. Response: Weaponizing Religious Literacy: Religionizing as Revitalizing the Field or Reinforcing Neoliberal Values?. On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41072. Date accessed: 15 Apr 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41072. Oct 2022

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