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    2014 - Comparison and the Analytical Study of Religion

    Friday, November 21, 2014 12:45 -5:15 p.m.

    One aspect of Weber’s comparative project that I have found puzzling, however, is the absence of any theorization on his part of the comparative method itself, its historical ontology, its logic, even its purposes…….Wolfgang Schluchter, one of the great Weber scholars of our time and an editor of the Gesamtausgabe, assured me that the fault lay not with me, and at the same time sought to provide the methodological gloss that Weber himself did not: “Indeed, you are looking in vain. There is no essay on the comparative method written by Weber. He practiced it, with the self-imposed qualification that only dilettantes compare (a famous statement in a letter to von Below written in 1914). He practiced it in order to identify the distinctive features of a phenomenon, not to explain it. For explanation, we need nomological knowledge, not only in sociology, but also in historiography.

                              Sheldon Pollock, “Comparison without Hegemony” (2011, emphasis ours)

    In its fourth year, toward better design and deployment of comparative work in studies of religion, the SORAAAD workshop will focus on the act of comparison itself. How has comparison served as a method in the study of religion? How do we design research projects wherein data vary across space, time, or conceptual valence?  How do we structure comparative studies in order to identify and mitigate hegemonic assumptions or manipulation? How do we relate deep studies of small populations to larger populations and discourses?  How transferable are the insights and mechanics developed within different settings? Addressing these and related questions, SORAAAD seeks not only to recover subfields from essentialism, but to foster new inter- and intra-disciplinary development.

    The SORAAAD workshop will be of interest to established scholars and graduate students: anyone who already enacts social science and critical humanities research methodologies; anyone interested in research design wherein comparison is a critical component; and  anyone who wants to rethink how comparison itself shapes and  frames studies.

    Registration Is Free 

    The workshop organizers want to thank the University of Regina's Religious Studies Department for sponsoring the workshop.

    For more information about the workshop, please read the SORAAAD Workshop Ethos and the suggested readings for 2014.

    To Register: please place  "SORAAAD -  2014 - Registration"   in the subject line of an email to CTDR.Group@gmail.com.  

    In the body of the email, please place your full name, institutional affiliation and some indication of academic status (graduate student, an adjunct instructor, independent scholar or professor etc.)  

    Registration Limit: 75 people. 

    The SORAAAD workshop is co-sponsored by:

    The SBL's The Redescribing Christian Origins Group,  the Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship Consultation and

    The AAR's Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion Group, Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group and the Sociology of Religion Group.




    SBL/AAR 2013

    Study of Religion as an Analytical Discipline (SORAAAD) Pre Conference Workshop

    Friday, November 22, 2013 1:00 -5:00 p.m.

    Methodologies and the Analytical Study of Religion

    For 2013, SORAAAD will focus on the selection, design, and implementation of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, as well as responsible ways to use quantitative and qualitative research generated by other scholars outside of the study of religion.

    SORAAAD’s Methodologies and the Analytical Study of Religion will be of particular interest for graduate students and established scholars who already enact social science and critical humanities research methodologies,who want to implement newer or different methodologies, or who need to integrate existing social science and critical humanities research outside of religion (Sociology, Anthropology, Cognitive Science, Critical and Social Theories) into their research design, data acquisition and analysis. 

    Announcement:  November 12, 2013 - Bron Taylor will speak on Ethnography in place of Jens Kreinath.

    The revised full program with the list of suggested readings that will ground discussions for the workshop is available as a PDF

    Part One: Methodologies and the Study of Religion

    Speakers: (Final order to be determined) 

    Steven Engler, Mount Royal University, on Grounded Theory

    Bron Taylor, University of Florida, on Ethnography

    Michael Stausberg, University of Bergen, on Free Listing and Structured Observation.

    Kocku von Stuckrad, University of Groeningen, on Discourse Analysis.


    Part Two:  Interdisciplinary Religious Research: Design, Implementation, and Collaboration

    Introductory Remarks -  Ann Taves.  University of California  - Santa Barbara (UCSB) and  the UCSB  Religion, Experience, and Mind Lab Group.

    Speakers:

    Michael Kinsella, UCSB, on his ethnography of a near-death experience movement.

    Philip Deslippe, UCSB, on his deployment of GIS and the quantification of vague concepts to study yoga.

    John Thibdeau, University of Colorado - Boulder, on his deployment of social psychology, cognitive ethnography and videography to study Sufi Sema and Dhikr


    Registration Is Free 

    To Register, please place  "SORAAAD -  2013 - Registration"   in the subject line of an email to CTDR.Group@gmail.com

    In the body of the email, please place your full name, institutional affiliation and some indication of academic status (graduate student, an adjunct instructor, independent scholar or professor etc.)  

    Registration Limit: 45 people. 

    The SORAAAD workshop is co-sponsored by:

    The SBL's Ideological Criticisms of the Bible Group, the Bible and Cultural Studies Section, the Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship Consultation and

    The AAR's Critical Theories and Discourses on Religion Group, Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group and the Sociology of Religion Group.




    The SBL/AAR Study of Religion as an Analytical Discipline Workshop 2012

    Analysis of academic norms for the study of religion focuses on construction of a secondary discourse that accomplishes the following: (a) treats all religious phenomena as primary sources, i.e. the object of study; (b) adheres to common academic practices in the humanities and social sciences, as appropriate for the research question under investigation; and (c) incorporates self-critical reflection on the problematic of scholarly, secondary discourse vis-a-vis the primary, intramural discourse of the people and practices studied. These three goals are necessary to adequately formulate the study of religion as a discipline of scholarship in alignment with the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.

    Theme:  The Analytical Handling of Norms and Values in the Study of Religion

    The 2012 Program remains available for download.

    Issue One: The Problem of “Genuine Religion” and Dominant Normative Claims 

    Speakers: Sean McCloud and Katja Rakow

    Issue Two: Analytical Research in the Eye of a Normative Claims Storm 

    Speakers: Randall Styers and Monica Miller

    Issue Three: Human Rights and Researcher Responsibilities toward Threatened or Minority Populations

    Speakers: Robert Baum and Jorunn Buckley

    Issue Four: Falsifiability, Method, Theory and Norms

    Speakers: Ipsita Chatterjea and K. Merinda Simmons

    Issue Five: A Research Ethics Policy in the Analytical Study of Religion