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History of Religious Studies as a Discipline

History of Religious Studies as a Discipline

By Kate Daley Bailey….
Every religious studies major has been caught in the precarious situation of having to answer the “are you going to a preacher” questions from well-meaning peripheral family members and other semi-invested adults. Upon telling someone that you are majoring in, studying, teaching, researching, etc. religious studies, you are usually met with a plethora of confused facial expressions. When you try to explain that the academic study of religion requires a historical and critical approach to world religions as social forces in the world and does not require belief (or disbelief) in any religious system, the previous expressions of confusion turn to judgmental looks and usually include an awkward silence.

A Defense of Romanticism

A Defense of Romanticism

By J.F. Sullivan….
What Jones points out is that in the attempt to respond to the Orientalism that Said illuminated, we may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. While Jones treats Said more harshly than I think he deserves, the point is well taken. Does romanticism play a role in cultural understanding which helps to alleviate phobias and stereotypes? I would argue that it does. Romanticism is not history and was never intended to be taken literally or understood to be historically accurate. What it does do is inspire. Many who would go on to become some of the greatest of Orientalist scholars were raised on a diet of travel writing, art, and fantastic and exotic stories about the oriental world (again primarily the Middle East)