{relg 271} class notes.pdf - January 9 2020 Introduction...

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January 9, 2020 Introduction What is Religion? -While there are standard definitions that can be made, it is difficult to find one singular definition that encompasses all the aspects of religions. Perspectives in the Academic Study of Religion Emic Perspective “Insider” perspective How a practitioner of a certain faith sees his or her own tradition. Etic Perspective “Outsider” perspective How an observer sees a tradition, generally relies on “scientific/absolute” concepts and categories. What is Theory? -Theory can appear as: -General Proposition(making a general presumptive statement) -Explanation(trying to explain something from a potentially biased perspective) -Normative/Political (trying to convince that this is how something in the world should be) -Foucault suggests that “Theory is creative: it creates” and “Theory is practice: it is something you do”. Morny Joy: Postcolonial and Gendered Reflections Situatedness: being in a particular position in relation to others and to your context, usually in reference to gender, ethnicity culture. Relativism: views, beliefs, morality, and truths that are relative to a person’s (social/cultural/religious, etc.) context. Essentialism: the view or assumption that distinct categories of people have intrinsic and characteristic natures or dispositions. Postmodernism Approach A move away from the basic assumptions of modern western intellectual thought and norms. Wary of essentialism, reason, objectivity, and truth. In her paper, she had a dualist division between the subject and the object; reducing each thing to a simple object implies that the object of study has been reduced to simply something. The problem of the generic “Third World women”; a figure being created that does not necessarily describe a third world woman, but it creates this type of women and creates an artificial being which emcompasses the traits of the surroundings that apply.
The third world is therefore being created, and without it we would not have a first world. This identity is a construct. Postcolonialism Approach Emphasizes the legacy and impact of colonization on cultural/social/political ordering and experience, and rethinks the narrative of people subordinated by the colonial regime. This term implies that colonization was part of the past and has not continued into modern day. From this approach, one can say that postmodernism can deprive women from formerly colonised groups of “much-needed self-affirmation as agents for change”. Defending formerly colonized people’s struggle to create their own identity and assert their own agency - they have their own “express agenda”. We cannot let a postmodern discourse prevent “emergent modes of constructive action”. It is necessary to be critically aware because scholars always carry their own baggage when bringing opinions to the table.

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