Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion
Focusing on the academic study of religion, Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion is the first in a series that grapples with the historicity of identity and the social and rhetorical techniques that make claims to identity possible. In this volume, six previously published essays by scholar of religion Russell T. McCutcheon are each coupled with a new substantive commentary by North American contributors. McCutcheon’s essays highlight different identifying claims within the work of a number of leading scholars of religion. The companion contributions analyze the strategies of identification employed by the scholars whom McCutcheon discusses. Monica R. Miller provides an introduction to the volume and Steven W. Ramey provides a concluding essay. The strategies of identification highlighted and exposed in this text are further explored in the second volume in the series, The Problem of Nostalgia in the Study of Identity through a set of detailed ethnographic and historical studies that press novel ways of studying identity as an always active and ongoing process of signification.
Published: Sep 25, 2015
Miller and her contributing authors remind us that concepts such as "identity," "culture," and "religion," are anything but self-evident. Rather than tangible material entities, they are ghosts given form by the writer's desires.
Sean McCloud, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion tackles some of the most formidable questions relating to the discursive construction of identity that scholars and students struggle to negotiate. Whether you find yourself nodding in agreement with these essays, or eagerly searching for weaknesses in their arguments, the book provides an accessible and invaluable entryway into theoretical challenges religious studies scholars face when making identity claims and points toward fruitful methods of dealing with questions of classification. This is a "must read" for anyone interested in identity formation.
Craig Prentiss, Professor of Religious Studies, Rockhurst University, Missouri
When religion, culture, society, identity, and other such concepts are destabilized and revealed to be dynamic, manufactured constructs, what is the academic study of religion to do? One answer, as represented by the essays in this provocative volume, is to turn to the study of processes of classification. The studies of strategies of identification contained within exemplify recent attempts to rethink the study of religion as the reflexive examination of “battles for capital and positions".
Richard J. Callahan, Jr., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Missouri
This book undoubtedly… has merit as a classroom text, whether at the graduate or undergraduate level.