Book: On the Subject of Religion
Chapter: Response: To Gaze and Its Perspectivity: Teaching Reflective Writing about Religion
i. This paper will focus on the urgent need to talk about the meaning of writing reflexively in our field. Starting from the use of “tactic” as religion in teaching the study of religion proposed by dr. Smith, this paper will critically evaluate this grammar disruption to build up critical thinking. It will firstly stress “the tactics of using ‘tactic’ as ‘religion’ ”, secondly link dr. Smith’s method to the meaning of “writing reflexively” in our field and thirdly give concrete suggestions about teaching self-reflexive writing in classroom. By calling it “the tactics of using ‘tactic’ as ‘religion’ ”, this paper argues that research is a process with effects, not static and sometimes inconsistent. Therefore, self-reflective critique is necessary, since the study of religion is an academic field that has contributed decisively to the construction of Eurocentric and racist imaginations. Indeed, students in classrooms are often confronted with the doctrine of being aware of the own intersections at which they operate and to reflect these. This doctrine, however, misses taking the crucial last step to take into account: what are the practical implications of this reflexive act for academic writing? Therefore, this paper will ask: What can the teaching of applied reflective writing about religion look like? How can we avoid teaching that situating oneself is just a process of ticking boxes combined with dropping the necessary buzzwords and therewith paradoxically reproducing the issues to be solved by this act? And why is it so important to take the ‘methodological agnosticism’ of the discipline into account?