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Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity

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Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity is a multi-authored work that tackles the problem of how to examine the historicity of identity. Six scholars of religion, all members of the Culture on the Edge group, engage in a constructive dialogue mediating and critically cross-examining issues of identity formation, suggesting ways of achieving greater theoretical clarity in the study of identity—or better, identity claims—as it takes shape over time and space. The volume is divided into three sites, or what we might call three situations, each of which is representative of a specific act, such as for example, the strategic acts of classification, appropriation, and comparison. Each site then consists of a main chapter, a response from another scholar (who presses further the point of the main chapter while inviting its author to reflect upon their initial argument) and a reply from the author of the main chapter.

Additionally, the volume includes an appendix with a series of posts that originally appeared at the blog for Culture on the Edge. These theoretically challenging posts, also investigating the volume’s three main areas, further exemplify and model a different way of approach in the study of identity. Although Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity is not a textbook, and while challenging for any reader, it can serve as a great pedagogical tool for professors who wish to use the book in their classes not only within religious studies but in any class that touches on issues of identity.

Published: Jan 7, 2019


Section Chapter Authors
Preface Vaia Touna
On the Strategies of Identity Formation Craig Martin
Site I: Acts of Classification
1. Nostalgia and the Discourse Concerning 'Nones' Steven Ramey
2. Response to Steven Ramey: The Constitutive Discourse of Description Vaia Touna
3. Reply to Vaia Touna: Situated Descriptions Steven Ramey
Site II: Acts of Appropriation
4. Strategizing Subjectivity: Creolization and Intentionality in Studies of Caribbean Religions K. Merinda Simmons
5. Response to K. Merinda Simmons: When is it OK to Borrow? Discourses on Syncretism and Cultural Appropriation Craig Martin
6. Reply to Craig Martin: “The Other Is Not”: Mediating Specialness and Specificity K. Merinda Simmons
Site III: Acts of Comparison
7. Writing Women out of Women’s Movements: The Discursive Boundaries of Feminism Leslie Dorrough Smith
8. Response to Leslie Dorrough-Smith: Transgressions Russell McCutcheon
9. Reply to Russell T. McCutcheon: Navigating the Politics of Comparison Leslie Dorrough Smith
10. Strategic Acts I and II Russell McCutcheon
End Matter
Appendix Vaia Touna, K. Merinda Simmons, Craig Martin, Steven Ramey, Leslie Dorrough Smith, Russell McCutcheon
Index Vaia Touna

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With this volume, the Culture on the Edge research group has presented readers with many helpful analytical questions that may guide us in our scholarly endeavors.

Contains a great deal of material that is both technical, informative, and readily accessible, and I could easily see using it in a classroom setting as an example of good peer critique and by interacting with the Culture on the Edge entries as conversation prompts and starting points for the method McCutcheon describes.
Reading Religion