Book: Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion
Chapter: Accidental Favorites: The Implicit in the Study of Religion
“Accidental Favorites,” written by Steven Ramey, asks what scholars of the academic study of religion can do to reorder their teaching and research in light of a shift away from topical treatments of data towards critical assessments of processes of classification and identification. This “Afterword” offers final words of guidance that methodological applicability is difficult, daunting, and nearly impossible without reflexive recognition that the work done by scholars often plays favorites within contemporary culture wars. So what to do? As much inspired by the ideas giving purchase to this volume, while at the same time offering more guidance on how such ideas might find fertile methodological soil, the Afterword concludes by arguing for an attempt to avoid the many labels (i.e. Hindu/Sikh, black/white, religious/secular) that take such focus on the study of religion historically and today. Many scholars play “accidental favorites”—with their data, their discourses. Scholars of the academic study of religion, therefore, should be wary and cautious of their accidental favorites moving forward.