Book: Constructing Data in Religious Studies
Chapter: 3. Categorization and its Discontents
In this response to Annette Yoshiko Reed’s paper, the author reflects on the ways Reed’s piece might be read as a philosophical critique of the current scholarly practices of categorization in the study of religion of late antiquity. Taking Reed's analysis as a jumping-off point, the author then suggests four different research trajectories in the historical study of religion that have the potential to address some of the problematics in our current categorization practices: a (re)examination of various native methodologies and alternative categorization schemes; a continued study of the relationship between the scholar and time through cross-disciplinary research on the practice(s) of periodization; the development of more robust theories of difference between and among categories; and an emphasis on engaging with the fields of ethics and philosophy in our work.