Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion

An Introduction to Theories and Methods

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Sarah J. Bloesch, Meredith Minister
  • New York, NY: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , October
     216 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Andrew Walker-Cornetta forthcoming.


***We have this title in eBook format ONLY***

This is the first book to provide an introduction to contemporary cultural approaches to the study of religion. This book makes sophisticated ideas accessible at an introductory level, and examines the analytic tools of scholars in religious studies, as well as in related disciplines that have shaped the field including anthropology, history, literature, and critical studies in race, sexuality, and gender. 

Each chapter is written by a leading scholar and includes: 

· the biographical and historical context of each theorist
· their approaches and key writings
· analysis and evaluation of each theory 
· suggested further reading.

Part One: Comparative Approaches considers how major features such as taboo, texts, myths and ritual work across religious traditions by exploring the work of Mary Douglas, Phyllis Trible, Wendy Doniger and Catherine Bell. 

Part Two: Examining Particularities analyzes the comparative approach through the work of Alice Walker, Charles Long and Caroline Walker Bynum, who all suggest that the specifics of race, body, place and time must be considered. 

Part Three: Expanding Boundaries examines Gloria Anzaldúa's language of religion, as well as the work of Judith Butler on performative, queer theories of religion, and concludes with Saba Mahmood, whose work considers postcolonial religious encounters, secularism, and the relationship between “East” and “West.”

Reflecting the cultural turn and challenging the existing canon, this is the anthology instructors have been waiting for.

For primary texts by the theorists discussed, please consult The Bloomsbury Reader in Cultural Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Sarah J. Bloesch and Meredith Minister.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Sarah J. Bloesch is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University. Her teaching and research interests focus on Christianity, race and sexuality in the United States.

Meredith Minister is Assistant Professor or Religion at Shenandoah University. She teaches courses in religious studies and gender studies. She is the author of Trinitarian Theology and Power Relations: God Embodied (2014).

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