Representation and the Analytical Study of Religion 2023(2021)

SORAAAD’s 10th year of workshops, with the theme, "Representation and the Analytical Study of Religion" was interrupted by the COVID surge of early 2021, after talks by Richard Newton and Alana Vincent.

The workshop's events have been on hiatus and will, for now, continue online. SORAAAD will resume its focus on representation over the course of at least the 2023-24 academic year.

Attention to representation in research design, including what factors into how we understand religion and conceive of what we should study, were among the workshop’s originating concerns. In its most basic terms, representation is a means of characterizing and accounting for elements in “a sample” from which we generalize in order to characterize phenomena.

Representation conjures simultaneously the need to address the manufacture and designation of alterity and normativity (SORAAAD, 2012) , to cultivate a capacity to chart arrays of human expression and activity, to recognize and rectify voids, and to allow this work to change how we compare, explain, and conceptualize (Long, 1995; Moultrie, 2017, Compton et. al, 2017, Garland-Thomson, 2015).

How do (and should) the various concerns associated with representation play out in the design of research on religion, our understanding of generalizability and extensibility of our concepts and findings, and the nexus of people, ideas, and institutions in our field of scholarly production?

We will address how representation functions in the design of research on religion. How does representation operate in public spaces, media, museums, ‘official’ or ‘common sense’ narratives, children’s stories, and archives?

How is such representation challenged and changed when previously silenced peoples deliberately retake those spaces, narratives, visuals, and artifacts?

How do we talk about representation, governance, and labor in religious groups, organizations, and social aggregations?

In any field of observation or archive, we must ask: who speaks for whom and with what stakes and resources?

What contributions can qualitative researchers make to the public understanding of qualitative data that is manufactured (or systematically) destroyed by the state (e.g., the 2020 United States census; the Harper government’s deliberate destruction of Canadian environmental records; the destruction of immigration records in the UK’s Windrush Scandal )? As we contend with the aftermath of a highly contested census in the United States, how do qualitative scholars interact with formal quantitative general surveys, and surveys focused on religion?

In resuming work on this topic, scholars will address long-identified problems in research traditions and organizations, and we hope thereby to help all participants develop or adapt tactics for contending with the impacts of misrepresentation and over-representation.  

Religion, Authoritarianism and Public Narratives - U.S. Part 1

September 17, 2023 - Online - 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM CST US.

The Study of Religion as an Analytical Discipline Workshop (SORAAAD) resumed its events with a roundtable to kick off a series, Religion, Authoritarianism, and Public Narratives.

This event focused on the U.S. and features scholars and journalists Monique Moultrie, Alana Vincent, Chrissy Stroop, and Kelly J. Baker.

What is it to work on authoritarianism or the need to take account of it and characterize it and its impacts in association with stuff understood to be religion?  

This session,  in two parts,  will focus on the U.S. and initiate a conversation about how we conceptualize, study, and talk to the public about white Christian Nationalism, the relationships and overlaps across religious fundamentalisms, ethnonationalist authoritarianism and mainstream beliefs as activity and permission structures and the impacts on identity, gender, rights, sexual orientation, race and immigration.

Part One: Our speakers will take up the state of public understanding and how we as scholars and journalists talk about Religion, Authoritarianism.
Part one was be recorded.

Part Two: A working session on how we address these issues in the classroom, in media, and in research even when it is not the direct focus of your work.

SORAAAD is sponsored by Department of Gender, Religion, and Critical Studies, University of Regina and the Edward Bailey Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion.