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A cutting-edge introduction to contemporary religious studies theory, connecting theory to data.
This innovative coursebook introduces students to interdisciplinary theoretical tools for understanding contemporary religiously diverse societies—both Western and non-Western. Using a case-study model, the text considers:
- A wide and diverse array of contemporary issues, questions, and critical approaches to the study of religion relevant to students and scholars
- A variety of theoretical approaches, including decolonial, feminist, hermeneutical, poststructuralist, and phenomenological analyses
- Current debates on whether the term "religion" is meaningful
- Many key issues about the study of religion, including the insider-outsider debate, material religion, and lived religion
- Plural and religiously diverse societies, including the theological ideas of traditions and the political and social questions that arise for those living alongside adherents of other religions
About the Author
Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in the Studies in Interreligious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, RSIS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has authored or edited more than a dozen books and over seventy academic papers. His most recent book is Religious Hatred: Prejudice, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism in Global Context.
"Understanding Religion is a lucid, creatively structured, and nearly jargon-free introduction to theories and methods for studying religious communities and traditions in diverse societies, bold in scope, and presented in a manner that is undergraduate-friendly, yet sophisticated enough for use in a graduate-level course."
— Journal of Interreligious Studies
"Explores themes one might expect in a textbook as well as ones welcomely added, emphasizing a 'deeply political' approach that continually draws the reader’s attention back to whose voice gets expressed in scholarship, and whose does not."
— Religious Studies Review