Method as Identity: Manufacturing Distance in the Academic Study of Religion, by Christopher M. Driscoll and Monica R. Miller is here, at last. Dr. Monica R. Miller and I have worked on this monograph for the last four years, so we’re thrilled to see it in our hands. And your hands, too. Admittedly, the price is a bit high for students, and well, most scholars, too. But that can quickly be addressed if everyone asks their institutional library to purchase a hard copy of the book now. Then, in about a year’s time, a paperback will be released.
Recently, I participated in a brief online debate for Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie Hannover, where I am a fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year. Along with another fellow, the brilliant scholar of religion Monica R. Miller, we discuss whether or not we have a "right" to hate? Check out the following excerpt below, then hit the link to read more.
Pro und contra: Do We have a Right to Hate?
Contra: Christopher Driscoll
Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. – Reinhold Niebuhr[i]
The same holds true of the law, and laws made from, and making, democracy in its varied iterations. Laws must be written and enforced that protect the citizens of a nation from those who would hate particular groups on the basis of belief, biology, geography, or culture. Anti-hate legislation is a powerful step in not only curbing hate-motivated violence, but in organizing the values that hold up any democratic apparatus.
Hatred is not an object in one’s heart, a disposition or ontological viewpoint. It is a verb, a “choice” according to Jean Paul Sartre.[ii] To be a “hater” is to be found “hating.” To be “hateful” is to be prone toward “hating.” Too often, we imagine hate to be a feeling. Even in framing this choice, Sartre, too, overemphasizes hatred as rooted in “passion”[iii] when in fact, expressions of hatred often – as was the case with the routinized Shoah – require a disjuncture between feeling and thinking or feeling and acting. We often fear emotional response will grow violent. However, where hatred is concerned, acute emotional catharsis may be a valve ensuring a community or individual does not succumb to hatred. Nevertheless, Sartre’s suggestion that “hate is a faith,”[iv] a particular kind of bad faith, does well to emphasize the action-basis of hatred but does little to emphasize the ordinariness of bad faith towards any given life. Bad faith is not something limited to the anti-Semite, but is a failure of action all of us (as humans) run risk of perpetuating.
continue reading at philosophie-indebate.de
Here's a panel discussion on humanism and race from the American Humanist Association's annual conference, held in early May in Denver, CO. The conversation included Dr. Anthony Pinn, Dr. Monica R. Miller, Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, and me, Dr. Christopher Driscoll. Join the ongoing conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ahacon15
K. Merinda Simmons is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Her areas of interest include the relationship between religious expression and gender identity, Afro-Caribbean and African American Women Writers, Southern Studies, and Feminist Theory and Philosophy.
Her current research examines Afro-Caribbean and African American women’s migration narratives in the 19th and 20th centuries, giving specific focus to how travel across geographical and sociopolitical boundaries constructs notions of “gender” and “labor.” Simmons is currently at work on a book manuscript tentatively entitled The Work of Southern Womanhood: Mapping Feminine “Character” across Gender, Race, and Migration.
In this interview with Monica Miller and Christopher Driscoll, Simmons discusses the problem with post-blackness, as well as a number of issues related to discourses of authenticity and identity.
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Dr. Anthony B. Pinn is currently Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies, and also Founding Director of The Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is also Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies in Washington, DC. In addition to these titles, while at Rice Prof. Pinn has developed a robust PhD program in African American Religious Studies recognized for its intellectual rigor and emphasis on professionalization.
Spanning a career of nearly 25 years, Pinn has published over thirty books, which have impacted a variety of fields and subfields within the academic study of religion and have made him one of the most prolific and influential scholars of religion of his generation. In February of 2014, Prometheus Books released Anthony B. Pinn’s Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist. As this title notes, Pinn is also a well-known atheist, or non-theist (to use his own preferred moniker). His brand of theology doesn’t require “god” but emphasizes the ordinary as well as the extraordinary dimensions of life, and the cultural ingenuity humans muster in community, in particular the African American community.
Recently, we sat down with Professor Pinn to talk about Writing God’s Obituary (WGO).
Pinn can also be found on Twitter @anthony_pinn
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In the first installment in this new series, Conversations in Black, Miller and Driscoll talk to John L. Jackson, Jr. about his new book with Cora Daniels, Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion.
Jackson is Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology in the Standing Faculty of the Annenberg School for Communication and the Standing Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences. Before coming to Penn, Jackson taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in Communications (Radio, TV, Film) from Howard University in Washington D.C. and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York City. As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries, and film-shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Harvard University’s Milton Fund, and the Lilly Endowment (during a year at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina). He has published a number of widely celebrated books, including Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001), Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (Basic, 2008). More recently, Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Harvard 2013) and most recently, Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion (Atria 2014). This most recent book also has a website with more interviews and videos.
Jackson is also on Twitter: @johnljacksonjr.
MM/CD: Impolite Conversations is an issues-driven dialogue between you and journalist Cora Daniels, both of you friends since high school. Could you tell us a bit about how the project came together, and how it took specific shape as this series of “impolite conversations?”
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