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Chemistry undergraduates at Stanford University sampling jiu, a fermented beverage made from sorghum, rice, or millet. © Kurk Hickman

Drunk History (of Chinese Religions)

Date:24 April 2019
Author:Tim Swanger
What can efforts to translate “alcoholic drink” (jiu 酒) from Chinese to English teach us about the category of religion? A surprising amount, argues Tim Swanger. 

#exMuslimBecause: Popular Terminology Among Islam’s Non-Believers

Date:01 March 2019
Author:Maria Vliek
What is at stake in the terminology of (non)belief? Drawing on recent fieldwork with former Muslims in the Netherlands and Great Britain, Maria Vliek reflects on the politics of declaring oneself 'ex-Muslim.' 
Sermon at Bethel Chapel

Sanctuary and Public Space: Church Asylum and Kinderpardon in the Netherlands

Date:08 February 2019
Author:Christoph Grüll
What does a 97 day church service have to do with the power of the state? Christoph Grüll reflects on compassion, justice, and the meaning of sanctuary.
DNA puzzle

Settler Similarity and the Science of Difference

Date:07 January 2019
Author:Tyler Tully
What can DNA tell us about our "identity," and - more significantly - what can't it? In our first blog post of 2019, Tyler M. Tully reflects on the relationship between DNA testing, settler-colonial norms, and racial apartheid in the United States and beyond.
Centre for the New Age

When is a Psychic or a Witch a Fraud?

Date:03 December 2018
Author:Susannah Crockford
Does witchcraft, fortune-telling, or psychic healing constitute fraud, and (when) should the law step in to regulate these practices? Drawing on fieldwork with psychics in Sedona, Arizona, Dr Susannah Crockford considers recent witchcraft cases in Canada and the United States to argue against the framing of certain religious practice as inherently fraudulent.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Shadow of Colonialism: Indigenous Rights in a Human Rights Framework

Date:12 November 2018
Author:Januschka Schmidt
This December, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 70th anniversary. Despite its achievements, we must not forget that the concept of human rights still has limitations. One aspect that needs further discussion is the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples within its framework. In today’s post Janushcka Schmidt wants to argue that, to make human rights genuinely inclusive, we must not only protect rights by law (de jure) but also safeguard their application in practice (de facto).

Does Prayer Really “Count” for Anything?

Date:08 October 2018
Author:Anishka Gheewala-Lohiya
What counts as ‘prayer,’ and is it a category with cross-cultural utility? In this blog post, Anishka Gheewala-Lohiya reflects on her fieldwork with Pushtimarg Hindus in India and the UK to argue for an expanded understanding of the concept among devotees of the baby Krishna.
statue forgiveness

The Politics of Apology: Zimbabwe After the 2018 Elections

Date:10 September 2018
Author:Joram Tarusarira
Dr Joram Tarusarira, Director of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalisation and Assistant Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, reflects on politics in Zimbabwe after the 2018 elections, cautioning against simplistic calls for apologies and forgiveness.
Picture taken by F. Pool during fieldwork

Do Muslims in the Netherlands Fail to Secularise? Reflecting on the SCP Report from an Indian Perspective

Date:25 June 2018
Author:Fernande Pool
Does piety threaten secularism? In this post, Fernande Pool examines the recent Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) report on Islam in the Netherlands, challenging the implicit bias contained within its use of ‘religion’ and ‘secularity’.
Maria statue at Rennes-le-Chateaux

Is the French State Really ‘Secular’? Some Reflections on Municipal Laïcité

Date:18 June 2018
Author:Dr. Julia Martínez-Ariño
How is laïcité – official state secularism – practiced in contemporary France? In this post, the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalisation’s Dr. Julia Martínez-Ariño discusses recent research in the cities of Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse to suggest that laïcité takes many forms in French municipalities – including the recognition and support of ‘religious’ actors and institutions.