What sort of work can any academic department achieve when it is fenced into a little box with no room to manoeuvre of its own accord? Jonathan Tuckett, who is doing research in phenomenology at the University of Stirling, asks the question with regard to an appraisal of issues and dilemmas related to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the culture of - often imprecise - measurement and categorisation increasingly imposed upon universities and colleges.
It is widely acknowledged among those who still care that academia in the UK is in very serious trouble, says Dr Michael Marten from the University of Stirling. The most infamous embodiment of the current malaise is a mechanism imposed upon universities by successive Westminster governments: a system of ‘research assessment’ driven by an ideology of neo-liberal commodification. Alternative perspectives and mechanisms are badly needed, he says.
Why it is that so few ‘secular’ scholars engage meaningfully with ‘religion’, wonders Michael Marten. Or to put it another way: why is it that so many religion scholars depend upon and practice disciplinary heterogeneity, whereas many of the scholars they use do not appear to engage substantially with what they write?
Collections of books on anthropology, new religious movements, the history of Christian mission, various regions in Africa and Asia, and related subjects are being offered free of charge (other than any dispersal costs) to interested libraries, institutions or individuals. Historic copies of several missions and African studies journals are also available.
There is little if anything that is straightforward or indeed ‘natural’ about the body, says Alison Jasper. It is a cultural canvas constructed through metaphors and a physical one preyed on by the idea that ‘more surgery will make me better somehow’.
The assumption that there is some essential distinction between 'religious' and 'non-religious' domains – which is still today a globalising discourse – is an ideological construct which takes on an appearance of naturalness and inevitability, says Timothy Fitzgerald. When such generalised assumptions are taken into the field of international relations they cause further difficulties.
Scholars from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany are exploring the “globalisation” of Christian churches through a research project focusing on inter-regional dynamics and their effect on churches, particularly from the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s to the development of the WCC Programme to Combat Racism and other social justice emphases through the 1970s. The project has culminated in an international conference on the theme at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute.
Critical Religion - a new research venture at the University of Stirling, with which Ekklesia will be cooperating - is hosting a one-day postgraduate recruitment conference to attract students interested in research at Master’s and PhD level.