Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Liturgical Turn

I'm going to try and apply for a three week seminar series next summer with James K.A. Smith at Calvin College. It's called "From Worldview to Worship: The Liturgical Turn in Cultural Theory" and stems from Smith's interest in "arguing for the importance of practices, and particularly liturgical practices, as the "site" or "topic" of philosophy of religion," with which I completely agree. Not only do I also want to be working at the intersection of theo-philosophy and the empirical study of religion, but it would be great to meet Jamie, whose work I used in my PhD thesis, as well as to experience American postgraduate culture.

Here's the seminar description:

""Religion" has received increased attention from both social scientists and journalists over the past decade. But the phenomenon of religion has also been reconceived: rather than focusing simply on beliefs and doctrines, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers of religion are increasingly attentive to the role of practice and ritual as fundamental to religious identity. So rather than merely distilling the "worldview" of religious communities, scholars exegete the understanding implicit in worship practices. Thus one could speak of something like a "liturgical turn" in "cultural theory" –an appreciation for the formative role of cultural practices in constituting communities of meaning. This can be seen in the philosophical work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor; the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu and Christian Smith; research in social psychology as seen in the work of Timothy D. Wilson and John A. Bargh; and the theological developments in the work of Stanley Hauerwas, Graham Ward, and Craig Dykstra. This has important implications both for the study of religion, including Christianity, as well as for critical reflection on faithful religious practice."

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