Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Manufacturing Rel by Russell t. mccutcheon 1997

Manufacturing Rel by Russell t. mccutcheon 1997

viii-book is a critique of Chicago schoo’s “regnant rlus studs discourse”—uses Jz smith 82, herman and Chomsky 88, mcmullin 89 (had similar thesis but was harshly criticized)

-says smith’s book “des not suggest the practical and material uses” of the idea of rel

ix-and strenski 87, preus 87, Foucault 89

x-says book assumes 1) scholars work in sociohistorical world and 2) their cats and concepts have histories and material implications

xi-goal: to persuade readers that the widespread scholarly assumption, operative at least in n amern scholarship, that rel is best conceptualized as sui generis, autonomous of its own kind, strictly personl, essential, unique, prior to, and ultimately distinct from, all other facets of human life and interaction, is a highly useful discursive as well as poll strategy” and we need to ? it

-“the sui gen claim effectively not only excludes the datum and research from critical scrutiny but isolates and excludes the study of rel as well from dvlping a coherent instittnl idy”

-for list of texts the have sui gen for rel, cf mccalla 94

4-esp looks at na relus studies w/ sui gen, esp eliade—similar critique of hick and knitter 87, similar to lit critics david carroll 95 and (Marxist) eagleton

5- benson saler (93:102) pts out asad’s “misplaced” criticism of geertz, but says what asad was doing was ciriticizing others w/ sui gen idea, like eliade

6-book does not aim to dvlp a theory of rel

7-“w/out knowledge of the context in which this statement by eliade is made, its meaning is not immediately clear b/c it suggests assocs w/ contemp social constructionist theories”

8-there is still an anit-reductinist stance in relus studies

9-tradlly, scholarship on rel “has been conceived as a unique and separate aspect of human experc” –which has thusly fostered particular methods, phenomenologcl (insider v outsider, as if it’s ahistorical) and comparative (which abstracts a posited sameness from instances of mat difference

-eg schmidts 98 textbook divides chapters among topics like holy, quest, etc—this introduces students to idea that relus events r not reducible to other aspects of human life

-schmidt uses geertzin correctly as saying rel is values that r grounded in an ultimate reality, tho he uses “reality” as self-evident—and refuses discussion of what it is (10) he ignores the fact that geerz thot “sacred” symbols were interconnected w/ other symbols

11-result normatizes a particular interp of rel that says study of rel is simply interping certain phenomena instead of explaining it, as geertz would like, as “one aspect of human culture in relation to other aspects”—the “scale” “create[s]” the phenomen

12-despite eliade using a lot of historical data, even in a history of rellus ideas, “there exists a fine distinction btwn the study of rel in itself and the study of rel, as it is expressed in human history” –as if there is an “essence” of rel—others (otto, van der leeuw, wc smith)

13-by avoiding studying the relations of rel w/ class, gender, geograph, age, etc. “scholars may not necessarily b promoting these imbalanced distributions of wealth or influence, but they certainly minimalize the significance of such factors”

15-says wc smith’s 91 claim that rel in history is constructed while faith is natural is wrong

16-many writers (incl smart) say academic use of sui gen rel is a theological approach, tho hidden behind “science”

-tho mcc criticizes them for thinking there is a shapr disctinction btwn “god-talk” and scholarly work on them

17-this in turn perpetuates a sui gen idea of rel

19-peter Harrison 90 said idea of “rel” as a “nat object” appeared at same time as idea of what defined it

20-in 1956, annual meeting of natl assoc of biblical instructor (nabi, precursor to aar) said rel and university ed were separate

21-says 1 reason why cross disciplinary study of rel is not attractive to universities is it means a radical critique rel as most scholars see it

-says it might end English and rlgs stds departments –so jobs, status, funding and poll values r on the line

22-poll side is it segments ppls complex socio poll historical relationships—sui gen scholars r implicated int eh pols of representation/alienation

28-says comparative rel textbooks mostly have sui gen idea

26-follows jz smith and Gregory alles

27-relations btwn theoretical positions and pols can b hidden—idea by a. geertz and Jensen 91

-eliade’s “totalized poll program (known as the new humanism)”

28-what mcc calls sui gen is considered by some to b the history of rel

-does not like the term “discipline” cuz all areas interact, prefers “field”

29-says not all “socially entrenced knowledge always supports either dominant or oppostional pwer structures”—(“legitimitztn” p31)

-since all thot is from a particular contexts, what separates ideology [not pejorative kind] is that it obscured or disuised contexts and histories”

30-eliade believed rmoanian intellectuals and their poor represented its ntlnsm as equal prts—so he therefor thot he represented them

33-geerz and Jensen also critique nostalgia in Charles long 86, long’s simple idea of the “archaic critique”

-they have durkhmian view: rel legitimates—opposed scholars taking rad myths at face value

34-carolson 89 also sees nostalgia in eliade, but sees it as theological instead of social—so therefor reproduces eliades stance

36-eliade thot history of rel could “save the w. world”

38-eliades humanism was the goal of making the “total man” who understood everyone and everything—which for him means reassertion of formerly lost values

-tho what his “cultural values” r is never made clear

39-this idea “can serve extremist, ntlst pols by ultimately sanctioning claims to indigenous, archaic purity…and genrlly contributes to constructing a cultural envrnmnt that attempts to alter current social realities by appeals to an idealized, supposed ly autonomous past era”

40-he compared any 2 rels, but this meant reducing them to an idealized type.

41-eliade also thot that any sacred symbols, including secular ones, were expressions of the same thing as tradl ones

42-he ignores differences

48-j. Campbell too

-not saying eliade and Campbell r necessarily wrong, but they r “insufficient” and their idea is an “outright dangerous” one

-bruce Lincoln 89:49 ;said every group has myths, even secular; so did barthes 73 (49)

49-eliade’s critics don’t reduce everything to sociohistorical, they say it is 1 of many

51-durk used “sacred” as description (cf paden 91 for diff uses (anttonen 95) of word), but eliade gave it an ontological meaning

-eliade never defined rel precisely, and things were “obviously sacred” (52)

53-similar to lite criticas who thot art was its own self-contained object—amer new criticism mvmnt

-eagleton 89 criticized new crit as being “irrationsal,” relus, polly inert

54-daniel pal 86 said sui gen idea was “enshrined” at u of chi, so does alles 89, Reynolds 82 says most scholars have it

56-strenski says its ok to call somthng rel as long as u know all disciplinary distinctions r for convenience not a priori 1993b 106-07, so does smith and pasl too, rel is a taxonomical category only

57-jz smith 90 said sui gen idea startled w/ prostnt polemics against pope—and it generated justification for priveledge

58-precursosrs—james (varieties) called rel “sui gen and unique”; max muller [according to waardenburg was first scholar to proclaim autonomous science of rel 1973] (59)—and for both muller and eliade the initial establishment of the study of rel was “intimately linked to the autonomy and priority of tis datum “—and this is the same reason it emerged in 60s; also tiele, Jordan—genrlly “the 19th ce founders of what we now consider to b the academic study of rel all seem to presume the distinct status of the relus datum”

60-“as early a Schleiermacher” –shared across all rels; one of most influential was otto, van der leeuw (30s)

61-wach, kristensen, bleeker, pettazzoni—tho not all these ppl had the same ideas of rel specifically

-above writers differed from hum,e mrx and engles, freued, drk, e p Thompson, Guthrie, boyer, burkert

63-same ppl (penner, Lawson and mccaoley 90), even going back to anthro e b tylor, classify rel as practionnes’s beleief of ritual—but it’s strictly taxonomic

64-malley 95 suggests a polymethodic approach b/c no one field is superior to another

[Foucault on madness 88]

65-certeau 88, a foucauldian, said dominants have “strategies,” and exclude others w/ judgement, ridiculte fromt eh elites’ strategic vantage

-66-sui gen def of rel used by ppl who have advised, gvt polcy decisions

67-sui gen rel is only accessible by the trained hermeneut

68-and they limit what ?s r acceptable

71-new humanism is idealist b/c believes ideas r most imprtnt for change. Romantic b/c thinks elites lead the way—it believes elites and peasants share similarities—eliade has been called a miliatant toh mcc say conserve cuz he wants old ways and power

74-said elieade most popular rel academic, only rivaled by Campbell

75-there r several who critique eliade for being androcentric

76-ntoes that turner criticizes Heidegger and paul de man but not eliade—shos how respected eliade (tho was early on a pro-facist Romanian)

77-deconstructionism gets linked to extreme pols

80-ionesco was the chief ideologist for the Romanian facist mvmnt, was eliades mentor; Eliade supported Mussolini and codreanu (iron guard)

81-says maner calls critiques of elieades poll past “totalitarian” tho a strict causal connection is wrong, precluding it gives eliade myth of autonomous scholar

87-and rennie

99-strenskis critique of eliade (and other scholars who lived thru major poll events) is that they can’t b object cuz of those events, only NAs can—this is highly problematic, even for mcc

101-max muller first proposed comparative rel

101-txtbooks mostly focus on relus plurality, but that “is constitutive of the discourse on sui gen rel” via ahistorical relus essence; they ignore naturalist approach usu

102-esp for intro courses where theres huge disparity btwn teacher’s theoretic sophistication and what is taught

-other probs: inexpercd grad teachers, theachers still grappling w/ new theories, undergrads who have rel and never looked critically at understanding of rel

-note #2 recommends Horace miner 56 “body ritual” as a parody to show how to look at other cultures

103-when faced w/ relus adherent students a teacher might just use muller’s 19thce comparative

104-few dprtmnts go by “comparative rel” anymore

105-but comparative model is still used in most texts, but mcc says it’s “more akin to a theology of relus pluralism than the academic study of rel” (a theology that sees pluralism as most important), uses vague cats : ultimate, myths, etc

106-preus 87 taces naturalistic study of rel to bodin 16th ce, hume (mid 18th ce) urged for it

109-huston smith’s 1.5 m selling the world’s rels emphasizes relus autonomy and has a “personalism [indv] bias”

110-many ppl (de vries, otto and even Albanese) say implicity or explicity, that u have to believe in rel first

114-reasons for explicitly de-emphasizing nonsui gen theories may be “such practical matters as showing respect to the belief systems of first-time students or employing a theorectical stance that is sympathetic to rels so as to attract student who r themselves relus” tho mcc says there may b other reasons

-if they use theorists, its often only otto or eliade

115-wc smiths theory was that best rel object of study is believer’s belief (insider)

116-“but surely insider reports r not simply tob rediscribed and repeated (for this simply amounts to autobiography) but problematized and examind”

118-smarts book was a beginning naturalist attempt (69/91), he then wrote another 89 which was more so, and arranged geographically (as were dprtmnt offerings)

123-a criticism is that using social sciences and not taking for granted rel, then u aren’t actually studying rel—mcc says if u mean rel as a certain kind of deity worship or feeling, then that is correct, but now the world rel itself prevents explaination

128-wcsmith says shouldn’t even call studying social factors, the study of rel- he says social form of rel is called “cumulative trad”, rel is only indv

129-a. geertz 94 jensen 95a suggested term “ethnohermeneutics” 90, gitzgerald 95 suggest cultural studies on values

133-says asad is also critical of imperialistic social science

-mcc says asads strategy prevents ppl from using any gen ideas

136- pts out turners critique of hodgeson who believes in man’s conscience and sees nat factors as only acxillary to relus

137-rel in history 92

139-the encyc of rel uses a sui gen def [muller did it]

142-and was usu approved—“rel as a private domain” (144)

147-euro/na scholars dominate IAHR

150-mcc says ethnocentrism doesn’t mean “inevitable situatedness of scholarly work”, but failing to recognize ones theoretical basis is bad kind of it

151-and it includes believing other cultures have same goals, like trans cultural study

155-“nowhere in the discourse on sui gen rel do we find a legit defense of its conception of the whole pic or what it means to b a wui gen discipline”

-w/out that, how does 1 know what mix of antrhro and theology—or which kind of anthro or theology?

159-rel as a taxonomical cat is fine, but its really a foucauldian “discursive practice”

-eagleton proposes end of regular humanities dprtments—and create cross-disciplinary “social ideologies” study

165-said pointed out powers control, appearance of other in media as nonhuman to gain acceptance by the ppl—supported by js mill

164-capitalism, first, is idfying what is capital

-and discourse on sui gen rel perpetuates imperialism thru idea of private, intellectual, uniqe (eg ER article said xn missionary efforts saw as poll and earthly issues only as instrumental); other ideas r isolated from “issues of material import”—ppl become disembodied w/ little social or historical consequence

165-sui genists saw what they were doing as resotring the dignity to the human subject that had been previously taken away by 19th ce evolutionary theories and early social, scientific studies,” many (intentionally or not) participated in this

166-compensating for one sided view is what drew followers to sui gen (esp eliade)

-but eliade didn’t put the other in their own structures, he put them in the previously created statuses for xnty—ethnocentrism (167)

172-eg the virtually ubiquitous attribution of thich quang duc’s suicide 63 to relus reason, compeltley ignoring poll ones—decontextualized—and almost always as against roman caths—tho it could have been against us controlled viewt (173) or just us—the single sided interp is “undefended” (170)

174-thich nhat hanh emphasized the centuries of euro imperialism

179-huston smith’s 91 txtbook calls foreign rels “tradl” –a polly charged word, implying the pejorative “primitive” tribal etc—implies social and ecoc inferiority

-smith was hired by military to teach soldiers about other rels

180-those ideas r hidden under screen of “mutual coop”—“global” and “universal” can b euphemisms for domination

181-the e. india comp financed muller’s 4 vol translation of rig veda, (“1 of the primary arms of brit ecoc imperialism”)

-napoleon’s invasion also produced 24 vol description de l’egypte

189-eliade said the history of “profited enormously” from antrho and relied on ortlest research

-j. Clifford 88 and gellner 93 criticicize said for downplaying native complicity, and Pollack 92

193-acknowledges that all theories [even his, thusly] will b embedded in certain situations, so u must continue to critique

198-scholars of sui gen defend their biases w/ terms like “fact” “accurate” “context” “comparison”—but those presuppose “comple but unacknowledged commitments”

199-the culture of disbelief 93 was very pop, politicians even read it—sui gen idea of rel

210-says to keep rel as a dprtmnt, it must have a clear idy—multi-disciplinary and not sui gen

213-huxley 1886 noted that teories/assumptions r created by man

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