Class 200: New Studies in Religion
CLASS 200 is a new book series published by the University of Chicago Press.
Kathryn Lofton and I seek books that are rigorously documentary and thoughtfully reflexive. Whatever religion is, it is more than demographics, doctrinal machinations, or cognitive mechanics. It is more than a discursive concept and cultural idiom. Whatever religion is, it demands—in addition to these aforementioned statistics and homiletics—a precise and poetic measure. Like a William Carlos Williams poem, religion can be weighed. Abstractions have their objectivity. The immaterial and the ineffable possess a force. To be clear, this is not a call for interpretive anarchy in the study of religion. It is, instead, a call to be more honest about our scholarly conceits, their sources, and what they portend.
Trying to name what religion is has always and ever been problematically bound up in the explanations for it. This is the dilemma we hope to invite our authors to confront and to savor.
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