Blog Archives

Matthew Narain uses project materials to design a new lesson!

In summer 2019 I attended a seminar at the University of Manchester aimed at teachers of Religious Studies.  At the event we were introduced to an array of resources and asked to email if we created any lesson plans.  Well, better late than never I hope, but I’ve created a lesson utilizing some of these resources.  It’s a bit of a crow-barred lesson in truth as I don’t actually teach Hinduism in any SOW, so I’ve tried to fit it into a Sikhism SOW instead.   

A section of a slide from Matthew’s powerpoint showing the kinds of links that can be created between caste,

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Recent Publication: Translation of a Marathi Conversion Narrative

The Subhedar’s Son: A Narrative of Brahmin Christian Conversion from Nineteenth Century Maharashtra

Deepra Dandekar (Ph.D.) Researcher, Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

The Subhedar’s Son: A Narrative of Brahmin-Christian Conversion from Nineteenth Century Maharashtra published by the AAR Series of Religion in Translation, OUP (NY) in 2019, is an introduced and annotated English translation of the Marathi book Subhedārachā Putra written by Rev. D.S. Sawarkar (1867-1952), an educationist and Christian reformer. The original Marathi book published in 1895 by the Bombay Tract and Book Society is a novelized version of D.S.

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Narratives of awakening: A Linguistics of Religion approach 2

Guest Post: Wolf-Andreas Liebert,
Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Koblenz

New media breaks through familiar narrative patterns

Let me move next to sequences of a published
movie titled “Satori” (OpenSkyFilms 2013). The Film is about a
woman’s awakening in a small spiritual community. The documentary narrates not
only the story retrospectively but includes material filmed during the
awakening process.

In Zen Buddhism,
Satori means a sudden insight into the nature of mind beyond rationality and
language. The traditional sitting meditation (Zazen) or paradoxical
interventions (Koans) are regarded as enabling conditions for a Satori.
Although the term “Satori”

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Narratives of awakening. A Linguistics of Religion approach 1

Guest post: Wolf-Andreas Liebert,
Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Koblenz

Conversion or awakening?

Studies seem to show that conversion
narratives always follow the same pattern of crisis, extraordinary experience,
and a revision of life concepts. We already find that in William James (1917).
But what religion means today has radically changed: many people get involved
in loose networks via social media, attach importance to individualisation and
are sceptical or even hostile towards traditional religions. Thus a religiosity
and spirituality have developed that is globally networked but very heterogeneous
and informal (cf. Hanegraaff 2015).

Are conversion
narratives here still the same as we know them from traditional religious

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Our publications–Autobiographies of Conversion

It is exciting to see our first set of publications based on the research conducted and presented by the team!

Most of the contributions to this volume were first presented at a workshop held at IIT Delhi in December 2015, entitled “Narratives of Transformation: Language, Conversion, and Indian Traditions of ‘Autobiography.’” Our intention was to situate our study of conversion accounts to Christianity within a broader context in South Asia by including conversion between other religious traditions and historical periods, to give our study historical depth and comparative range across religious cultures. You can read more about the conference here.

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Posts on Conversion Accounts

As the project team review the many conversion accounts found in the archives and write our articles, we thought it would be a good idea to write short blog posts on some of the accounts we have found particularly striking. What do these convert-narrators say about themselves, how do they describe their experiences or how to they see themselves relating to the world around them?

We have found that conversion accounts were not merely straightforward autobiographies published as books. There are accounts embedded within letters, obituaries, and as part of applications for ordination as catechists or ministers. Many such accounts written on plain paper,

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School and College Teaching Resources

Some of the materials collected as part of this project can be used to enhance learning for school and college students taking N5 and Highers qualifications in Religious and Moral Education. 

In particular, these resources are useful for examining the World Religions units within the following courses.  These units are designed to challenge students to interpret and comment on the meaning and context of religious beliefs, practices and sources.

For students studying Christianity as a World Religion, the resources you will find here provide a unique opportunity to interpret and comment on these issues. 

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A Dinner Cooked by the World Kitchen Team in Leith: food for thought?

Plate of apples

The World Kitchen Team were involved with us from the start after Gavin introduced me to Fay Young.

Working with the communities in Leith and Edinburgh, Fay (http://www.leithopenspace.co.uk/) had plenty of experience supporting events for the wider community. She was very interested in the issues that we as a research team were investigating and we had plenty to talk about regarding religious identities, religious conversion and the kinds of barriers around religion that keep people apart. The rest of the team were as interested in participating Fay reported. They were happy to cook us a full meal on the evening.

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The Languages of Religion: Translating Hopes and Fears….

Leith Theatre event

On a cold, crisp November evening, we welcomed our participants at the grand and recently renovated Leith Theatre.

We could see everyone was a bit wary, wondering what exactly they had signed up for! Gavin, warm and friendly and well used to meeting nervous participants, soon put them at ease. After a round of introductions, including Gavin on image theatre and myself about the research project, we played some fun ‘warm up’ games. One of the activities for instance involved the group working together in sets of three to make distinct shapes (alternating between ‘tree’,

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Poems from the Workshop-Victoria Ramsay

At the workshops, I enjoyed attempting to describe ‘the indescribable’. I realised that just by trying to write about a mystery is enough of a process to turn a handle (or a page), toward the direction of yet another mystery.

During the first workshop our group was given an opportunity to speak about our religious or non-religious lives, our early spiritual upbringings and how many of us, over the years had strayed from whatever faith-based religions we once grew up with. I was curious to hear how other folk, later in their lives, had realised and accepted varying conversions to different organised faiths.

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