A cutting-edge introduction to contemporary religious studies theory, connecting theory to data. This innovative coursebook introduces students to interdisciplinary theoretical tools for understanding contemporary religiously diverse societiesâ€”both Western and non-Western. Using a case-study model, the text considers: A wide and diverse array of contemporary issues, questions, andÂ criticalÂ approaches to the study of religionÂ relevant to students and scholarsA variety of theoretical approaches, including decolonial, feminist, hermeneutical, poststructuralist, and phenomenological analysesCurrent debates on whether the term "religion"Â is meaningfulMany key issues about the study of religion, including the insider-outsider debate, material religion, and lived religionPlural and religiously diverse societies, including the theological ideas of traditions and the political and social questions that arise for those living alongside adherents of other religionsUnderstanding Religion is designed to provide a strong foundation for instructors to explore the ideas presented in each chapter in multiple ways, engage students in meaningful activities in the classroom, and integrate additional material into their lectures. Students will gain the tools to apply specific methods from a variety of disciplines to analyze the social, political, spiritual, and cultural aspects of religions. Its unique pedagogical design means it can be used from undergraduate- to postgraduate-level courses.
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