Religion and Rethinking the Human
The ‘human,’ like that of ‘religion,’ is a category always under contestation. In current Euro-American scholarship and public culture, there is an acute anxiety about humans’ excessive reliance on technology, its environmental costs, and the ominous prospect of a post-human dystopia. These anxieties have been recognised, theorised, and allayed by a number of academic sub-disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It is therefore noteworthy that the study of ‘religion,’ ultimately concerned with the consideration of one of the most enduring products of the ‘human,’ has yet to wholeheartedly embrace a deconstruction of this seemingly transparent category.
Although ‘humans’ are credited with creating ‘religion,’ ‘religion’ itself has played a central role in constructing the ‘human’ as we understand it today. This symbiotic relationship is multifaceted, multivalent, and under-theorised within much of the current field of the contemporary study of religion. In order to bridge this gap between the study of religion and the plethora of recent ‘turns’ in academic scholarship that trouble the ‘human,’ the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion (formerly the Australian Religion Studies Review) seeks papers that provide a valuable insight into this issue of endurance and relevance from a variety of interdisciplinary and methodological perspectives.
Articles may present viewpoints, arguments, and analyses on broad delineations of religion, religiosity, and any of the following, or other and divergent, topics:
- The historical construction of the human
- The human and the non-human, super-human, or post-human
- Anthropocentrism and the biopolitical processes that bring about the centrality of the human and of certain humans
- Notions of sentience, identity, and individualism
- Human rights, law, governance, politics, media, and relations with ‘nature,’ climate, and the environment
- Interspecies relations, especially between the human, the animal, the plant, the microbial, and the technological
- Human evolution and cognition
- The politics and governance of death, dying, and decomposition
This issue of the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion is a special issue that will be edited by postgraduate students featuring contributions from national and international postgraduate students. We are hoping that this will provide students not only with an important platform from which to share their research interests and efforts, but also an invaluable opportunity for the academic community at large to sample the high quality work and the innovation of scholars at a postgraduate level. We are seeking unique essays on the subject of Religion and Rethinking the Human that showcase the original research of students, and we welcome a variety of submissions that provide a unique insight into this highly pertinent issue.
If you would like to contribute to this Special Issue, please send your abstract to the guest postgraduate editors: George Ioannides (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Venetia Robertson (email@example.com) by 1 July 2012. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and accompanied by a brief author biographical statement. Authors will be notified by the end of July, and the deadline for submission of complete articles (6000 words) will be 1 December 2012. Papers will be published subject to peer review. This special issue of the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion will be published in December 2013.