Current Projects

Defining Tradition: A Reader

This collection serves as a challenge to the conventional use of ‘tradition’ as a cross-cultural category within Religious Studies. While scholars regularly employ the term they rarely investigate what is at stake by taking it for granted. Therefore, this project is an intervention and guide for rethinking ‘tradition.’ The volume will explore the discursive deployment of ‘tradition’ and the techniques of authorizing items, practices, and discourses as pure, unchanging, and inherited. Chapters will include key moments in  the theoretical examination of ‘tradition,’ including selections from the work of Talal Asad, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Erich Hobsbawm, Alasdair MacIntyre, Paul Ricoeur, Edward Shils, Hayden White, and others. The volume will also include various examples of the valorization and positioning of particular sets of beliefs and actions as ‘traditional’ and thereby requiring deference. Overall, the aim of the collection is to walk the reader through persuasive reappraisals of ‘tradition’ and provide a useful analytical route for approaching  discourses of ‘tradition.’