a podcast with Malory Nye
Welcome to the Religion Bites website
Religion Bites is a podcast series, made up of short talks and discussions related to the study of religion and culture.
Religion Bites Episodes
There can be no doubt that the academic study of religion emerged out of European colonialism. There are various lines of descent for the discipline, and like much of the humanities and social sciences, they all lead back to colonialism, and in particular the...read more
I am a student of religion who does not study religion. I study what people think and talk about as religion. I study the spaces, places, things, objects, ideas, practices, and conflicts that can be found in particular discourses that get labelled and thought about as...read more
When we speak of religion are we in fact talking about race? Does the idea of ‘religion’ only make sense if we consider it as a particular instance of a racial formation? LISTEN NOW My theoretical starting point here is this question: When...read more
To understand the burkini bans in France in summer 2016, our starting point needs to be based on an assumption of intersectionality. The bans are not only about religion or security, they also involve gender, sexuality, race, power, and history. LISTEN...read more
The history of the idea of chocolate is somewhat similar to the history of how we think about religions. Chocolate became chocolate through colonial encounter and appropriation. Without colonialism, we would not talk about chocolate - the same with religion....read more
So, here is a question that is rarely asked in Religion 101 classes: What type of gloves should you be wearing? All studies of religion are a study of humans, people and the worlds, cultures, meanings, ideas, and practices they live within. What we choose to wear...read more
Postcolonialism and religion: in what ways are history and the contemporary world relevant not only to the topic of religion, but also to how we analyse and understand religions and cultures? LISTEN NOW For some postcolonialism is merely a...read more
In this episode, my aim is to encourage you to stop using the word ‘belief’ when you think about (and talk about) religion. It is not a useful word, and for most of the time it does the opposite of what we want the word to do — that is, it obscures our attempts to...read more
Agency is a concept often used to understand how people participate in (and sometimes resist) religious contexts and structures. That is, how do people who are in a subordinate position and who are marginalised from the main areas of power, how do they live...read more
This episode introduces the concept of intersectionality, a way to understand complex issues and identities deriving in particular from the work of Kimberlee Crenshaw. An intersectional approach recognises that the ‘single’ categories that we rely on for much of our...read more
Is race a matter of identity (what people think of differences) or is it a biological given? How is it that the idea of race-as-a-given works to structure and enforce differences (and power relations) within a particular society? LISTEN NOW How...read more
Gender matters to our understanding of culture and religion. How we understand gender, gender differences, and the understandings and practices of gender has a profound impact on how we talk about (and understand) religion. Gender is a means of understanding the...read more
An understanding of power, in its many forms, is an important part of the study of religion and culture. In this podcast on 'Religion, Power and Ideology' I give an outline of Michel Foucault's understanding of the concept of power. In particular, 'power is everywhere...read more
Religion does not just exist within the context of culture. What we think of as religion always also exists within contexts of power, gender, race, ethnicity, and other areas of identity and difference. Or to put this another way: power, gender, and race are basic...read more
Building on the discussion in the last two episodes, I introduce here the idea of subculture to explore through examples the linkages between such cultures of resistance, the cultural products that come from them, and religious ideas and practices. LISTEN NOW...read more
When we reverse the discussion, and explore how we can understand the many ways in which we can explore culture within religion, again the gap between the two disappears. Thus, culture is the medium through which religion is done, and cultural differences often...read more
Continuing the discussion of religion and culture, in this episode we explore what is seen as the gap between the two. Looking at specific examples of religion in culture - in both 'high' and popular culture - we examine how religion is often the basis of the language...read more
Religion is a cultural practice. And culture is bound up with religious ideas, identities and religion practice. Religion can be understood as a form of culture, and the study of religion is a form of cultural studies. And what we gain from this is the shift of our...read more
In order to understand the contemporary world we need to take religion seriously. Although some may think of religion as an ancient (or medieval) relic of bygone times, religions are very often important elements of the contemporary world. We need to recognise that...read more
If it is difficult to define religion, what about if we try to avoid doing so? Can we talk about religion without a definition? Trying to find a definition is almost like stepping through a quagmire, it is messy and difficult, and unhelpful in many ways. The aim of...read more
Defining religion: What is it all about and what do we mean by the term religion? Well one thing to ask before we start exploring this is does it really matter. Surely we know what religion is, it is just there…? Whether we like it or not it is...read more
This is the introductory episode for the Religion Bites podcast series. I am Malory Nye and you can see details about who I am here. LISTEN NOW What is Religion Bites? This is the introductory episode for the Religion...read more
About Malory Nye
Malory Nye is an academic and writer based in Perth, Scotland.
I have been teaching religious studies for many years, and I have written several books about religion – including the book Religion the Basics.
For more information about me, click here.
Why Religion Bites?
Religion continues to be important to many people in the world. It is not likely to ‘go away’.
I do not believe that religion is dead, and neither do I write from the view that religion is the answer to all the problems of the world. I do not follow a particular religion, and have no particular ‘axe to grind’ about faith and religion.
So if we want to understand today’s world, we need to ‘get’ why people are religious – why they ‘do religion’ in the many ways that religion is done.
We also need to understand how religion has a social and cultural impact on the world in which we live (and vice versa).
We can continue to complain about religion and religious people.
We can say it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Or we can just try to understand what is going on, and ask questions to inform ourselves about the world we live in.