Researching 'religion' in indigenous cultures

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter offers a constructive approach to studying “religion” in indigenous cultures by building on the work of Chidester, Fitzgerald and McCutcheon, while taking into account concerns expressed by Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Dakota scholar Vine Deloria, Jr., about researching indigenous people and religion. First, I attend to conceptual issues regarding “indigenous” and “religion”, and the gap between self-representation and scholarly classifications, before examining identification practices (from Bayart) as strategies for recognition as “indigenous” or “religion”, paired with the politics of refusal (rejection of colonial classifications). I will also consider issues of legitimisation, power and privilege when evaluating an alternative classification, “traditional spirituality”, common in Canada. At the end, I suggest ways a critical religion approach can offer a way forward that also respects these differences in representation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationA Practical Guide to Critical Religion
    EditorsAlexander Henley, Lauren Morry
    Publication statusIn preparation - 10 Feb 2021

    Publication series

    NameCritiquing Religion: Discourse, Culture, Power
    PublisherBloomsbury Academic


    • Religion
    • Indigenous
    • Critical religion
    • Politics of refusal
    • Traditional spirituality


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