S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

The Routledge Handbook of Material Religion, co-edited by Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate, was recently published. What began as a symposium in Amsterdam on the future of “material religion” in 2018, five years and one pandemic later has grown into a 450-page collection that features 30 essays by scholars from around the world. It is Rodríguez-Plate’s 11th edited book.Routledge Handbook of Material Religion, cover (S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate)

To join the project as co-authors, Rodríguez-Plate enlisted two international scholars: Pooyan Tamimi Arab of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, whose work focuses on secularism and political philosophy, and Jennifer Scheper Hughes of the University of California, Riverside, who works on Latin American religious traditions.

Rodríguez-Plate, who co-founded the journal Material Religion in 2004 and served as its managing editor for 17 years, said a robust field of study emerged around the materiality of religion during that time.

Wanting to think through the new areas of interest in this academic field, the co-editors created a section on “genealogies of material religion,” inviting scholars of African, East Asian, and Mesoamerican traditions to rewrite the typically Euro-centric history of the field.

Rodríguez-Plate said The Routledge Handbook of Material Religion makes “space to think across arenas of research, especially in fields of queer studies, entanglements, hyper-objects, and eco-critique,” noting that the contributed work “takes up the past, and pushes toward the future of the field.”

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