Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate recently published contributions to two edited volumes.
The first appears in What is Religion? Debating the Academic Study of Religion, edited by Aaron Hughes and Russell McCutcheon, and published by Oxford University Press. Plate said that in an unusual approach, the editors invited 17 leading scholars in religious studies to consider the prompt “Religion is . . .” and submit a 250-word response. Each scholar then responded to another scholar’s definition, and finally, each expounded on all of it by providing their own critical commentary on the “Religion is…” prompt.
Plate’s contributions all revolved around the connection between religion, art, and technology, suggesting that to understand religion in an academic setting, we need to look at the “ever-adapting ecosystem of objects” that humans use to engage with the environment around them. “Religious technologies are always mediated by the senses, and thus it is impossible to understand religion apart from the human body,” Plate said.
Continuing with their work on objects and bodies, Plate also contributed to The Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies, edited by Lucinda Mosher for Georgetown University Press. “Teaching Things: critical objects and creative students in the interreligious studies classroom” explores ways instructors in higher education are bringing students to museum and library collections and using visits to religious sites as ways to bodily engage with some of the elements of life that Plate says get configured as religious.