Follow Us

Adjunct Professor James Cox Public Lecture, Book launch and reception, Western Sydney University

You are Invited to attend the Public Lecture, Book launch and reception presented by Adjunct Professor James Cox  on 5th May 2022.

This event will be held at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta campus, 1PSQ, Level 9 (Conference Room 3), starting at 4pm.

Biographical Statement

James L. Cox is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies in the University of Edinburgh and Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Society Research Cluster in the School Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. He has written widely on the phenomenology of religion and theories of Indigenous Religions, most recently, The Invention of God in Indigenous Societies (2014) and Restoring the Chain of Memory: TGH Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge (2018).

Public Lecture: 4:00pm to 5:30 pm

The Study of Religions in the Twenty-first Century: Refashioning Traditional Phenomenology

Chair: Professor Andrew McWilliam, Western Sydney University

Abstract: During the middle part of the twentieth century, the phenomenology of religion dominated the academic study of religions in burgeoning departments of religious studies, but, as a method promoting empathy towards religious traditions, it has now come under severe criticism for allegedly fostering grand narratives based on quasi-theological assumptions. As we move further into the twenty-first century, a new approach to the study of religions is emerging, that which conceives knowledge as the communal property of those being researched. Based on two case studies drawn from recent research in Australia, in this lecture, James Cox argues that the rejection of the phenomenological method in the study of religions as outmoded is premature. Rather, the phenomenological approach, when reinterpreted, opens new ways of fashioning research projects founded on what he calls ‘relational research’.

Book Launch and Reception (Canapes and drinks) 5.30pm to 6:30pm

A Phenomenology of Indigenous Religions: Theory and Practice. Published by Bloomsbury

The book launch will feature comments on the book by Professor Carole Cusack, Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney.

This book compiles James L. Cox’s most important writings on a phenomenology of Indigenous Religions into one volume, with a new introduction and conclusion by the author. Cox has consistently exemplified phenomenological methods by applying them to his own field studies among Indigenous Religions, principally in Zimbabwe and Alaska, but also in Australia and New Zealand. Included in this collection are his articles in which he defines what he means by the category ‘religion’ and how this informs his precise meaning of the classification ‘Indigenous Religions’.

These theoretical considerations are always illustrated clearly and concisely by specific studies of Indigenous Religions and their dynamic interaction with contemporary political and social circumstances. This collection demonstrates the continued relevance of the phenomenological method in the study of religions by presenting the method as dynamic and adaptable to contemporary social contexts and as responsive to intellectual critiques of the method.

The Book is published by Bloomsbury, see link for official announcement of the book:

A limited number of books will be available for sale at the launch at a 40% discount.

Please see attached flyer for your information.

Please register through Eventbrite: