Category Archives: Teaching Resources

Soul Search (Radio Program): Max Weber at 100: On modernity and a disenchanted world

100 years ago, during the last great pandemic, German intellectual Max Weber caught influenza and died.

He was only fifty-six at the time, but he left behind several landmark works and a whole new discipline — sociology — that still affects how we view religion and society now. 

Adam Possamai is a Professor of Sociology at Western Sydney University. He explains more about Webers legacy, and why he still matters a century on. Why was Weber’s work The Protestant Ethic so influential? What’s the relationship between Christianity and capitalism? And how has capitalism in turn, shaped how we see religion and spirituality today?

Portrait of man with facial hair and combed wavy hair wearing a suit and standing out in the sun.
Adam Possamai is a Professor in Sociology at Western Sydney University.Image: Supplied
Portrait of causasian woman with dark blonde hair and navy blouse smiling.
Anna Halafoff is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Deakin University.Image: Supplied

Then we hear from Anna Halafoff, Associate Professor of Sociology at Deakin University, who is part of a team that’s studying how Gen-Z thinks and behaves in relation to religion. She tells Meredith Lake what makes Gen-Z more religiously diverse than previous generations.

Opinion piece: M. Hashas, “Italian Islam in Mainstream TV: Either Invisible or Visibly Othered”

Italian Islam in Mainstream TV: Either Invisible or Visibly Othered

By Mohammed Hashas

This piece reflects on reputed Italian TV programmes and how they tackle issues of terrorism, Islam and Muslims. Reference will especially be made to these particular programmes and dates, though they do not differ from what I have seen from them for the last six years or so of my stay (studies and work) in this country: Porta a Porta (14/11/2015), Virus and Virus Speciale Parigi (15/11/15; 18/11/15), Ballarò (18/11/15; 24/11/15), Linea Notte TG3 (20/11/15), L’Arena (22/11/15). Among these, Ballarò – and mildly so also Porta a Porta of Bruno Vespa – seems to have discussed the Paris tragedy in the fairest manners, presented by Massimo Giannini who holds the tone of a journalist that tries to present and understand, instead of the tone of provocation and suspicion that Virus and L’Arena have shown on this particular topic. However reputed the list of these programmes may be, and however many fair observers agree with these reflections and findings, one has to underline the fact that this is not a systematic study of all mainstream Italian media. Still, broadly, the mainstream presentation of the issue is simply very negative, biased, dis-informed, and lacks professionalism. The Italian mainstream media is not open, and it entertains itself with the little it knows and does. This makes it fall into prejudices, un-ethical statements, and lack of professionalism with regards to Islam and Muslims whose contribution to society dynamics remains invisible and whose values remain stigmatized, misrepresented and othered.
-The Invisible Mainstream Arab-Islamic World
-The Visible Islam: The Case of the Ex-Muslim Magdi Allam
-The Invisible Italian Islam: The Case of COREIS
-Stereotypical Fallacies: Examples
-The Invisible Italian Scholars of Islam
-“Not In My Name” Rally: Why Only Few Muslims Went to the Streets?

Full article at Resetdoc Dialogues on Civilizations, Rome: 

US-UK Comparison

Many commentators and some studies have argued that the US is better at integrating Muslims  because of its constitutional ‘wall of separation’ btw church and state. In this new article, Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood question this by comparing the US to ‘established church’ Britain:

Religious pluralism in the United States and Britain: Its implications for Muslims and nationhood

For those without access to Social Compass journal, a pdf is at:

Resource: The World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP) — Japanese New Religions and Minority Traditions

We would like to draw the  attention of those interested in the study and teaching of religion in Japan  to the following resource and project.  The World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP)

It is an academic open-access free source of information about various religious movements around the world. It has recently developed a number of themes within it, including a section on Japanese New Religions and Minority Traditions, which is being overseen and directed by Erica Baffelli, Ian Reader and Birgit Staemmler:

 This site includes an extensive overview of new religions, downloadable as a pdf, along with, currently, profiles of six movements (Hikari no Wa, Aum Shinrikyo,  Soka Gakkai, GLA, Seicho no Ie,  covert Shin Buddhists) by scholars who have worked on these movements.  Besides the project editors, contributors thus far have been Levi McLaughlin, Crystal Whelan and Clark Chilson.  A number of other profiles are in the pipeline.

 We would encourage anyone who teaches in relevant areas to make use of this resource. In addition, we would encourage anyone who is working in relevant areas and who would be interested in contributing a profile of a particular movement, to contact us.  Normally contributions should be around 5-6000 words long and follow the general format set out in the profiles.

 Erica Baffelli

Ian Reader

Birgit Staemmler

AHRC / British Academy digital resources on the Hajj and British Muslims

While sadly the Hajj of 2015 will be remembered for recent tragic
events, list members may be interested to know that during the
pilgrimage this year the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
has been featuring a gallery of 15 images drawn from my research on the
Hajj and British Muslims.

The gallery, which will be of interest to university teachers and
researchers across Islamic, Religious and Diaspora Studies, was one of
those selected to mark the AHRC’s tenth anniversary. It offers a ‘thick’
visual description of British Muslims’ connections to sacred place in
the context of transnational circulations of pilgrims, capital, objects
and ideas. While currently one of the banners on the AHRC’s front page,
the gallery can be permanently viewed at:

The Hajj, Ethnography and British Muslims – Arts and Humanities Research

Up to 25,000 British Muslims travel annually to Makkah to perform Hajj.
The great pilgrimage returns Muslims to the birthplace of their faith
and is a religious duty once in their lifetime.

Read more:

Such images are elaborated on further in a British Academy funded web
resource and online exhibition at This
includes 30 x 2-3 minute, themed digital audio-clips drawn from in-depth
interviews collected among pilgrims, tour operators, community
organisations and others. My work began as part of AHRC-funded research
for the British Museum’s exhibition, Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam

Finally, as well as an online exhibition, the website includes research
papers on the Cultural and Political Economy of Hajj-Going and
Pilgrimage and Performativity, as well as an industry-facing report and
radio interviews including commentary on last week’s events. See, for
example, BBC Radio 5 Live Drive, 24/09/2015: To
find out more you can also follow me on Twitter @LeedsUniHajjRes

Thanks and best wishes,

Dr Seán McLoughlin

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Muslim Cultures, Politics & Societies

School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
University of Leeds, LS2 9JT

The Religious Studies Project: Podcasts and Resources on the Contemporary Social-Scientific Study of Religion

The Religious Studies Project, in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions and with some support from the University of Edinburgh, launched in January 2012. This is a website and podcasting project, featuring a weekly audio interview (of around 30 minutes) with leading scholars of Religious Studies (RS) and related fields. So far, these have featured James Cox, Armin Geertz, Carole Cusack, Donald Wiebe and Graham Harvey speaking on topical issues, novel approaches and important scholars and methodologies of Religious Studies in the 21st Century. Future interviews include Grace Davie, Jay Demerath, Callum Brown, Linda Woodhead and many more.

In addition, the website also features weekly articles from postgraduate students and other scholars on the themes of the interview that week, in addition to other useful resources and articles relevant to teachers and students of religion in the modern world.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute please contact

Twitter: @ProjectRS
Facebook: The Religious Studies Project
iTunes: The Religious Studies Project

Yours sincerely,
Christopher Cotter, David Robertson, Louise Connelly (editors)
University of Edinburgh