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What Do the Critics Want?—A Brief Reflection on the Difference between a Disciplinary History and a Discourse Analysis

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

The following essay is intended to respond to my critics and their criticisms of The Invention of World Religions. By providing an account of the book's pre-history, I hope to provide a framework for understanding why this particular project appealed to me in the first place. More to the point, however, I attempt to justify my sense that many of my critics have missed the point of Invention. As I originally imagined the project, the central question was not primarily about how the field of religious studies emerged in the nineteenth century, but rather how the discourse on "religions" (in the plural) played a role in the discursive formation of "the West."

Affiliations: 1: The University of Michigan, 1029 Tisch Hall, 435 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003, USA


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