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Regulating Identities: The Silences of Critical Caretaking

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

AbstractThis essay provides a critical response to Atalia Omer’s JAAR article in which she claims that Russell McCutcheon’s work stacks up a false dichotomy between critics and caretakers. Using a context of peace and conflict studies, Omer suggests that critical caretaking would give conversations in religious studies a “real world” relevance and would allow scholars to recuperate the voices of marginalized groups. In response to her call for recuperating silences, this essay looks at what silences are present within Omer’s essay itself and argues that notions like peace and conflict, as well as the margins themselves, are always identified and regulated, despite scholarly presentations of them as self-evident and naturally existing.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, University of Alabama212 Manly Hall, P.O. Box 870264, Tuscaloosa, AL


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1. Hess Carol Lakey Caretakers of Our Common House: Women’s Development in Communities of Faith 1997 Nashville, TN Abingdon Press
2. Hughes Aaron W. "Religion is not simplistic: Some critical thoughts on Stephen Prothero’s God Is Not One " Bulletin for the Study of Religion 2011 Vol 40 2 9 14 [Crossref]
3. McCutcheon Russell T. Critics Not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion 2001 Albany, NY State University of New York Press
4. Noddings Nel Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education 1984 Berkeley University of California Press
5. Omer Atalia "Can a critic be a caretaker too?: Religion, conflict, and conflict transformation" Journal of the American Academy of Religion 2011 Vol 79 2 459 496 [Crossref]
6. Smith Jonathan Z. Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity 1990 Chicago University of Chicago Press
7. Spigner Nicole A. "Compassionate feminism" The Feminist Wire 2011 accessed on July 7, 2012

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