What's the Problem with Religion?


  • Kathleen McPhillips Univesity of Western Sydney




Religious Studies, Politics, History


The study of religion at tertiary and secondary levels of education in Australia has undergone significant challenge and change in the last 15 years. There has been some analysis of this phenomenon during this time, but also, lament and disappointment at the loss of religious studies as an academic discipline. In particular, the growth of religious studies as an examinable secondary subject has not articulated to increased numbers in religious studies at tertiary level. This paper explores this situation and argues that the study of religion has become a problem for discipline-based discourse, and is located in fragmentary discussions across multiple discourses. As well, in a post-Sept 11th society, the study of religion has become highly politicized. The consequences are numerous, including funding issues for researchers and the derailment of religious studies forums at a time when analysis is needed more than ever.


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McPhillips, Kathleen 2004 The Feminist Theology Project: Final Report, prepared for the Australian Feminist Theology Foundation, Australian Feminist Theology Foundation, Lambton, NSW.

Possamai, Adam 2004 Intellectuals of the Other in Religion: Fear and Fascination. Australian Religion Studies Review 17(2): 10-19.



How to Cite

McPhillips, K. (2010). What’s the Problem with Religion?. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 22(3), 271–280. https://doi.org/10.1558/arsr.v22i3.271



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