News

Dr Sara RahmaniUnderstanding Unbelief

Dr Sara Rahmani, has been awarded a £59,535 research grant by the University of Kent's Understanding Unbelief project to undertake postdoctoral research at Coventry University, UK.

Her proposed research will carry out a cross-cultural investigation of the nature of unbelief among practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation to identify whether it functions as an equivalent of religion for unbelievers.

Sara's postdoctoral research builds on her recently completed PhD thesis, "Drifting Through Samsara: Tacit conversion and disengagement in Goenka’s Vipassana movement in New Zealand," which is included on the Division of Humanities' list of exceptional theses.

Goenka's Vipassana movement is famous for its consistent refusal to identify its practice as religious, even though the teachings and practices are unequivocally derived from Buddhism. Sara’s PhD explores how increased socialisation into this movement and adoption of its language paradoxically creates non-religious identities. Her ethnographic research further examined the influence of biographical, institutional, and sociocultural structures that support the Vipassana practitioners’ non-religious positions.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on UnsplashSummer School Papers

We will again be offering a paper in the pre-Christmas Summer School this year, RELS 220/320 Representing Islam.

The paper focuses on the ways in which Islam has been represented in the West, locating them within a longer historical tradition with the goal of understanding the implications of these discourses for contemporary relationships between Muslims and others. If you're keen to learn more about the issue, or to get ahead with your degree by taking an additional paper in early summer of 2017 do check out the links below. The paper will be taught by Keziah Wallis both on campus, and by distance, and is offered at 200- and 300-level. To add the paper to your programme, ask for a change of course form from the University Information Centre.

2017 Pre Christmas Summer School
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200
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Distance
Representing Islam

Last year's Pre-Christmas Summer School paper (RELS 230/330 ST: Modern Judaism) will be offered in the 2018 Summer School.

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News archive

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University of Otago Religious Studies Programme