Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics
The CSRP was founded in November 2004 by a group of academics attached to the Schools of Divinity, International Relations, Modern Languages, and Philosophical and Anthropological Studies within the University of St Andrews. Mario I. Aguilar, Professor of Religion and Politics, is the current director and CSRP is located within St Mary's College and the School of Divinity.
The study of religion and politics has dominated many of the contemporary research projects within Divinity in which theology as a narrative has been an expression of such creative epistemological paradigm. Thus, religion constitutes a practice while theology a narrative by human communities involved in their daily ritual practices that interact with larger social, economic and political contexts. The study of religion and politics within Divinity presupposes religious practices to be understood through interpretive models and social epistemologies in constant interaction with political models of governance in society.
Aims and Objectives:
To conduct collaborative research on the following areas:
- The relation of the practice of religion and its political context.
- Theologies as religious narratives focusing on the religious communities that created them in a particular social and political context.
- The relation between religious and political histories.
- The relation between theology and history.
- The history of the Christian Churches in context with emphasis on the study of religion and politics in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
- The history of world religion and their involvement within particular social and political contexts.
- Indigenous religious narratives and their influence in contemporary political issues such as indigenous rights, political activism and new religious movements.
To conduct cooperative research with international research groups:
- The LINK Scotland-Colombia researching on indigenous religion and political processes in Colombia. Funded by the Darwin Initiative of the British Government, it incorporates staff of the Universities of St Andrews, Strathclyde, Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) and Universidad Nacional (Colombia). Research funding: £350,000 provided by the Darwin Award of the British Government. Dr Ann Mitchell, Honorary Research Fellow in Divinity, is the leader of this research group.
- Memoria y olvido international research group -- researching on the social history of Latin American and the relation between religion and politics during the period of the military regimes. Dr Mario Aguilar is the leader of the group that incorporates researchers from the UK, France, Mexico, Chile, and the USA.
- Religion and Politics in Tibet 1931-2009
- Surveillance and Religion Network
To secure funding for the following research groups:
- Religion and politics in XX Century Latin America.- A large project researching religion and politics in Latin America during the XX Century particularly the history of the church and the nation/state. This will include seeking to incorporate a research partner in every country in South America and to try to secure PhD scholarships and research fellowships.
- Religion and politics in the World Religions -- a project that aims at researching issues of religion and politics in Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and their implications for the relation of those religious communities within Scottish life.
- Series of seminars at the University of St Andrews and an annual conference exploring a relevant topic.