NYU Press is circulating a new call for book proposals for their North American Religions Series. In the middle of the call is this sentence, which I’m not sure what to make of:
We are interested in working with scholars who start from the premise that religion itself matters even as they pay attention to the cultural, social, and political contexts of religious beliefs and practices.
I would have assumed that religion matters because of the cultural, social, and political stuff. But apparently they are implying that the books they’ll choose must regard religion as mattering on other ways? But what other ways? I could read that in a variety of different ways—but most of them would seem to be dubious. That is, do they want their authors to be committed to a sort of Eliadian anti-reductionist view that there is some supernatural “sacred” core to “religion”? What’s going on here?