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Dr. Segovia Philosophizes on Religion Without and Beyond Belief

Carlos Segovia, Ph.D. (Humanities) is teaching by invitation in the Department for the Study of Religion at Denmark's School of Culture and Society of Aarhus University on religion and cross-cultural violence in this semester.

In addition, he is setting up a multidisciplinary collective research project on the study of religion beyond and without belief, which aims at bringing together approaches from the history of ideas, cognitive science, social theory and the ecological humanities, as well as reputed specialists from all over the world.

This ambitious research project, which Segovia will help to coordinate from SLU-Madrid in the upcoming years, divides into three major thematic/disciplinary axes.

One axis consists of exploring the genealogy of the notion of belief from antiquity to modern times and the implications that its suggested revision entails for the reconfiguration of the field of religious studies. Another axis consists of assessing the suitability of such notion for the study of representations commonly labeled “religious” but which should be labeled as “beliefs,” and will traverse two distinct regions: extra-modern ontologies and contemporary social identities. The third axis will revolve around matters relevant to the cognitive study of religion at the crossroads of evolutionary psychology and sociology.

The multidisciplinary nature of this project attempts to reflect the re-constellation of knowledge underway today in all academic fields, and to contribute in an original way to it.

In turn, Segovia’s own work within the overall project focuses on extra-modern animistic and totemic ontologies.

According to Segovia, these strengthen the complex networks of interspecies communication, exchange, and cooperation which stress alliance as the key to all life processes and prove decisive for understanding representations traditionally cataloged as myths and beliefs but that cannot be captured in the analytical standards current in religious studies. This will be paramount to understanding the new politics of the earth in our present condition.