Last night, I touched down in Helsinki where I shall be spending a week on an Erasmus+ teaching exchange between the Study of Religions department at the University of Helsinki, and the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, facilitated by my friend and colleague Teemu Taira.
The work plan is as follows:
- Monday: Deliver a presentation on the Religious Studies Project (RSP) to students taking ‘Contemporary Conversations in the Study of Religions’. Then provide a practical working example of recording a podcast, incorporating student input, to produce a roundtable episode discussing recent news stories of relevance to the critical academic study of religion.
- Tuesday: Present a working paper to the PhD research seminar on the empirical study of ‘non-religion’ in Edinburgh.
- Wednesday: Visit MA seminar to discuss why, where and if society needs the academic study of religion. Record to podcasts for the RSP – on a) mindfulness, and b) early Islamic social formations.
- Friday: Deliver a presentation on the public rhetoric of good/bad non-/religion, with a focus on media, to students taking ‘Religion in Public Life’. Supervision meetings with PhD students. Participate in group discussion on building an academic career.
All of that, plus some proof-reading assistance, departmental meetings, and knowledge exchange relating to my current projects and projects in the departments. And definitely checking out a few Finnish saunas!
I’ll try and post a report once things are done. And I will try and keep Twitter posted on my activities – so do feel free to follow.
Thanks to Teemu, both departments, and – most importantly – the European Union, for making this happen. Such collaboration would not be possible without the financial support from the Erasmus initiative, and I do hope that scholars based in the UK (and those institutions that they visit) continue to benefit from such opportunities after the farce that is Brexit. It is, perhaps, significant that I traveled here on my newly claimed Irish passport. But that’s another story for another time…