What the One Thing Shows Me in the Case of Two Things
Tuesday 8 October, 2019at 13:15 - 15:00
The Research Seminar Series in Religious Studies and Theology invites you to an open lecture with Sam Gill, Professor Emeritus in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Gill gives a lecture about "‘What the One Thing Shows Me in the Case of Two Things’: Comparison as Essential to a Proper Academic Study of Religion".
Comparison is a fundamental operation in the milieu of the remarkable abilities of human beings to transcend themselves in acts of perception and the accumulation of knowledge. In the simplest terms, comparison is holding together things that are at once the same and different. The very possibility of the copresence of same and different, of is and is not, is a gift of human biology and evolution. Humans compare because it is our distinctive nature to do so. Academics have the added responsibility of being self-aware, self-reflective, and articulate when comparing. In this lecture I will develop a rich theory of comparison in conjunction with detailed reflections on my study of late nineteenth century encounters of European-Australians and Aborigines in Central Australia. My concern is both to advance our understanding of comparison and also to articulate in the practical terms of method what is involved in comparison, arguing most generally that comparison is of the very fabric of any proper study of religion.