Religions Texas is a digital public humanities initiative that explores Texas as a site of religious encounter and a meeting place for people and communities from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. It catalyzes the power of stories to transform-- to amplify underrepresented voices, empower Texans to tell their stories on their own terms and in more nuanced ways, and diversify the historical record.
Our project is rooted in the following approaches and principles:
Through a ‘lived religions’ approach, we seek to understand religion through the nuances and complexities of everyday lives. From this perspective, no religion is a monolith or has a singular essence. All religions are complex, diverse, evolving, malleable, and full of both contradictions and contention. Religions are neither inherently good nor bad. They reflect complex human interests. They can be used to maintain or challenge a prevailing social order.
As we explore the religious identities, communities, encounters, and differences through the stories of Texans, we don’t ask narrators to represent or speak for a religion. Rather, we understand that narrators speak from their own perspectives and contexts, which may include religious identities along with other social identities.
Oral history involves gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people and communities. It preserves stories and perspectives for the historical record that may otherwise be unknown or lost. In this way, it can amplify unheard or marginalized voices, diversify the historical record, and build more capacious collective narratives.
As a community-based oral history initiative, we’re committed to honoring individual agency and the right to individual and collective self-determination. We want to create a space in which individuals can tell their stories on their own terms. We aim to harness the power of stories to transform.
Ethical practices of informed consent
We adhere to ethical practices of informed consent, rooted in respect for the narrators of the oral histories and their communities and sensitivity to issues related to power dynamics, trauma, and vulnerability. We’re committed to transparency and ongoing consent. To this end, narrators always have the option to choose not to respond to questions, stop an interview, redact portions of an interview afterwards, or request that their interview be excluded from the public archive.