A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-10-28
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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Supplemental Materials

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays that explore the variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world and asks how to think about religion as a subject of anthropological inquiry.

  • Presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays exploring the wide variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world
  • Explores a broad range of topics including the ‘perspectivism’ debate, the rise of religious nationalism, reflections on religion and new media, religion and politics, and ideas of self and gender in relation to religious belief
  • Includes examples drawn from different religious traditions and from several regions of the world
  • Features newly-commissioned articles reflecting the most up-to-date research and critical thinking in the field, written by an international team of leading scholars
  • Adds immeasurably to our understanding of the complex relationships between religion, culture, society, and the individual in today’s world

Author Biography

Janice Boddy is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her books include Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan (1989); Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl (1994); and Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan (2007).

Michael Lambek is Professor of Anthropology and Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His books include Human Spirits (1981, 2009); Knowledge and Practice in Mayotte: Local Discourses of Islam, Sorcery, and Spirit Possession (1993); The Weight of the Past (2002); and Ordinary Ethics (2010). He is also the editor of A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek


What Is ‘Religion’ for Anthropology?
Michael Lambek

I. Worlds and Intersections

1. Presence, Attachment, Origin: Ontologies of ‘Incarnates’
Philippe Descola

2. The Dynamic Reproduction of Hunter-Gatherers’ Ontologies and Values
Sylvie Poirier

3. Cohabiting an Interreligious Milieu: Reflections on Religious Diversity
Veena Das

4. Religious and Legal Particularism and Universality
Winnifred Sullivan

II. Epistemologies

5. Are Ancestors Dead?
Rita Astuti and Maurice Bloch

6. Coping with Religious Diversity: Incommensurability and other Perspectives
Eva Spies

7. Varieties of Semiotic Ideology in the Interpretation of Religion
Michael Lambek

8. Religion and the Truth of Being
Paul Stoller

III. Time and Ethics

9. Ethics
James Laidlaw

10. The Social and Political Theory of the Soul
Heonik Kwon

11. Ghosts and Ancestors in the Modern West
Fenella Cannell

12. The Work of Memory: Ritual Laments of the Dead, and Korea’s Cheju Massacre
Seong-nae Kim

13. The Globalization of Pentecostalism and the Limits of Globalization
Girish Daswani

IV. Practices and Mediations

14. Food, Life, and Material Religion in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity
Tom Boylston

15. Trading with God: Islam, Calculation, Abundance
Amira Mittermaier

16. Ritual Remains: Studying Contemporary Pilgrimage
Simon Coleman

17. Mediation and Immediacy: Sensational Forms, Semiotic Ideologies and the
Question of the Medium
Birgit Meyer

18. TBC
Bruce Kapferer

V. Languages and Conversions

19. Translating God’s Words
Wendy James

20. Christianity as a Polemical Concept
Pamela Klassen

21. Reconfiguring Humanity in Amazonia: Christianity and Change
Aparecida Vilaça

22. Language in Christian Conversion
Bill Hanks

VI. Persons and Histories

23. Canonizing Soviet pasts in Contemporary Russia: The Case of Saint Matrona of Moscow
Jeanne Kormina

24. Reflections on Death, Religion, Identity and the Anthropology of Religion
Ellen Badone

25. Spirits and Selves Revisited
Janice Boddy

VII. Powers

26. The Political Landscape of Early State Religions
Edward Swenson

27. A Syariah Judiciary as a Global Assemblage: Islamization and Beyond in a Southeast Asian Context
Michael Peletz

28. The Catholicization of Neoliberalism
Andrea Muehlebach

29. The Sacred in the City: Modernity, Religion and the Urban Form in Central Africa
Filip de Boeck

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