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Open access

Politicizing Elsewhere(s)

Negotiating Representations of Neo-Pentecostal Aesthetic Practice in Berlin

Dominik Mattes

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research in a Nigerian-based Pentecostal church in Berlin, this article explores the discussions that emerged when my scholarly representations of the congregants’ aesthetic engagements with the Elsewhere diverged from the church leadership's expectations. More specifically, it interrogates my representational practice in relation to the stakes of the diasporic congregation, which is operating at the political margin of Berlin's widely diverse religious landscape. In exploring the collision of my analytical focus on the affect-charged elements of the believers’ routines of connecting to the Elsewhere with the church's emphasis on affective discipline and moderation, the article demonstrates how aesthetic practices that engage with the Elsewhere not only have a religious but inevitably also a political bearing.

Open access

Portrait

Talal Asad

Talal Asad, Jonathan Boyarin, Nadia Fadil, Hussein Ali Agrama, Donovan O. Schaefer, and Ananda Abeysekara

Autobiographical Reflections on Anthropology and Religion, Talal Asad

For Talal, Jonathan Boyarin

On Anthropology as Translation, Nadia Fadil

Friendship and Time in the Work of Talal Asad, Hussein Ali Agrama

Talal Asad’s Challenge to Religious Studies, Donovan O. Schaefer

Finding Talal Asad in and beyond Buddhist Studies: Agency and Race in Modern Pasts, Ananda Abeysekara

Open access

Albert I. Baumgarten

Abstract

Purity and Danger, published in 1966, remains Dame Mary Douglas's most famous book and “The Abominations of Leviticus” its most widely read chapter. In 2005, only two years before her death and in preparation for the Hebrew translation of Purity and Danger, which appeared in 2010, Douglas wrote a preface for that publication. With the likely interests of the Hebrew reader in mind, the preface expresses Douglas's final reflections on the history of her engagement with “The Abominations of Leviticus.” It includes a restatement of her conclusions in light of Valerio Valeri's work, in which she found the preferred approach to the questions she had asked over the years. This article presents Douglas's preface after setting it in the context of her contributions.

Open access

Marla Frederick, Yunus Doğan Telliel, and Heather Mellquist Lehto

COVID-19, Religious Markets, and the Black Church, Marla Frederick

Can You See the Big Picture? COVID-19 and Telescoping Truth, Yunus Doğan Telliel

Learning from Religious Diasporas in Pandemic Times, Heather Mellquist Lehto

Open access

Weapons for Witnessing

American Street Preaching and the Rhythms of War

Kyle Byron

Abstract

Drawing on observations of the performances of street preachers in the United States—as well as the texts that inform them—this article explores the concept of rhythm within and beyond the anthropology of religion. More specifically, it develops an expansive concept of rhythm as multiple and interactive, focusing not on a singular rhythm, but on the rhythmic translations that shape the practice of street preaching. First, I argue that the material rhythms of urban infrastructure constrain the narrative rhythms of the street preacher's sermon, producing a distinct homiletics. I then suggest that the ideological rhythms of war animate the narrative rhythms of the street preacher's sermon, linking military strategies with tactics of evangelism. Examining the material, narrative, and ideological rhythms of streets, sermons, and military doctrine, this article advances an analytic framework whereby the intersecting rhythmic tensions that shape performance can be registered.

Restricted access

Adjudicating Religious Intolerance

Afro-Brazilian Religions, Public Space, and the National Collective in Twenty-First-Century Brazil

Elina I. Hartikainen

Abstract

Allegations of religious intolerance push courts to deliberate on questions that are constitutive of the problem space of secularism. In addition to legal opinions on the character and scope of religious freedom vis-à-vis conflicting rights, these arbitrations result in authoritative statements on what constitutes religion, how it may inhabit public space, and, ultimately, what interests and values underpin the national collective. This article analyzes three high-profile court cases alleging religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions that were tried in Brazil during the first two decades of the 2000s. It demonstrates how at this time of rapid religious transformation the adjudication of such cases acted as a key site for the Brazilian legal establishment to redefine the place of religion in the broader context of rights and laws that regulate religion in public spaces.

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Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga

BIELO, James, Materializing the Bible. Digital project. http://www.materializingthebible.com.

CASSELBERRY, Judith, The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism, 240 pp., notes, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. Paperback, $25.95. ISBN 9780822369035.

CLARK, Emily Suzanne, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, 280 pp., notes, index. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Hardback, $34.95. ISBN 9781469628783.

COWAN, Douglas E., America´s Dark Theologian: The Religious Imagination of Stephen King, 272 pp., notes, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Hardback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479894734.

DARIEVA, Tsypylma, Florian MüHLFRIED, and Kevin TUITE, eds., Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces: Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus, 246 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018. Hardback, $90.00. ISBN 9781785337826.

DASWANI, Girish, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost, 280 pages, figures, notes, index. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Paperback, $30.95. ISBN 9781442626584.

GIRALDO HERRERA, César E., Microbes and Other Shamanic Beings, 274 pp., index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Paperback, $99.99. ISBN 9783030100414.

KAELL, Hillary, ed., Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec, 356 pp., figures, notes, index. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9780773550940.

KRIPAL, Jeffrey J., Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions, 448 pp., appendix, notes, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780226679082.

CABOT, Zayin, Ecologies of Participation: Agents, Shamans, Mystics and Diviners, 352 pp., preface, index. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9781498568159.

LAUTERBACH, Karen, Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana, 221 pp., appendix, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Paperback, $119.99. ISBN 9783319815299.

LIBERATORE, Giulia, Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain, 304 pp., figures, index. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. Paperback, $32.50. ISBN 9781350094628.

MANSUR, Marcia, and Marina THOMé, dirs., The Sound of Bells (O Som dos Sinos), documentary film, Portuguese, 70 min. Estúdio Crua, 2016. $320.00. https://store.der.org/the-sound-of-bells-p1012.aspx.

OOSTERBAAN, Martijn, Transmitting the Spirit: Religious Conversion, Media, and Urban Violence, 264 pp., notes, bibliography, index. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017. Paperback, $39.95. ISBN 9780271078441.

SRINIVAS, Tulasi, The Cow in the Elevator: An Anthropology of Wonder, 296 pp., notes, references, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. Paperback, $26.95. ISBN 9780822370796.

TANEJA, Anand Vivek, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781503603936.

WILCOX, Melissa M., Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody, 336 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479820368.

Restricted access

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

There are some things we seem to need to learn over and over and over. Among them are the ways in which modern legal efforts to expel the sacred—or, perhaps more pointedly, as Neena Mahadev shows in her article, interventions to end it—condemn us to its constant reproduction. State secularism results not in the evacuation of the sacred but in an almost neurotic picking at the scab of the wound—and the continuous management of what Hussein Agrama (2012: 186) has called the “problem-space of secularism.”

The four articles collected here are exemplary in their fine-grained analysis of this reality, both of the often pathetic inadequacy of regulatory efforts and, even more interestingly, of the glimpses we have of religious life lived in the in-between spaces of formal policing efforts, whether of church or state. The spatial gesture uniting this collection—siting pluralism—proves particularly potent. Sometimes imagined as uncompromisingly singular (i.e., spatial ‘locative’ religion as opposed to utopian portable religion) and at other times as spatial in a plural, less exclusive sense, the spaces/places of these articles are teeming with contradiction and multiplicity.

Open access

Valentina Napolitano

Abstract

This article explores the tension between Pope Francis as a ‘trickster’ and as a much-needed reformer of the Catholic Church at large. He is an exemplar of the longue durée of an embodied ‘Atlantic Return’ from the Americas to the ‘heart’ of Catholicism (Rome and the Vatican), with its ambivalent, racialized history. Through the mobilization of material religion, sensuous mediations, and the case of the Lampedusa crosses in particular, I engage with an anthropological analysis of Francis as a Criollo and the first-ever Jesuit pope. Examining Francis's papacy overlapping racial and ethico-political dimensions, I identify coordinates around which the rhetorical, affective, and charismatic force of Francis as a Criollo has been actualized—between, most crucially, proximity and distance, as well as pastoral versus theological impulses. This article advances an understanding of Francis that emerges from a study of the conjuncture of affective fields, political theology, racialized aesthetics, and mediatic interface.

Free access

Introduction

Religious Plurality, Interreligious Pluralism, and Spatialities of Religious Difference

Jeremy F. Walton and Neena Mahadev

Abstract

The introduction to this special section foregrounds the key distinction between ‘religious plurality’ and ‘interreligious pluralism’. Building from the example of a recent controversy over an exhibition on shared religious sites in Thessaloniki, Greece, we analyze the ways in which advocates and adversaries of pluralism alternately place minority religions at the center or attempt to relegate them to the margins of visual, spatial, and political fields. To establish the conceptual scaffolding that supports this special section, we engage the complex relations that govern the operations of state and civil society, sacrality and secularity, as well as spectacular acts of disavowal that simultaneously coincide with everyday multiplicities in the shared use of space. We conclude with brief summaries of the four articles that site religious plurality and interreligious pluralism in the diverse contexts of Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the Balkans.