In his luminous reflections on the intellectual trajectory that he has traced so far—beginning with the modern and proceeding through the secular toward the global—José Casanova notes that his evolving interests took him away from anthropology and toward sociology. Yet Casanova’s work has remained influential on, and in conversation with, that of many anthropologists, not least as a result of his desire to transcend a “Western-centric view of history and human development” (this volume) as well as his predictions that Pentecostalism may well become the predominant form of Christianity in the twenty-first century. This second volume of Religion and Society presents Casanova—author of the classic Public Religions in the Modern World (1994)—in dialogue with his own past and shifting present, but also responding to the comments of scholars who are themselves anthropologically informed and yet able to represent perspectives from sociology, theology, and religious studies.
Dialogues and Trajectories
Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró
Research Methods for the Study of Religion
Religion and Gender
Non-religion and Secularity Research Network Web Site Revamped
American Academy of Religion Martin E. Marty Award
The Anthropology of Contemporary Jewry
In recent decades, the ethnography of Jews and Judaism has followed the larger movement in cultural anthropology toward a focus on the margin—the cultural, geographical, and demographic borderlands where questions of group and individual identity are negotiated. The article explores this literature and the questions it raises about the nature of Jewish community and culture. It discusses three areas where marginality has had a particular resonance in Jewish ethnography. Studies of 'marginal Jews' focus on the periphery of traditional Jewish communities, people whose gender, ethnic, and sexual identities lie outside of local normative models. Studies of 'unexpected Jewries' explore a geographical periphery outside the few centers that dominate international Jewish culture and self-understanding. Studies of 'Jews in motion' examine transitional Jews—tourists, immigrants, refugees, and others who bridge the local contexts within which Jewish identities are constructed. These studies reveal Jewish culture to be much more complex, dynamic, and durable than social scientists and Jews themselves have often imagined it.
A Dialogue between Brazilian Social Sciences and the Anthropology of Christianity
Cecília L. Mariz and Roberta B.C. Campos
This article aims to show how the hegemonic interpretation of Pentecos- talism in Brazil has difficulty recognizing changes caused by these churches to 'local' cultures. We argue that this tendency can be explained by a widespread adherence to structuralist theories of society combined with an unwillingness to accept the reimag- ining of a national culture historically built up by Brazilian social science. We suggest that the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has been the Pentecostal church most studied by Brazilian researchers because it provides a powerful means to indicate the strength of 'Brazilian culture'. Through our analysis of more recent studies, we point out the salience of these debates to wider questions relating to the emergent anthropology of Christianity, concluding that since neither discontinuities nor continuities can be denied in the field, the focus on one or the other dimension should be seen as a methodological choice rather than an orientation specifically arising from empirical observation.
Hubert Knoblauch, Grace Davie, Kim Knibbe, Manuel A. Vásquez, and José Casanova
José Casanova’s Public Religions in the Modern World (1994) has transformed the study of religion quite considerably. As I recall, the book was received relatively slowly in its first years. Casanova’s thesis gained momentum with the escalating focus on religion after 9/11 and the ensuing publicity for Huntington’s (1996) thesis of an imminent clash of civilizations. While many only then turned to the study of religion, Casanova had already prepared the ground for a global comparative approach with his path-breaking diagnosis of the state of religion in the different modes of modernity. The growing reception of Casanova’s thesis was accompanied by the increasing interest of political science (and politics in general) in religion. In fact, Casanova has shed new light specifically on the role of religion in politics. Furthermore, his thesis on ‘public religion’ has had profound impacts on the long-lasting debate on secularization in the humanities as well as in the public domain. In this respect, there is no doubt that Casanova has contributed a major, classic work to the social study of religion.
A Critical Assessment
Recent cognitive and evolutionary approaches to the study of religion have been seen by many as a naturalistic alternative to conventional anthropological interpretations. Whereas anthropologists have traditionally accounted for the existence of religion in terms of social and cultural determinants, cognitive scientists have emphasized the innate—that is pre-cultural—constraints placed by natural selection on the formation and acquisition of religious ideas. This article provides a critical assessment of the main theoretical proposals put forward by cognitive scientists and suggests possible interactions, perhaps interdependencies, with more standard anthropological sensibilities, especially between cognitive and evolutionary perspectives that see religion as a by-product of innate psychological dispositions and anthropological approaches that take the 'meaningful' nature of religious symbols as their point of departure.
Around "The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition" by Emma Cohen
Diana Espirito Santo, Arnaud Halloy, Pierre Liénard, and Emma Cohen
“Why spirits?” asks Emma Cohen (97)—why are concepts of intentional and agentive supernatural beings such as spirits and gods so prevalent cross-culturally? What makes them appealing, contagious, and lasting? And what kinds of assumptions about the world and its workings do they entail and do they generate? In The Mind Possessed, Cohen offers us some answers; to some degree by appealing to her ethnography of the Afro-Brazilian practice of batuque in the Amazon-bordering town of Belém, but mostly by subordinating particularistic concerns to what she considers more general ‘scientific’ ones. However, it may be the questions, rather than the answers, that merit revising.
Keith Egan, Mathias Thaler, Anna Fedele, Maarit Forde, Tuomas Martikainen, Kim Knibbe, Maria M. Griera, Katerina Seraidari, José Mapril, Roger Canals, Diana Espirito Santo, Titus Hjelm, Vlad Naumescu, Vânia Zikán Cardoso, Mathieu Fribault, Rebecca Prentice, Ryan Schram, Jacqueline Ryle, Alexandre Surrallés, James S. Bielo, César Ceriani Cernadas, and Maïté Maskens
BENTLEY, Alex (ed.), The Edge of Reason? Science and Religion in Modern Society, 222 pp., foreword. London: Continuum, 2008. Paperback, £13.99. ISBN: 9781847062185.
BERGER, Peter, Grace DAVIE, and Effi e FOKAS, Religious America, Secular Europe? A Theme and Variations, 176 pp., bibliography, index. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Paperback, £16.99. ISBN: 978075466011.
LEVEY, Geoffrey Brahm and Tariq MODOOD (eds.), Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship, 274 pp., tables, bibliographical references, index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 Paperback, $31.99/£17.99. ISBN: 9780521695411.
FAVRET-SAADA, Jeanne, 2009, Désorceler, 169 pp., bibliographical references. Paris: Éditions de L’Olivier. Paperback, €18.50. ISBN: 9782879296395.
GUADELOUPE, Francio, Chanting Down the New Jerusalem: Calypso, Christianity, and Capitalism in the Caribbean, 255 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Hardback, $50.00/£34.95. ISBN: 9780520254886.
HACKETT, Rosalind (ed.), Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars, 480 pp. London: Equinox, 2008. Paperback, £18.99/$29.95. ISBN: 9781845532277.
JACKSON, Michael, The Palm at the End of the Mind: Relatedness, Religiosity and the Real, 256 pp., preface. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Paperback, $22.95. ISBN: 9780822343813.
KIRSCH, Thomas G., and Bertram TURNER (eds.), 2009, Permutations of Order: Religion and Law as Contested Sovereignties, 269 pp., bibliographical references, index. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754672593.
MAHIEU, Stéphanie and Vlad NAUMESCU (eds.), Churches In-Between. Greek Catholic Churches in Postsocialist Europe, 340 pp., bibliographical references, tables, index. Munster: Lit Verlag, 2008. Paperback, € 29.90. ISBN: 9783825899103.
MARRANCI, Gabriele, The Anthropology of Islam, 224 pp., introduction, conclusion, references. Oxford: Berg, 2008, Paperback, £13.38. ISBN: 9781845202859.
MEYER, Birgit (ed.), Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses, 292 pp., illustrations, preface, bibliography, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Hardcover, $90. ISBN: 9780230605558.
PALMIÉ, Stephan (ed.), Africa of the Americas: Beyond the Search for Origins in the Study of Afro-Atlantic Religions, 388 pages, preface. Leiden: Brill, 2008, Volume 33 of Studies of Religion in Africa: Supplements to the Journal of Religion in Africa. Hardback, €88.00/US$ 126.00. ISBN: 9789004164727.
PETERSEN, Jesper Aagaard (ed.), Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, xii + 277 pp., index. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754652861.
PINE, Frances and João PINA-CABRAL (eds.), On the Margins of Religion. ix, 286 p., illus., bibliogrs. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008. Hardback, $90.00/£45.00. ISBN: 9781845454098.
PINXTEN, Rik and Lisa DIKOMITIS (eds.), When God Comes to Town: Religious Traditions in Urban Contexts, 151 pp., figures, index. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009, Volume 4 of Culture and Politics/Politics and Culture Series. Hardcover, $70.00/£45.00. ISBN: 9781845455545.
SARRÓ, Ramon, The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone, xviii + 239 pp., maps, figures, glossary, bibliography, index. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute, 2009. Hardback, £55. ISBN: 9780748635153.
SCHMIDT, Bettina E., Caribbean Diaspora in the USA: Diversity of Caribbean Religions in New York City, 208 pp., figures, bibliography, index. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Hardback, £55.00. ISBN: 9780754663652.
STEWART, Pamela J. and Andrew STRATHERN (eds.), Religious and Ritual Change: Cosmologies and Histories, 371 pp., preface, appendix, index. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2009. Paperback, $50. ISBN: 9781594605765.
TOMLINSON, Matt, In God’s Image: The Metaculture of Fijian Christianity, 263 pp., preface, index, references. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Paperback, $21.95/£14.95. ISBN: 9780520257788.
TREMLETT, Paul-François, Lévi-Strauss on Religion: The Structuring Mind, 132 pp., bibliographical references, index. London: Equinox, 2008. Paperback, £14.99/$24.95. ISBN: 9781845532789.
VILAÇA, Aparecida and Robin M. WRIGHT (eds.), Native Christians: Modes and Effects of Christianity among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, 266 pp., index, illustrations, maps, afterword. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. Hardback, £55. ISBN: 9780754663553.
CANALS, Roger (dir.). 2008. The Many Faces of a Venezuelan Goddess. Paris: CNRS. 55 min., color.
MOTTIER, Damien (dir.). 2007. Prophète(s). France, Les Films de la Jetée. 46 minutes, color.
Credit. From the Latin, credere, to trust or to believe. Crisis, from the Greek κρίσις, crisis, but also decision, judgment. Judgment day. I had imagined this article as a series of epistles, short missives with didactic aphorisms—postcards, really—from the credit crisis. Yet the effort foundered on two shores. First, my abilities are simply not up to the task, for this genre with its ancient history boasts so many predecessors and models that selection for the purposes of mimicry—or embodiment—became impossible. Second, and more important, I began to realize, in the effort, that the genre demands an analytical engagement with its material that this article in many respects stands athwart. How it does so will become apparent in due course. The credit crisis began in 2008 and continues to the time of my writing, in May 2010. In naming the credit crisis and its religion, I acknowledge I afford them a degree of reality they may not possess. I also acknowledge that this article comes with temporal limits, the limits of the time of its writing. My debts are many and cannot be fully acknowledged. Reality, time and debt are very much at issue in credit crisis religion. Worldly constraints narrow my inquiry to Anglophone and primarily United States examples. Christianity is, by necessity and design, over-represented.
A Practical Guide
This article discusses structural, logistical, and administrative issues associated with the use of participant observation assignments in teaching the anthropology of religion. Fieldwork presents extraordinary opportunities for teaching students about the nature of cultural difference, but it also poses pedagogical challenges that require careful planning and supervision. The article reviews problems including the scope and nature of the observation, student preparation and guidance, connecting with fieldsites, presentation formats, issues of ethics and confidentiality, and university administrative considerations.