This article develops the notion of interconnected publics as a means to understand better both the escalation of Hindu political activism in the 1990s in India and its subsequent waning in the new millennium. I argue that the prime visibility of Hindu fundamentalism in the 1990s was a result of the effective—yet tenuous—connection between various spaces for public communication. The emerging 'inter-public' effectively imbricated the private viewing of religious soap operas with public ritual and political debate to produce, for a short historical moment, the image of a vibrant, forceful, and dominant Hindu nation. The aim of this article is to contribute to Indian studies by discussing the essential, yet in the literature mostly neglected, connections between devotional practices, media Hinduism, and political mobilization. At the broader conceptual level, I argue for a theory of inter-publics that interrogates how multiple 'micropublics' link up to create tangible political effects.
Hindu Mobilization beyond the Bourgeois Public Sphere
Timo Kallinen, Michael D. Jackson, Gisela Welz, Hastings Donnan, Jeevan Raj Sharma, and Ronald S. Stade
Crude Domination: An Anthropology of Oil Andrea Behrends, Stephen P. Reyna, and Günter Schlee, eds. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2011. 325 pp. Hardcover ISBN 978-0-85745-255-9.
The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia Danny Hoffman. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. 295 pp. Paper ISBN 978-0-8223-5077-4.
The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Postwar Polity Yael Navaro-Yashin. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. 270 pp. Paper ISBN 978-0-8223-5204-4.
The Risk of War: Everyday Sociality in the Republic of Macedonia Vasiliki P. Neofotistos. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 216 pp. Hardcover ISBN 978-0-8122-4399-4.
Maoists at the Hearth: Everyday Life in Nepal’s Civil War Judith Pettigrew. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. 200 pp. Hardcover ISBN 978-0-8122-4492-2.
A Masters Level Course
Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova
I (Peter) remember sitting in a departmental meeting, doodling, preoccupied with the image of a hospital chapel. I had recently been involved in a research project seeking to document and explain the construction of religious/spiritual space in National Health Service (NHS) acute-care hospitals in the north of England. What was becoming more and more obvious was the growing tension between the distinction that staff and patients were making between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’. Admittedly, this tension was not especially surprising; indeed, it can be understood, in principle, as a reflection of the ambient climate of religiosity in the UK, as in many other Western countries (Flanagan and Jupp 2007; Heelas 2008; Heelas et al. 2004).
Around Birgit Meyer’s "Mediation and the Genesis of Presence: Toward a Material Approach to Religion"
Hans Belting, Pamela Klassen, Birgit Meyer, Christopher Pinney, and Monique Scheer
In the fall of 2011, I was appointed to the Chair of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies and Theology in the Faculty of Humanities. As I soon realized, my appointment occurred amid major transitions regarding the institutionalization of the study of religion at Utrecht University. This is part of a broader trend of renegotiating the space between ‘theology’ and ‘religious studies’. This trend echoes a wider process of ‘unchurching’: as the number of students of theology declines nationwide, religion in new and unexpected guises has become both a hot item and an intriguing socio-cultural and political phenomenon. Over the past year, as part of the process of adapting to my new post, I have grappled with these complicated institutional transformations.
Religious Plurality, Interreligious Pluralism, and Spatialities of Religious Difference
Jeremy F. Walton and Neena Mahadev
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.
Gustavo Benavides, Thomas J. Coleman III, Ralph W. Hood Jr., Richard Sosis, and Ann Taves
As the first invitee to this portrait section trained as a scholar of religion and situated in a department of religious studies, I was interested to see how previous scholars trained in anthropology and sociology positioned themselves in relation to ‘religion’ as an object of study. It seems we all do so gingerly. Although my graduate work was in the history of Christianity with a focus on American religious history, since the early 1990s I have self-consciously positioned my historical research in an interdisciplinary space between psychiatry, anthropology, and religious studies in order to explore the contestations surrounding unusual experiences. During the last decade, I have been identifying myself less as a historian and more as an interdisciplinary scholar attempting to bring both humanistic and cognitive social scientific methods to the study of historical experiences and events. From this vantage point, I would argue, as Maurice Bloch (2010) did in the first volume of this journal, that ‘religion’ is not a natural kind but a complex cultural concept and that a theory of religion per se is impossible.
The Borders of Religion
Ruy Llera Blanes, Simon Coleman, and Sondra L. Hausner
This volume of Religion and Society is marked by borders, boundaries, and limits. The borders here are those that make religion operative and politically powerful, as well as those that are enabled and put into place by religious arguments and worldviews. All these dimensions of borders are included in the special section of this volume, coordinated by Valentina Napolitano and Nurit Stadler, entitled “Borderlands and Religion: Materialities, Histories, and the Spatialization of State Sovereignty.” The section includes articles by Alejandro Lugo, Nurit Stadler and Nimrod Luz, Alberto Hernández and Amalia Campos-Delgado, and Alexander D. M. Henley. They dwell upon two of the most notorious and contentious borders in the world: the one that separates Lebanon and Palestine from Israel, and the one that separates the US from Mexico. Both Israel and the US are known for their fenced and walled frontier politics. From these contributions, we learn how borderlands and their religious framing become spaces of political negotiation by affirmation and/or by exclusion: they determine sovereignty, ontology, history.
“I didn’t know that we were the repugnant other,” my student Tracy exclaimed as she entered the classroom and tossed her books on the table. “I didn’t know that anthropologists were interested in studying us at all!” “Yes, I imagine it comes as a surprise,” I responded as I finished moving the classroom desks into a semi-circle that was intended to facilitate the creation of spaces marked by open dialogue and diversity—core pedagogical concerns of the institution at which I was teaching. It was the second day of class, and Tracy’s comments were in response to Joel Robbins’s (2003) article “What Is a Christian? Notes toward an Anthropology of Christianity.” His discussion of Susan Harding’s infamous ‘repugnant cultural other’, which Robbins describes as an “anomalous mixture of the similar and the different” (ibid.: 193), had hit a nerve. Tracy’s question about anthropological interests in the Christian subject was an expected one, given that I was leading a special topics seminar on the Anthropology of Christianity to master of divinity students at the Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary affiliated with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
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. IS BN 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-ofbells-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.
The Being and Becoming of Burundian Refugees in the Camp and the City
in time—strung out between a long lost past and an unknown future—it is also a space of opportunities and new beginnings ( Jansen 2008 ; Turner 2004a ). In other words, disruption and displacement can produce a powerful position. As mentioned in the