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Encountering the Supernatural

A Phenomenological Account of Mind

Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Marie Luhrmann

In this article we compare the encounter with the supernatural—experiences in which a person senses the immaterial—in Thailand and in the United States. These experiences appear to be shaped by different conceptions of the mind. In the US, there is a sharp, natural division between one's mind and the world; in Thailand, individuals have the moral responsibility to control their minds. These differences appear to explain how people identify and sense the supernatural. In the US, it is an external, responsive agent; in Thailand, it is an energy that escapes from an uncontrolled mind. Here we approach phenomenology—the experience of experience—comparatively, identifying patterns in social expectations that affect the ways in which humans think, feel, and sense. We take an experiential category of life that we know to be universal and use it to analyze cultural concepts that influence the enactment and interpretation of feeling and sensing.

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The Ethics of Collective Sponsorship

Virtuous Action and Obligation in Contemporary Tibet

Jane Caple

and communities. Anthropological studies exploring the moral dimensions of human life have tended to focus on conceptions and experiences of individual moral responsibility, personhood, and self-cultivation. 16 The focus in this article on particular

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Philippine Prison Marriages

The Politics of Kinship and Women's Composite Agency

Sif Lehman Jensen

nation as they take on a moral responsibility to care for the men and in this way strengthen the relational ties between kin, on which the Muslim nation is founded. In this light, the women's nationalist sentiments, as illustrated in Sara and Amira

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Introduction

Legacies, Trajectories, and Comparison in the Anthropology of Buddhism

Nicolas Sihlé and Patrice Ladwig

, David Gellner depicted the early generations of anthropological works on Buddhism as originating in perplexity. Academic observers, expecting to find a rationalistic, atheistic religion of salvation, world rejection, and individual moral responsibility

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Portrait

Talal Asad

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

scholars had noted Asad's questions about how ascribing agency involves imputing or disowning (legal/moral) responsibility, they might have thought carefully about subjectivity and power without trying to identify individual agency across history. One of