Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 14 items for

  • Author: Sondra L. Hausner x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
  • Refine by Content Type: All x
Clear All Modify Search
Open access

The comparative anthropology of religion, or the anthropology of religion compared

A critical comment

Sondra L. Hausner

In this commentary, I argue that we need to expose the multiple layers of historical thinking about the production of the category of religion that play into both our scholarly thinking and the way religion is lived, understood and fought for in the lives of our informants. We can no more take the contours (or limits) of any particular religion for granted, or as self‐evident, than we can take the category of religion, named as such, as a natural human phenomenon that is somehow free from the domain of culture.

Free access

Society, Morality, Embodiment

Tracing Durkheim's Legacy

Sondra L. Hausner

Abstract

This issue of Durkheimian Studies presents the collective efforts of the participants of a workshop held in late 2017, the centenary anniversary of Émile Durkheim's death, at the University of Oxford. The articles that emerged from it, published together in this special issue for the first time along with some new material, demonstrate a continuation of classic Durkheimian themes, but with contemporary approaches. First, they consider the role of action in the production of society. Second, they rely on authors’ own ethnographies: the contributors here engage with Durkheimian questions from the data of their own fieldsites. Third, effervescence, one of Durkheim's most innovative contributions to sociology, is considered in depth, and in context: how do societies sustain themselves over time? Finally, what intellectual histories did Durkheim himself draw upon – and how can we better understand his conceptual contributions in light of these influences?

Restricted access

From India to Australia and Back Again

An Alternative Genealogy of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

Sondra L. Hausner

Abstract

This article argues that, although we think of Australian tribal ritual as Durkheim's source material for his masterwork The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, we must also consider the extensive Indological scholarship on which he draws – and with which he debates – as critical inspirations for the text. His extensive engagement with his nephew, Marcel Mauss, whose earlier work, Sacrifice, with Henri Hubert, was premised on an analysis of Vedic ritual, would have been one source for his study of religion writ large; Elementary Forms also takes up in detail the work of Max Müller, among other Indologists, whose work was well known and widely engaged with in the French and broader European intellectual context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article argues that the Indological comparative lens was key to Durkheim's own approach as he worked to articulate the relationship between religion and society; in contrast to the philologists, he argued for the primacy of practice over language in ritual action.

Open access

Introduction

The Personal and the Political

Simon Coleman and Sondra L. Hausner

The central task of our journal is to present outstanding work on religion. Through our focus on individual scholars in the Portrait section, we are also able to consider how such work is produced, and our hope is to reveal the intellectual, institutional, political, and personal factors behind research that has helped us to revive and reconstruct our field. The subject of this year's Portrait, Talal Asad, has famously addressed questions about the category of religion in unusually productive and provocative ways. Published here for the first time, Asad's autobiographical observations take the reader through some of the key relationships and events of his life, from a remarkable childhood during which he witnessed the violence of Partition first-hand, to what happened in 1950 when he arrived in London from Pakistan and began to discern the problems behind “the local version of modern civilization into which [he] was being unevenly assimilated,” to the process of becoming an anthropologist and an ethnographer.

Open access

Introduction

On Concepts, Conversations, and (In)Commensurabilities in Studying Religion

Simon Coleman and Sondra L. Hausner

Religion and Society has always been a journal designed to reflect but also to question the grounds on which the anthropology of religion is based. We have promoted a flexible format over the last 13 years, encouraging different styles of writing and modes of academic address. In this sense, the journal is dedicated to both exploring the possibilities and exposing the current limitations of anthropological research. All of these aims, including their remit to query what we study and how we do so, are fully evident in this volume, which contains, even by our own standards, an unusually wide range of approaches, formats, and challenges to our field.

Open access

Introduction

Place, Horizon, and Imaginary

Sondra L. Hausner and Simon Coleman

Perhaps it is no coincidence that as we approach two years of a COVID-adjusted world, this volume of Religion and Society turns its sights to horizons, imaginaries, and lenses of legibility. What does this new world look like, and from what vantage point might we best approach it? And how might these new ways of seeing imply new ways of acting in community, in concert, over time, and across space—or how might we see our old ways of acting anew?

Free access

Introduction

The Anthropology of Religion (and Non-Religion) in Context, Theory, and Method

Sondra L. Hausner and Simon Coleman

One of the most exhilarating aspects of the anthropology of religion is that our field spans so many contexts – by definition – in such a way that we can never take either theory or method for granted. Our discipline consistently asks us to consider epistemological questions about the acquisition and the presentation of argument and knowledge: both the ways we go about deriving our material and the lenses through which we interpret it must always be assessed. Our ethnographies are our method, and our contexts, all in one. This year's issue takes up all these themes – our theoretical approaches; our fieldwork; and the data or the stories that we collect, translate, analyse, and present – with sophistication and depth, in ways that we hope can push our discipline farther.

Open access

Portrait

Diana L. Eck

Diana L. Eck, John Stratton Hawley, Rahul Mehrotra, and Sondra L. Hausner

The study of religion is a challenge. It means trying to understand the energies and visions that have created, undergirded, and sometimes disrupted the great civilizations and cultures of the world. It means studying the history and diversity of the ways people have shaped worlds of meaning in response to or relation to what they may call the ‘transcendent’, or in response to science and technology, or in response to other traditions of meaning. It means studying the many ways people have given an account of the transcendent and the ways some traditions have gotten along quite well without an understanding of the transcendent. It means studying the symbolic, interpretive, scriptural forms over which traditions of faith and practice have argued through the centuries and continue to argue today. It means studying the construction of words like ‘religion’, ‘faith’, ‘tradition’, ‘theology’, and ‘spirituality’.

Free access

Introduction

Religions, Histories, and Comparisons

Simon Coleman, Ruy Llera Blanes, and Sondra L. Hausner

Free access

Introduction

A Decade of Religion and Society

Sondra L. Hausner, Ruy Llera Blanes, and Simon Coleman

This volume of Religion and Society is a special one. First, with this edition we celebrate our 10th anniversary. While our personnel have changed to some degree, our remit has remained largely the same. We present theoretically and methodologically challenging studies of religion through a variety of formats that place religion at the center of analysis and enable those who study religious phenomena to engage in debate and dialogue with each other. In recent years, our approach has also cemented ties with the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, a subsection of the American Anthropological Association. Over the entirety of the last decade, we have continued to publish exceptional interdisciplinary scholarship in social and cultural analyses of religion.