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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

It is probably more often the case than not that scholars of religion command the power of fascination across continents, time zones, memories, collegial relations, friendships, and the imagined gulf between themselves and the religions they study

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Bülent Diken

interested in tracing the surface between cinematic and social theoretical ideas, their ‘compossibility’. These ideas emerge from the themes that Winter Sleep deals with: religion, the relationship between religion and capitalism, symbolic exchange, and

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Paul Christopher Johnson

Diaspora, and with it 'diasporic religion', has exploded as an area of research in the field of Religion, opening important paths of inquiry and analysis. This article traces the itineraries and intersections of Diaspora and Religion over the last two decades, especially vis-à-vis groups that activate multiple diasporic horizons. It then evaluates the risks of the overdispersion of Diaspora. To counter this, the article recommends more narrowly circumscribing Diasporic Religion in relation to 'territory', while at the same time rendering the question of what territoriality means more complex and diverse.

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Religion, Space, and Place

The Spatial Turn in Research on Religion

Kim Knott

Following a consideration of the impact of the late twentieth-century spatial turn on the study of religion by geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and religious studies scholars, two trends are distinguished: the poetics of place and the sacred; and politics, religion, and the contestation of space. Discussion of these reveals substantially different approaches to religion, space, and place—one phenomenological, the other social constructivist. The spatial turn has been extremely fruitful for research on religion, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, and connecting not only to traditional areas such as sacred space and pilgrimage, but to new ones such as embodiment, gender, practice and religious-secular engagements.

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Jean-Paul Willaime

Strongly marked by the weight of the past, the French approach to State-Religion-Society relations has distinct qualities, and especially a strong confrontational and emotional dimension. This essay address the evolution of these relations and their tensions by focusing on three subjects that make manifest the relationship between politics and religion in important ways, namely, schools, sects, and Islam. The arena of the school is especially significant in three respects: the link between public and private schools; the question of what should be taught about religion, and the display of religious expression by students. The essay considers these matters within the context of wider transformations in religion (secularization) and politics (disenchantment and changes in the state's role in society). It concludes by situating recent developments in the context of globalization and especially Europeanization.

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Religion and Environment

Exploring Spiritual Ecology

Leslie E. Sponsel

Many scholars have touched on the relationships between religion and nature since the work of late nineteenth-century anthropologists such as Edward B. Tylor. This is almost inevitable in studying some religions, especially indigenous ones. Nevertheless, only since the 1950s has anthropological research gradually been developing that is intentionally focused on the influence of religion on human ecology and adaptation, part of a recent multidisciplinary field that some call spiritual ecology (Merchant 2005; Sponsel 2001, 2005a, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c; S. Taylor 2006). At last this ecological approach is beginning to receive some attention in textbooks on the anthropology of religion, ecological anthropology, human ecology, and environmental conservation, though it is still uncommon in the anthropological periodicals (Bowie 2006; Marten 2001; Merchant 2005; Russell and Harshbarger 2003; Townsend 2009). This article summarizes a sample of the growing literature and cites other sources to help facilitate the eff orts of those who may find this new subject to be of sufficient interest for further inquiry.

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Wedding Ceremony, Religion, and Tradition

The Shertok Family Debate, 1922

Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman

The complex approach of the Yishuv to religion and tradition was articulated in the matter of marriage rites. On the one hand, wedding ceremonies were seen as an expression of Diaspora social values that the Yishuv wished to renounce, while, on the other hand, such occasions were viewed as having national and collective significance. The decision made by Ada Shertok and Eliyahu Golomb not to have a wedding ceremony in May 1922 aroused a fierce debate within one of the most prominent families of the Yishuv. The family dispute surrounding the issue of the marriage ceremony and the diverse opinions presented in it are the focus of the article. This debate is a starting point for a broader discussion on the question of the complex attitude of the Yishuv to religion and tradition in the early 1920s.

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Bill Maurer

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.

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Fabienne Randaxhe

From a French perspective, the relationship between the state and religion in the United States may seem paradoxical. On the one hand, the American nation was the first one to have established, by constitutional means, a separation between religious bodies and the political realm. On the other hand, religious and political spheres in the US still seem to overlap to some extent. While French approaches tend to regard US laïcité as uncertain and incomplete, this article discusses whether laïcité is in the US incomplete or aware of tensions to be lessened among religious, political and social forces. I focus on legal regulation and consider the notion of accommodation as a particular form of legal laïcité.

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Beyond Economy and Religion

Resources and Socio-cosmic Fields in Odisha, India

Roland Hardenberg

environment, and religious freedom were at stake. This plurality of values and the separation between economy (Vedanta) and exogenous factors (religion, environment) certainly lies at the base of the conflict, which continued for years. The external supporters