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Alexis Chabot

Translator : Ârash Aminian Tabrizi

It is of great, inestimable consequence that Sartre inscribes the question of atheism at the end of his childhood account ( récit d’enfance 1 ) where he writes these famous words: ‘L’athéisme est une entreprise cruelle et de longue haleine : je

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Flemish Comics versus Communist Atheism

Renaat Demoen’s Au pays de la grande angoisse (1950–1951)

Philippe Delisle

atheism. Near the beginning of the album, a young boy tells Annie that once they cross the border, it would be unwise to let anyone see that she is wearing a cross around her neck. 57 A little further on, a memorable page condemns a violent anti

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John H. Gillespie

Atheists have brought renewed vigour to this centuries-old debate. Similarly, in recent years, more attention has begun to be paid to the role of God in Sartre’s thought. However, much work remains to be done. In studying atheism in Sartre’s writings 1 it

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Matthew Engelke

We all have our conceptual bugbears, terms which, as anthropologists, cause us trouble. Over the past couple of years, an increasing number of anthropologists working in the anthropology of religion have had to face some newly prominent ones: atheism, godlessness, and (worst of all) non-religion.

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Resistance Through Nonperformance

Atheism and Nonreligion in Turkey

Pierre Hecker

This article explores the concept of resistance and hegemony in relation to atheism and nonreligion in Turkey. It highlights how the dominant discourse in Turkey commonly denies the existence of atheism and nonreligion while promoting the country’s Sunni Muslim identity as synonymous with being Turkish. Still, the article argues that a significant number of people in Turkey have left Islam in recent years. Leaving Islam can be risky and met with discrimination, hate speech, and even physical violence. The study highlights the difficult situation faced by nonbelievers who must navigate between personal convictions and societal expectations. It contends that being atheist and choosing not to conform to dominant religious norms represents a form of discursive resistance against the Sunni Islamic hegemony in Turkey. The article concludes by asserting that the nonperformance of religious rituals can be seen as a form of resistance and a challenge to the ruling elite’s claim to power.

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Godless People, Doubt, and Atheism

Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

In the introduction to this special issue, we set the agenda for researching the aspirations and practices of godless people who seek to thin out religion in their daily lives. We reflect on why processes of disengagement from religion have not been adequately researched in anthropology. Locating this issue's articles in the anthropological literature on doubt and atheism, we argue for the importance of a comparative investigation to analyze people's reluctance to pursue religion.

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Godless People and Dead Bodies

Materiality and the Morality of Atheist Materialism

Jacob Copeman and Johannes Quack

Atheists are not the only people who donate their bodies, yet the practice is strikingly prevalent in a variety of atheist circles. We concentrate here on the Indian case, exploring body donation as a key instance of the material culture of atheism. Recent efforts to reinvigorate study of the material culture of religion are to be welcomed, but they should be extended to non-religion in order to address the irony that sees scholars representing materialism as an abstract doctrine and, hence, as immaterial. Body donation holds value for Indian atheists as a bridge between 'positive' and 'negative' modes of atheist thought and action. It also provides a ready-made solution for atheist activists keen to circumvent the cadaver-centered death rituals they find so redundant.

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Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe

In this article we chart the histories and political translations of atheist cultures in Angola. We explore the specific translations of atheist ideologies into practical actions that occurred in the post-independence period in the 1970s–1980s and perform an ethnographic exploration of their legacies in contemporary Angola. We also debate the problem of atheism as an anthropological concept, examining the interfaces between ideology, political agency, and social praxis. We suggest that atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.

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An Anthropology of Nonreligion?

Mascha Schulz and Stefan Binder

This introduction engages with recent scholarship on what has been dubbed ‘lived’ forms of nonreligion. It aims to profile the anthropology of the secular and nonreligion, no longer treating it as a subdiscipline or ‘emerging trend’ but as a substantial contribution to general debates in anthropology. Drawing on the ethnographic contributions to this special issue, we explore how novel approaches to embodiment, materiality, moral sensibilities, conceptual distinctions, and everyday practices signal new pathways for an anthropology of nonreligion that can lead beyond hitherto dominant concerns with the political governance of religion(s). Critically engaging with the notion of ‘lived’ nonreligion, we highlight the potential of ethnographic approaches to provide a uniquely anthropological perspective on secularism, irreligion, atheism, skepticism, and related phenomena.

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Ronald E. Santoni

Before addressing Ronald Aronson’s Living Without God, I wish, first, to make a brief remark or two about the perspective from which I come, and secondly, to offer a few summary comments about “Sartre and Atheism,” a theme that underlies much of Aron- son’s analysis and represents a kind of subtitle for this panel-discus- sion and exchange.