Material things and phenomena have come to vie with belief and thought as worthy subjects of inquiry in the interdisciplinary study of religion. Yet, to the extent that we are justified in speaking of a “material turn”, no consensus has arisen about what materiality is or does. This article offers a preliminary sketch of the diverse terrain of material religion studies, delineating three dominant approaches to religious materiality as well as an emerging alternative. It argues that the dominant approaches—respectively characterized by an emphasis on symbolism, material disciplines, and phenomenological experience—continue to privilege the human subject while material things themselves struggle to come into sharp focus. That is, they remain anthropocentric and beholden to the biases against materiality deeply entrenched in the study of religion. Such biases may be negotiated more successfully via the emerging alternative “new materialism”.
Elsewhere Affects and the Politics of Engagement across Religious Life-Worlds
Omar Kasmani, Nasima Selim, Hansjörg Dilger, and Dominik Mattes
Uncanny in Ritual .” Religion 42 ( 4 ): 521 – 548 . https://doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2012.707802 10.1080/0048721X.2012.707802 Morgan , David , ed. 2010 . Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief . London : Routledge . Muñoz
Competing Forms of Knowledge in Rachel's Tomb in Tiberias
.1525/9780520938304 Morgan , David . ed. 2010 . Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief . London : Routledge . Napolitano , Valentina . 2015 . “ Anthropology and Traces .” Anthropological Theory 15 ( 1 ): 47 – 67 . 10.1177/1463499614554239 Navaro