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Forget Dawkins

Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt

Paul-François Tremlett and Fang-Long Shih

New Atheism is characterized by a binary logic that pits religion against science, belief against doubt, a pre-modern past against a modern present. It generates a temporal sensibility and attitude toward being modern that is a 'survival' of late-nineteenth-century anthropology, where religious belief and the past were bound together in opposition to science and the present. We analyze this binary logic and then, in response, present two ethnographic accounts—one from the Philippines, the other from Taiwan—to support our contention that religion is not just a matter of personal convictions. Rather, it is a public practice in which belief and doubt are constituted socially and dialogically.

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Repairing a 'Ripped Torah'

Repairing Jewish Life in the Former Soviet Union

David Wilfond

I have shared with you stories about the Torah: the Torah that was forbidden to have at home, held captive behind the glass in the Museum of Atheism, whose blessing was unknown to even the learned leaders, that was almost ripped and whose letters once faded are now being filled in by the loving and determined hands of a new generation – letters from our holy language being written for the first time by Jewish children. Together, we have a holy opportunity to partner with the Jews of the FSU to write the next chapter in the Torah of Life of our people.

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Ritual and commemoration in contemporary Russia

State-church relationships and the vernacularization of the politics of memory

Tobias Köllner

Since state atheism was abandoned in the 1990s, the Russian Federation entered what can be called a postsecular phase. Religion, formerly limited to the private sphere, reappeared in the public and underwent an astonishing religious revival. During the time of my fieldwork in 2006/2007, a tendency to favor the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and to facilitate its return to the public reached its climax. In this article I draw attention to how the political, the secular, and the religious are interconnected and allow for new vernacular forms of legitimating power and authority. One example is the introduction of new public holidays and public rituals. They connect local and national narratives and relate to ideas about the communality of the Russian people. They create new forms of a divine kinship, which draw heavily on religious and national symbols and merge the sacred and the profane.

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Jon Bialecki, Erica Weiss, Hillary Kaell, Christopher Hewlett, Sibyl Macfarlane, Grit Wesser, Emma Gobin, James S. Bielo, Sindre Bangstad and Thorgeir Kolshus

SHULTS, F. LeRon, Iconoclastic Theology: Gilles Deleuze and the Secretion of Atheism, 242 pp., illustrations, index. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. Hardback, $104. ISBN 9780748684137.

BARBER, Daniel Colucciello, Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-secularism and the Future of Immanence, 232 pp., index. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. Hardback, $113. ISBN 9780748686360.

DROEBER, Julia, The Dynamics of Coexistence in the Middle East: Negotiating Boundaries Between Christians, Muslims, Jews and Samaritans in Palestine, 256 pp., notes, bibliography, index. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013. Hardback, £58.00. ISBN 9781780765273.

ENGELKE, Matthew, God’s Agents: Biblical Publicity in Contemporary England, 320 pp., notes, references, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Paperback, $34.95, £24.95. ISBN 9780520280472.

FAUSTO, Carlos, Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia, 368 pp., illustrations, maps, tables, references, annex, index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Hardback, £62. ISBN 9781107020061.

HARVEY, Graham, Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life, 244 pp. Durham: Acumen, 2013. Paperback, $23. ISBN 9781844656936.

NYNÄS, Peter, and Andrew Kam-Tuck YIP, eds., Religion, Gender and Sexuality in Everyday Life, 173 pp., index. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012. Hardback, £45. ISBN 9781409445838.

PALMIÉ, Stephan, The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion, 360 pp., notes, references, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Cloth, $85. ISBN 9780226019420.

SEALES, Chad E., The Secular Spectacle: Performing Religion in a Southern Town, 238 pp., illustrations, notes, index. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Paperback, $24.95. ISBN 9780199860289.

SELBY, Jennifer A., Questioning French Secularism: Gender Politics and Islam in a Parisian Suburb, 241 pp., illustrations, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Hardcover, $73. ISBN 9780230121010.

TOMLINSON, Matt, and Debra MCDOUGALL, eds., Christian Politics in Oceania, 260 pp., illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2013. Hardback, $90. ISBN 9780857457462.

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Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic, Joana Bahia, Luiz Costa, Jonathan Mair, Dolores P. Martinez, Stephan Feuchtwang, Richard Irvine, Stephen D. Glazier, Diana Espirito Santo, Simion Pop, William Dawley, Emily B. Baran, Richard Baxstrom, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Mette High, Amy Whitehead, Sindre Bangstad, Thomas G. Kirsch and Ruy Llera Blanes

BUBANDT, Nils, and Martijn VAN BEEK, eds., Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Religion, Politics and the Spiritual, 261 pp., illustrations, index. London: Routledge, 2012. Hardback, $145. ISBN 9780415616720.

CAPONE, Stefania, Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomblé, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Paperback, $23.95. ISBN 9780822346364.

COURSE, Magnus, Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile, 224 pp., illustrations, notes, glossary, index. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Paperback, $25. ISBN 9780252078231.

DAY, Abby, Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World, 224 pp., references, index. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Hardback, £55, $99. ISBN 9780199577873.

ENDRES, Kirsten W., Performing the Divine: Mediums, Markets and Modernity in Urban Vietnam, 240 pp., bibliography, index. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2011. Paperback, £16.99, $32. ISBN 9788776940768.

FJELSTAD, Karen, and Nguyen THIHIEN, Spirits without Borders: Vietnamese Spirit Mediums in a Transnational Age, 230 pp., glossary, notes, references, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Hardback, $90. ISBN 9780230114937.

GEERTZ, Armin W., and Jappe Sinding JENSEN, eds., Religious Narrative, Cognition and Culture: Image and Word in the Mind of Narrative, 348 pp. Sheffield: Equinox, 2011. Paperback, £24.99, $39.95. ISBN 9781845532956.

GRIFFITH, Ezra E. H., Ye Shall Dream: Patriarch Granville Williams and the Barbados Spiritual Baptists, 207 pp., references, index. Mona: University of the West Indies Press, 2010. Paperback, $35. ISBN 9789766402433.

HAYES, Kelly E., Holy Harlots: Femininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil, xiii, 293 pp., illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Paperback, $27.95, £19.95. ISBN 9780520262652.

KAPFERER, Bruce, Kari TELLE, and Annelin ERIKSEN, eds., Contemporary Religiosities: Emergent Socialities and the Post-Nation-State, 221 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. Paperback, $25, £15. ISBN 9780857451309.

LINDHARDT, Martin, ed., Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, 352 pp., tables, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2011. Hardback, $95, £55. ISBN 9781845457709.

LUEHRMANN, Sonja, Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic, 292 pp., illustrations, maps, glossary, notes, references, index. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011. Paperback, $27.95. ISBN 9780253223555.

OBEYESEKERE, Gananath, The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience, xx + 622 pp., illustrations, notes, glossary, index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Hardback, $50, £34.50. ISBN 9780231153621.

OCHOA, Todd Ramón, Society of the Dead: Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba, 328 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. Paperback, $26.95, £18.95. ISBN 9780520256842.

PEDERSEN, Morten Axel, Not Quite Shamans: Spirit Worlds and Political Lives in Northern Mongolia, 250 pp., bibliography, glossary, index. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. Paperback, $28.95. ISBN 9780801476204.

ROUNTREE, Kathryn, Crafting Contemporary Pagan Identities in a Catholic Society, 206 pp., figures, bibliography, index. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. Hardback, £55, $82. ISBN 9780754669739.

WARNER, Michael, Jonathan VANANTWERPEN, and Craig CALHOUN, eds., Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, 337 pp., name index, subject index. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010. Paperback, $46.50. ISBN 9780674048577.

WERBNER, Richard, Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy: Apostolic Reformation in Botswana, 268 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index, DVD. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Hardback, $60. ISBN 9780520268531.

COLOMBANI, Hervé, dir., Nouvelle Terre Promise, 45 min., color. Paris: CNRS Images, 2008.