The anthropology of ‘religion’ was once a central topic in anthropology. It persisted through the heady days of structuralism in a seemingly exotic triad of myth, symbolism and ritual, only to emerge with its analytical boundaries in question. In a poststructuralist world, other analytical priorities and formulations then seemed to take over but ethnographies of religion continued to pose interesting questions. We have moved the topic back to centre stage in this issue with an article by Joel Robbins in which he calls for attention to the question of how religions disappear. Aparecida Vilaça, Simon Coleman, and Don Seeman then offer their own comments and critique from within anthropology, along with an historian of religious conversion, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh. Robbins then has a chance to respond, pulling issues together and illuminating further as he does so.

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