ANTH 2667: The anthropology of religion—a guide to the unit
Weekly plan and assigned readings
|08.03||Why is religion interesting and problematic?|
|We will discuss the unique weekly cycle this class follows, the assignments, and the research project. We will also share ideas about why religion is interesting and problematic.|
|15.03||Bring an example of a religious practice you would like to know more about.|
|Read:||Unit outline and assignments, Durkheim|
|Write:||Describe an example of a religious practice, and how you learned about it.|
|Research:||Tutorials will meet as scheduled.|
|22.03||Why do so many, perhaps all, cultures have religions?|
|Write:||State your answer to the question of the week, and explain your position using examples and reasoning.|
|Research:||Statement of possible topics assignment due this week on Blackboard. This is a good time to browse the stacks. Read widely in several topic areas, and find out what you are curious about.|
|29.03||Why would someone join a religious commune?|
|Write:||State your answer to the week's question, and explain your position using examples and reasoning.|
|Research:||By now, it would be good to have found one or more detailed ethnographies on your topic. Consult with Ryan if you want some ideas.|
|05.04||Can you learn to hear God?|
|Write:||Write one question you can ask in tutorial and one observation about 'hearing God' and other Vineyard practices.|
|12.04||Do religions mix?|
|Write:||Why does Romberg reject the concept of religious syncretism? Do you agree or disagree and why?|
|Research:||Progress report due this week on Blackboard.|
|19.04||Classes cancelled for syncretistic Judeo-Christian feasting|
|Research:||You should have one or more ethnographic works on a single topic that you can read over break. Pay attention to what surprises you, and start thinking about your research question.|
|26.04||Is African Christianity just 'African culture'?|
|Write:||Write one question you can ask in tutorial and one observation about 'spiritual warfare'.|
|03.05||Is Christianity singular or plural?|
|Write:||Which has a stronger influence on the other: religion on culture, or culture on religion?|
|10.05||Can you buy salvation?|
|Write:||What would Suzanne Brenner say about Jones's argument? How would Jones respond?|
|Research:||Thesis statement and outline due this week on Blackboard.|
|17.05||Do all societies eventually become secular?|
|Write:||Why do we see an apparent increase in 'public piety' in late modernity, both in the US and the Islamic world?|
|24.05||Do liberal societies need beliefs?|
|Write:||Do liberal democracies have a 'sacred'? Should they?|
|31.05||Can religion can change the world?|
|Write:||Take a stand on the claim that religious movements, political or not, produce greater social change than secular political activism.|
|07.06||To be revealed...|
|Reading and finals weeks||Final paper due on 6 June on Blackboard.|
Unit readings (* indicates recommened readings)
*Brenner, Suzanne. 1996. “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and ‘the Veil.’” American Ethnologist 23 (4): 673–97. doi:10.1525/ae.1996.23.4.02a00010.
Cannell, Fenella. 2005. “The Christianity of Anthropology*.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11 (2): 335–56. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9655.2005.00239.x.
*Deeb, Lara. 2009. “Piety Politics and the Role of a Transnational Feminist Analysis.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15 (January): S112–26.
Douglas, Mary. 2002. “The Abominations of Leviticus.” In Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, 51–71. London: Routledge.
Durkheim, Emile. 2008. “The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.” In A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion, edited by Michael Lambek, 34–47. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing.
Gravers, Mikael. 2012. “Monks, Morality and Military: The Struggle for Moral Power in Burma—and Buddhism’s Uneasy Relation with Lay Power.” Contemporary Buddhism 13 (1): 1–33. doi:10.1080/14639947.2012.669278.
*Hertzberg, Michael. 2014. “The March of the Monks: On the Political Repertoire of Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.” In The Great Diversity: Trajectories of Asian Development, edited by Christopher M. Dent and Camilla Brautaset, 103–16. Wageningen, Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Jones, Carla. 2010. “Materializing Piety: Gendered Anxieties about Faithful Consumption in Contemporary Urban Indonesia.” American Ethnologist 37 (4): 617–37. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1425.2010.01275.x.
*Keane, Webb. 2009. “Freedom and Blasphemy: On Indonesian Press Bans and Danish Cartoons.” Public Culture 21 (1): 47–76. doi:10.1215/08992363-2008-021.
Luhrmann, Tanya M. 2004. “Metakinesis: How God Becomes Intimate in Contemporary U.S. Christianity.” American Anthropologist 106 (3): 518–28. doi:10.1525/aa.2004.106.3.518.
Mahmood, Saba. 2009. “Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?” In Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech, edited by Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood, 64–100. Berkeley, Calif.: Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California.
Mahmood, Saba. 2001. “Rehearsed Spontaneity and the Conventionality of Ritual: Disciplines of Şalat.” American Ethnologist 28 (4): 827–53. doi:10.1525/ae.2001.28.4.827.
Meyer, Birgit. 1998. “‘Make a Complete Break with the Past.’ Memory and Post-Colonial Modernity in Ghanaian Pentecostalist Discourse.” Journal of Religion in Africa 28 (3): 316–49. doi:10.2307/1581573.
Newell, Sasha. 2007. “Pentecostal Witchcraft: Neoliberal Possession and Demonic Discourse in Ivoirian Pentecostal Churches.” Journal of Religion in Africa 37 (4): 461–90. doi:10.1163/157006607×230517.
Ortner, Sherry B. 1973. “Sherpa Purity.” American Anthropologist 75 (1): 49–63. doi:10.2307/672339.
Palmer, Susan J. 2010. “The Twelve Tribes: Preparing the Bride for Yahshua’s Return.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 13 (3): 59–80. doi:10.1525/nr.2010.13.3.59.
Robbins, Joel. 2001. “God Is Nothing but Talk: Modernity, Language, and Prayer in a Papua New Guinea Society.” American Anthropologist, New Series, 103 (4): 901–12.
Romberg, Raquel. 1998. “Whose Spirits Are They?: The Political Economy of Syncretism and Authenticity.” Journal of Folklore Research 35 (1): 69–82.