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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?
Read: Douglas, Ortner
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?
Read: Palmer
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?
Read: Luhrmann
Write: Write one question you can ask in tutorial and one observation about 'hearing God' and other Vineyard practices.
12.04 Do religions mix?
Read: Romberg
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'?
Read: Meyer, Newell
Write: Write one question you can ask in tutorial and one observation about 'spiritual warfare'.
03.05 Is Christianity singular or plural?
Read: Robbins, Cannell
Write: Which has a stronger influence on the other: religion on culture, or culture on religion?
10.05 Can you buy salvation?
Read: Jones, Brenner*
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?
Read: Mahmood, Deeb*
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?
Read: Mahmood, Keane*
Write: Do liberal democracies have a 'sacred'? Should they?
31.05 Can religion can change the world?
Read: Gravers, Hertzberg*
Write: Take a stand on the claim that religious movements, political or not, produce greater social change than secular political activism.
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.

2667/weekly_plan_and_assigned_readings.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/29 02:27 by