Religious Statues and Personhood

Author: Amy Whitehead
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 1441164235
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Objects such as statues and icons have long been problematic in the study of religion, especially in European Christianities. Through examining two groups, the contemporary Pagan Glastonbury Goddess religion in the Southwest of England and a cult of the Virgin Mary in Andalusia, Spain, Amy Whitehead asserts that objects can be more than representational or symbolic. In the context of increasing academic interest in materiality in religions and cultures, she shows how statues, or 'things', are not always interacted with as if they are inert material against which we typically define ourselves as 'modern' humans. Bringing two distinct cultures and religions into tension, animism and 'the fetish' are used as ways in which to think about how humans interact with religious statues in Western Europe and beyond. Both theoretical and descriptive, the book illustrates how religions and cultural practices can be re-examined as performances that necessarily involve not only human persons, but also objects.

Materiality and the Study of Religion

Author: Tim Hutchings
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1317067991
Format: PDF, ePub
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Material culture has emerged in recent decades as a significant theoretical concern for the study of religion. This book contributes to and evaluates this material turn, presenting thirteen chapters of new empirical research and theoretical reflection from some of the leading international scholars of material religion. Following a model for material analysis proposed in the first chapter by David Morgan, the contributors trace the life cycle of religious materiality through three phases: the production of religious objects, their classification as religious (or non-religious), and their circulation and use in material culture. The chapters in this volume consider how objects become and cease to be sacred, how materiality can be used to contest access to public space and resources, and how religion is embodied and performed by individuals in their everyday lives. Contributors discuss the significance of the materiality of religion across different religious traditions and diverse geographical regions, paying close attention to gender, age, ethnicity, memory and politics. The volume closes with an afterword by Manuel Vásquez.

Christianity and the Limits of Materiality

Author: Minna Opas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1474291783
Format: PDF
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Despite the fact that Christianity is understood to be thoroughly intertwined with matter, objects, and things, Christians struggle to cope with this materiality in their daily lives. This volume argues that the ambivalent relationships many Christians have with materiality is a driving force that contributes to the way people in different Christian traditions and in different parts of the world understand and live out their religion. By placing the questions of limits and boundary-work to the fore, the volume addresses the question of exactly how Christianity takes place materially, addressing a gap in studies to date. Christianity and the Limits of Materiality presents ground-breaking research on the frameworks and contexts in relation to and within which Christian logics of materiality operate. The volume places the negotiations at the limits of materiality within the larger framework of Christian identities and politics of belonging. The chapters discuss case studies from North and South America, Europe, and Africa, and demonstrate that the limits preoccupying Christians delimit their lives but also enable many things. Ultimately, Christianity and the Limits of Materiality demonstrates that it is at the interfaces of materiality and the transcendent that Christians create and legitimise their religion.

Material Religion in Modern Britain

Author: Timothy Willem Jones
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 113754063X
Format: PDF
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This volume contributes towards to developments in the study of religion that illuminate the plural nature of religious change in modern Britain. It makes a critical intervention in British studies of religion by bringing the analytical insights of material culture, to bear on religion in the British World.

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization

Author: Mans Broo
Publisher: Equinox Publishing (Indonesia)
ISBN: 9781781794753
Format: PDF, Docs
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This volume revisits the concepts of enchantment and sacralization in light of perspectives which challenge the modern notion that man (alone) is the measure of all things. As Bruno Latour has argued, the battle against superstition entailed shifting power away from God/the gods to humans, thereby disqualifying the agency of all the other objects in the world. Might enchantment and sacralization be understood in other ways than through this battle between almighty gods and almighty humans? Might enchantment be understood to involve processes where power and control are not distributed so clearly and definitely? Like social constructionists, Latour emphasizes that things are constructed; yet, like many other new materialists, such as Jane Bennett, Manuel De Landa and Karen Barad, he emphasizes that this construction is not the result of projecting meaning onto a passive and meaningless world, but a matter of compositional achievements, whereby assemblages of actants co-compose each other and frame, enable and delimit one another's agency. This move recognizes the active and entangled participation of players beyond the humans versus God(s) framework that informed the modernist project. Understanding enchantment and sacralisation as compositionally and relationally constructed does not mean the same as understanding them as constructed by humans alone. What it means is one of the main questions posed in this book. In other words, if enchantment and sacralization are not understood (solely) in terms of projecting anthropocentric meaning onto mute objects, what are some promising alternative approaches - old and new - and what are their implications for how we understand modernity and for method and theory in the study of religion?

Deus in Machina Religion Technology and the Things in Between

Author: Jeremy Stolow
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
ISBN: 0823249808
Format: PDF, Docs
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The essays in this volume explore how two domains of human experience and action--religion and technology--are implicated in each other. Contrary to commonsense understandings of both religion (as an "otherworldly" orientation) and technology (as the name for tools, techniques, and expert knowledges oriented to "this" world), the contributors to this volume challenge the grounds on which this division has been erected in the first place. What sorts of things come to light when one allows religion and technology to mingle freely? In an effort to answer that question, Deus in Machina embarks upon an interdisciplinary voyage across diverse traditions and contexts where religion and technology meet: from the design of clocks in medieval Christian Europe, to the healing power of prayer in premodern Buddhist Japan, to 19th-century Spiritualist devices for communicating with the dead, to Islamic debates about kidney dialysis in contemporary Egypt, to the work of disability activists using documentary film to reimagine Jewish kinship, to the representation of Haitian Vodou on the Internet, among other case studies. Combining rich historical and ethnographic detail with extended theoretical reflection, Deus in Machina outlines new directions for the study of religion and/as technology that will resonate across the human sciences, including religious studies, science and technology studies, communication studies, history, anthropology, and philosophy.

Writing and Power in the Roman World

Author: Hella Eckardt
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108418058
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This book focuses on the material practice of ancient literacy through a contextual examination of Roman writing equipment.

Sensitive Objects

Author: Jonas Frykman
Publisher: Nordic Academic Press
ISBN: 9187675668
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Some objects stand out as personal and important to us. A packed suitcase, an inherited vase, the remains from a humanitarian aid packet – things can be stored with affects. In Sensitive Objects the authors focus on material culture and on practice – on what affect does. Some of them place the issue of sensitivity in a wider frame of professional interest in innovation and culture-tourism. The volume is a contribution to the upcoming field of ‘affect research’ that has so far has been mainly explored in psychology and cultural studies. In their texts ethnologists and anthropologists involved show how established ways of analysing culture benefit from achievements in this field. They use fieldwork to examine how people project affects onto material objects and explore how objects trigger affect. The editors hope that this book will be read across disciplines, not only to promote the value of ethnographic work, but also to incite further theoretically informed creative empirical approaches to affects and material culture.

Fragile Conviction

Author: Mathijs Pelkmans
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501708376
Format: PDF, ePub
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The Allied occupation of Japan is remembered as the "good occupation." An American-led coalition successfully turned a militaristic enemy into a stable and democratic ally. Of course, the story was more complicated, but the occupation did forge one of the most enduring relationships in the postwar world. Recent events, from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to protests over American bases in Japan to increasingly aggressive territorial disputes between Asian nations over islands in the Pacific, have brought attention back to the subject of the occupation of Japan. In Architects of Occupation, Dayna L. Barnes exposes the wartime origins of occupation policy and broader plans for postwar Japan. She considers the role of presidents, bureaucrats, think tanks, the media, and Congress in policymaking. Members of these elite groups came together in an informal policy network that shaped planning. Rather than relying solely on government reports and records to understand policymaking, Barnes also uses letters, memoirs, diaries, and manuscripts written by policymakers to trace the rise and spread of ideas across the policy network. The book contributes a new facet to the substantial literature on the occupation, serves as a case study in foreign policy analysis, and tells a surprising new story about World War II.

Pagan Theology

Author: Michael York
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814797083
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In Pagan Theology, Michael York provides an introduction to, and expansion of, the concept of Paganism and provides an overview of its theological perspective and practice. He demonstrates it to be a viable and distinguishable spiritual perspective found today in such forms as Chinese folk religion, Shinto, tribal religions, and neo-Paganism in the West. While adherents of many of these traditions do not use the word "pagan" to describe their beliefs or practices, York contends that there is an identifiable position possessing characteristics and understandings in common for which the label "pagan" is appropriate. He outlines these characteristics and also explores paganism as a general form of religious behavior which may be found in other religions which are not themselves pagan. In the course of examining such behavior, York provides descriptions of religions in action, including Buddhism and Hinduism.