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A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.General Introduction.Part I: The Context of Understanding and Debate:Opening Frameworks:Introduction.1. Religion in Primitive Culture: Edward Burnett Tylor.2. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: Emile Durkheim.3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: Max Weber.4. Religion as a Cultural System: Clifford Geertz.Skeptical Rejoinders:Introduction.5. Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough: Ludwig Wittgenstein.6. Religion, Totemism and Symbolism: W. E. H. Stanner.7. Christians as Believers: Malcolm Ruel.8. The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category: Talal Asad.Part II: Poiesis: The Composition of Religious Worlds:Signs and Symbols:Introduction.9. The Logic of Signs and Symbols: Susanne K. Langer.10. The Problem of Symbols: E. E. Evans-Pritchard.11. On Key Symbols: Sherry B. Ortner.12. The Virgin of Guadalupe: A Mexican National Symbol: Eric Wolf.Structure, Function, and Interpretation:Introduction.13. Myth in Primitive Psychology: Bronislaw Malinowski.14. Folk Dialectics of Nature and Culture: Marshall Sahlins.15. Land Animals, Pure and Impure: Mary Douglas.16. A Jivaro Version of Totem and Taboo: Claude Levi-Strauss.17. Text-Building, Epistemology, and Aesthetics in Javanese Shadow Theatre: Alton Becker.Moral Inversions and Spaces of Disorder:Introduction.18. The Winnebago Trickster Figure: Paul Radin.19. Witchcraft and Sexual Relations: An Exploration in the Social and Semantic Implications of the Structure of Belief: Raymond C. Kelly.20. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression: Peter Stallybrass and Allon White.Conceptualizing the Cosmos.Introduction.21. Closure and Multiplication: An Essay on Polynesian Cosmology and Ritual Alfred Gell.22. Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism: Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.Part III: Praxis: Religious Action:The Movement in Ritual: Emergence:Introduction.23. The Control of Experience: Symbolic Action: Godfrey Lienhardt.24. Form and Meaning of Magical Acts: Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah.25. Liminality and Communitas: Victor Turner.Religion and Personal Experience:Introduction.26. Fate in Relation to the Social Structure: Meyer Fortes.27. Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience: Gananath Obeyesekere.28. Spirits and Selves in Northern Sudan: The Cultural Therapeutics of Possession and Trance: Janice Boddy.29. The Poetics of Time in Mayan Divination: Dennis Tedlock.What Ritual Does: The Foundations of Order:Introduction.30. The Disconnection between Power and Rank as a Process: Maurice Bloch.31. Enactments of Meaning: Roy A. Rappaport.Part IV: Historical Dynamics: Power, Modernity, and Change:Capitalism, Colonialism, Christianity, and Conflict:Introduction.32. The Genesis of Capitalism amongst a South American Peasantry: Devil's Labor and the Baptism of Money: Michael Taussig.33. The Colonization of Consciousness: John and Jean Comaroff.Religious Ethics and Politics in the State and the Transnational Scene:Introduction.34. Civil Religion in America: Robert N. Bellah.35. "Using the Past to Negate the Present": Ritual Ethics and State Rationality in Ancient China: Mayfair Mei-Hui Yang.36. Passional Preaching, Aural Sensibility, and the Islamic Revival in Cairo: Charles Hirschkind.37. Moral Landscapes: Ethical Discourses among Orthodox and Diaspora Jains: Anne Vallely.Part V: Research Tools:A Guide to the Literature. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Michael Lambek is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He served as the Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics in 1997 and is the author of numerous books and articles, including Knowledge and Practice in Mayotte (1993) and Human Spirits (1981), and he co-edited Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma & Memory (with Paul Antze 1996). He serves on a number of editorial boards and is the founding editor of the Anthropological Horizons monograph series.


"This is an excellent collection, with a comprehensive range of readings from classical as well as recent authors, and very useful introductions to each section that are also accessibly written. In my view this fine Reader should be adopted as a standard text for teaching the anthropology of religion." Talal Asad, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York "This volume provides an excellent guide to both the history of the field and new directions of research. Lambek offers insightful commentaries throughout and situates the anthropology of religion in the larger literature of social theory and anthropology, showing how central this set of topics is to the understanding of human societies. In his commentaries and selections, Lambek makes his own position clear, and that position represents some of the best of current thinking in anthropology." John Bowen, Washington University "Scholars interested in the "anthropological approach" to biblical studies will profit greatly from this anthology...The next generation of students is well served by this fine book." International Review of Biblical Studies "[A] reader that ambitiously attempts to represent the full breadth, depth, and complexity of anthropology's investigations into religion. ... The masterly general introduction situates this anthology within the long and often difficult anthropological engagement with this most mystified and powerful realm of social action. ... [A]n excellent text." International Social Science Review "A major guide to both the history of the anthropology of religion and new trends in research... Lambek has compiled an excellent anthology." Journal of Empirical Theology

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