Archive for June, 2013

Luhrmann, “Making God real and making God good: Some mechanisms through which prayer may contribute to healing”

June 30, 2013

Luhrmann, Tanya. 2013. Making God real and making God good: Some mechanisms through which prayer may contribute to healing. Transcultural Psychiatry published online 21 June (Early View). DOI: 10.1177/1363461513487670.

Abstract: Many social scientists attribute the health-giving properties of religious practice to social support. This paper argues that another mechanism may be a positive relationship with the supernatural, a proposal that builds upon anthropological accounts of symbolic healing. Such a mechanism depends upon the learned cultivation of the imagination and the capacity to make what is imagined more real and more good. This paper offers a theory of the way that prayer enables this process and provides some evidence, drawn from experimental and ethnographic work, for the claim that a relationship with a loving God, cultivated through the imagination in prayer, may contribute to good health and may contribute to healing in trauma and psychosis.

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Young and Seitz, ed, “Asia in the Making of Christianity”

June 26, 2013

Young, Richard Fox and Jonathan A. Seitz, eds. 2013. Asia in the Making of Christianity: Conversion, Agency, and Indigeneity, 1600s to the Present. London: Brill.

Contributors: Richard Fox Young, Jonathan A. Seitz, Nola Cooke, Richard Burden, Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, La Seng Dingrin, Erik de Maaker, Sipra Mukherjee, Gregory Vanderbilt, Jonas Adelin Jorgensen, Chad M. Bauman, Franklin Rausch, Rhonda Semple, Matthias Frenz, Edwin Zehner

Publisher’s Description: Drawing on first person accounts, Asia in the Making of Christianity studies conversion in the lives of Christians throughout Asia, past and present. Fifteen contributors treat perennial questions about conversion: continuity and discontinuity, conversion and communal conflict, and the politics of conversion. Some study individuals (An Chunggŭn of Korea, Liang Fa of China, Nehemiah Goreh of India), while others treat ethnolinguistic groups or large-scale movements. Converts sometimes appear as proto-nationalists, while others are suspected of cultural treason. Some transition effortlessly from leadership in one religious community into Christian ministry, while others re-convert to new forms of Christianity. The accounts collected here underscore the complexity of conversion, balancing individual agency with broader social trends and combining micro- with macrocontextual approaches

Kendall, et al. “A sin to sell a statue?”

June 25, 2013

Kendall, Laurel, et al. 2013. Is it a sin to sell a statue? Catholic Statues and the Traffic in Antiquities in Vietnam. Museum Anthropology 36(1): 66-82.

Abstract: When antique wooden saints were offered for sale in a Hanoi shop window, they provoked uncomfortable responses from Catholic observers living outside Vietnam who could not imagine their co-religionists voluntarily selling statues that had once been blessed. To explore this question—how things considered too sacred for commerce came to be sold—we bring together two usually discrete domains of research on material culture: object biographies that trace their movement from local sites of production and use into global markets, and studies on material religion that address how embodied and sensate encounters with the material world are productive of religious experiences and understandings. The social life of things collides with material religion at the place where statues and other religious paraphernalia are first transacted into artifact, art, folk art, or native handicraft. The bridge between these two domains of inquiry is the recognition that object biographies are propelled in part by notions of object agency that assume particular protocols for interactions between people and things.

Townsend, “Energy Policy in American Faith Communities”

June 25, 2013

Townsend, Patricia K. 2013. Energy Policy in American Faith Communities: “The Power to Change.” Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 35(1):4-15.

Abstract: This paper traces the development of energy policy in the mainline churches beginning with Margaret Mead and René Dubos’s 1974 commission to prepare a report to the National Council of Churches on the use of plutonium as a commercial fuel. The report stirred a controversy and a broader examination of energy ethics that culminated in the adoption in 1979 of a National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. policy paper and encouraged constituent denominations to make their own studies of energy policy. The development and implementation of these policies is followed from 1980 to the present, using the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a representative mainline denomination. This turn to ethical reasoning to support change in U.S. energy policy is a hopeful development, given the stalemate in such discussion when framed in scientific or political terms.

Machoko, “Religion and Interconnection With Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Zimbabwean Diasporic Canadians”

June 25, 2013

Machoko, Collis Garikai. 2013. Religion and Interconnection With Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Zimbabwean Diasporic Canadians. Journal of Black Studies XX(X):1–24 (Early View).

Abstract: The author argues that the continuous connection between Zimbabwean Diasporic Canadians (ZDC) and their homeland Zimbabwe is facilitated by the ZDC’s ongoing relationship and involvement with Zimbabwean African Indigenous Religion (AIR) and Zimbabwean African Initiated Churches (AICs). The two spiritual institutions are used as vehicles to alleviate cultural and racial discrimination as well as the socioeconomic challenges faced by the ZDC. The methodologies of interviews and participant observation were used. Research indicates that ZDC maintain their ties with Zimbabwe through continued engagement with AIR and AIC, who establish and assert themselves as vehicles of interaction and interdependence between Zimbabwe and the ZDC. In addition to their religious preoccupation, these institutions also play an important economic and social role in the lives of the ZDC. The conclusion is that ZDC did not make a complete break with their homeland.

Hansen, “Pharmaceutical Evangelicalism and Spiritual Capitalism”

June 13, 2013

Hansen, Helena. 2013. “Pharmaceutical Evangelicalism and Spiritual Capitalism: An American Tale of Two Communities of Addicted Selves.” In Addiction Trajectories, edited by Eugene Raikhel and William Garriott, 108-125. Durham: Duke University Press. 

Excerpt: “This contrast is highlighted by two clips that aired on television in the early 200os, one representing a faith-based concept of addiction treatment and the other an office-based opiate maintenance concept of treatment. The first is a public service announcement by the Partnership for a Drug Free Puerto Rico, which opens with a weathered Latino man in a tattered T-shirt who asks drivers at an intersection for change. He enters a dark stairway, takes coins out of his pocket, puts them on a table, and rolls up his sleeves, apparently to inject drugs. The camera pans out to reveal that he is actually in a church, placing coins in a donation basket and freeing his arms for prayer in front of a great cross . . . The second television clip is from the HBO special series Addiction. It profiles a young white couple in Maine who are starting buprenorphine maintenance as a treatment for their OxyContin dependence . . . In this chapter, I trace the origins of these apparently divergent narratives, then follow their logics to an unexpected convergence. The individualist focus of the characters in both clips on their personal, inner states – formerly addicted evangelist and biomedically maintained – belies the degree to which substances, spiritual or molecular, are the medium for new, imagined global collectivities in which ex-addicts are pharmaceutically maintained addicts place themselves. To generate these collectivities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and prescribers engage in medical evangelism – testimonials and ritual consecration of molecular technology as the source of salvation – while evangelist addiction ministries market moral authority through membership in a virtual spiritual network to socially displaced postindustrial consumers.”

Webster, “The Anthropology of Protestantism”

June 12, 2013

Webster, Joseph. 2013. The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Publisher’s Description: Narrowing in from the broader context of the north Atlantic, through northern Europe, to Britain, northeast Scotland, and finally the fishing village of Gamrie, this anthropology of Protestantism examines millennialist faith and economic crisis. Through his ethnographic study of the fishermen and their religious beliefs, Webster speaks to larger debates about religious radicalism, materiality, economy, language, and the symbolic. These debates (occurring within the ostensibly secular context of contemporary Scotland) also call into question assumptions about the decline of religion in modern industrial societies. By chronicling how these individuals experience life as “enchanted,” this book explores the global processes of religious conversion, economic crisis, and political struggle.

Poloma and Lee, “Prophecy, Empowerment and Godly Love”

June 12, 2013

Poloma, Margaret M. and Matthew T. Lee. 2013. Prophecy, Empowerment and Godly Love: The Spirit Factor in the Growth of Pentecostalism. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 277-296. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kay, “Gifts of the Spirit”

June 12, 2013

Kay, William K. 2013. Gifts of the Spirit: Reflections on Pentecostalism and Its Growth in Asia. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 259-276. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Attanasi, “Constructing Gender”

June 12, 2013

Attanasi, Katherine. 2013. Constructing Gender within Global Pentecostalism: Contrasting Case Studies in Colombia and South Africa. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 242-258. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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