Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Beekers, “Pedagogies of piety”

March 13, 2014

Beekers, Daan.  2014.  Pedagogies of piety: Comparing young observant Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands.  Culture and Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract:  In this article, I compare the active religious engagement found among many of today’s young Dutch Muslims and Christians. I show that such comparison requires a move beyond the separate frameworks through which these groups are commonly perceived, found both in widely shared public discourses (‘allochthons’ versus ‘autochthons’) and in academic research (minority studies versus the sociology of religion). In their stead, this comparative analysis examines in what ways both groups give shape to observant religious practice in the shared context of contemporary Dutch society. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, I show that young Christians as well as Muslims participate in social settings of religious pedagogy, where they are encouraged to attain, sustain and improve personal piety in today’s pluralist Dutch society. Such social participation does not preclude, but rather comes together with a strong emphasis on reflexivity and authenticity.

Heo, “The Virgin Between Christianity and Islam”

November 28, 2013

Heo, Angie. 2013. The Virgin Between Christianity and Islam: Sainthood, Media, and Modernity in Egypt. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81(4): 1117-1138.

Abstract: This article investigates what it means for the Virgin Mary to be a common figure between Christianity and Islam. Departing from approaches which emphasize the textual biography and personality of figural saints, it explores the Virgin as a contested image of divine intercession among Muslims and Christians on the ground. Beginning with lived contexts of everyday mediation, it thus situates the “commonness” of the Virgin within the thick practical realities of modern communication and imagination. More specifically, it probes one ethnographic case of a Marian apparition which occurred in Giza in 2009, producing eyewitness observation and critical reflection. My aim is to show how the historical phenomenon of “collective apparitions” provides a distinctive visual-cultural platform for evaluating the communicatively public aspects of saintly mediation. In doing so, this study concretely traces how growing cults of the Virgin Mary shape newly widespread practices of religious identification and differentiation among contemporary Orthodox, Protestants, and Muslims in Egypt.

Day, “Faith on the Avenue”

November 12, 2013

Day, Katie. 2013. Faith on the Avenue: Religion on a City Street. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: In a richly illustrated, revelatory study of Philadelphia’s Germantown Avenue, home to a diverse array of more than 90 Christian and Muslim congregations, Katie Day explores the formative and multifaceted role of religious congregations within an urban environment. Germantown Avenue cuts through Philadelphia for eight and a half miles, from the affluent neighborhood of Chestnut Hill through the high crime section known as “the Badlands.” The congregations along this route range from the wealthiest to the poorest populations in Philadelphia. Some congregants are immigrants who find safety and support in close fellowship, while others are long-time residents whose congregations work actively to provide social services. Cities undergo constant change, and their congregations change with them. As Day observes, some congregations have sprung up in former commercial strips, harboring new arrivals and recreating a sense of home, and others form an anchor for a neighborhood across generations, providing a connection to the past and a hope of stability for the future. Drawing on years of research, in-depth interviews with religious leaders and congregants, and a wealth of demographic data, Day demonstrates the powerful influence cities exert on their congregations, and the surprising and important impact congregations have on their urban environment.

Thomas, “Women in Lebanon”

March 29, 2013

Thomas, Marie-Claude. 2013. Women in Lebanon: Living with Christianity, Islam, and Multiculturalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher’s Description: Combining insider and outsider perspectives, Women in Lebanon looks at Christian and Muslim women living together in a multicultural society and facing modernity. While the Arab Spring has begun to draw attention to issues of change, modernity, and women’s subjectivity, this manuscript takes a unique approach to examining and describing the Lebanese “alternative modernities” thesis and how it has shaped thinking about the meaning of terms like evolution, progress, development, history, and politics in contemporary Arab thought. The author draws on extensive ethnographic research, as well as her own personal experience.

Hancock, “Encountering Islam”

March 29, 2013

Hancock, Mary. 2013. Encountering Islam in Short-Term Mission.” Missiology 41(2):187-201.

Abstract: This article documents short-term mission’s engagement with Islam by showing how Islam is represented by sending agencies and how volunteers interact with Muslims. I relate the different styles of representing and engaging with Islam to differences of theological orientation as well as to the particular contexts and practices of short-term mission. This article is based on research in Southern California between 2009 and 2012, including visual and textual content analyses of sending agencies’ websites and guidebooks, and interviews with 57 short-term mission participants

Hancock, “New Mission Paradigms”

February 5, 2013

Hancock, Mary E. 2013. New Mission Paradigms and the encounter with Islam: fusing voluntarism, tourism, and evangelism in short-term missions in the USA. Culture and Religion 13(5).

Abstract: This paper concerns U.S. evangelical Christian mission practice in the Muslim world. Interests in and support for mission work among Muslims have increased – shifts that evangelical church leaders and missiologists attribute to the impacts of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that followed – and the short-term segment, which fuses voluntarism, tourism and evangelism, represents the newest paradigm in these undertakings. While the overall popularity of short-term mission is recognised by scholars and church leaders, its role in mediating interactions between Christians and Muslims has received little attention. This paper documents short-term mission engagement with Islam by showing how Islam is represented by agencies and how volunteers interact with Muslims. I argue that styles of representing and engaging with Islam, while arising from a range of theological orientations, are also products of changing contexts and practices of mission, both the routinisation of short-term mission and the expanded opportunities for mission under rubric of faith-based development. This paper is based on research in Southern California between 2009 and 2012, including visual and textual content analyses of sending agencies’ websites and guidebooks, and interviews with 57 short-term mission participants.

Coleman, “Afterword: De-exceptionalising Islam.”

December 15, 2012

Coleman, Simon. 2012. “Afterword: De-exceptionalising Islam.” In Articulating Islam: Anthropological Approaches to Muslim Worlds. Edited by Magnus Marsden and Bryan Turner, 247-258. New York: Springer.

Excerpt:  “The point here is not to argue, in procrustean fashion, that, far from being irredeemably ‘Other’, Islam actually turns out to be just like other world religions, such as Christianity. This kind of claim – a kind of Orientalism replaced by a form of intellectual McDonaldization – would combine ethnographic naivety with a contradiction of this volume’s message concerning Islam’s ‘immanent’ resistance to being separated out into an autonomous realm of belief and action. However, such reflections should lead us to a question raised about the anthropology of any world religion, once we start to worry at ‘exceptionalisms’ or ‘essentialisms’: what is actually gained by confining our theoretical questions and comparisons to cases relating to any single religion? This issue is raised forcefully by Chris Hann (2007:402) in relation to the burgeoning anthropology of Christianity, where he criticizes the idealism behind calls to explore the ‘cultural logic’ of the religion, and indeed questions (ibid.:406) Joel Robbins’s attempt (2003) to present the anthropology of Islam as exemplary for that of Christianity. Hann summarizes Robbins’s approach as stating that ‘similar progress [to that made on Islam] might be made with Christianity if all those working on Christian groups were to prioritize the theme of religion and engage systematically with each others’ work’ (Hann 2007:406). By ways of contrast, Hann challenges the very idea of demarcating one world religion as a suitable domain for comparison, and argues instead for an approach that proceeds on the basis of identifying analytical problems (such as Christian and non-Christian ideas of transcendence, Catholic versus Muslim notions of mediation, and so on). In some respects, we already see this approach played out in the present volume. For instance Retsikas invokes the work of Thomas Csordas (1994) on charismatic Catholicism in juxtaposing Charismatic and experiences of the immanent presence of the divine. Gabriele vom Bruck’s invocation of David Freedberg’s The Power of Images, (1989) in her discussion of photographic representations of women also opens a window to the kind of comparative observations that Freedberg himself makes . . .. “

Bandak, “Problems of Belief: Tonalities of Immediacy among Christians of Damascus”

December 11, 2012

Bandak, Andreas. 2012. Problems of Belief: Tonalities of Immediacy among Christians of Damascus. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 77(4):535-555.


This article examines the different effects Christianity has among Christians of Damascus. Instead of focusing on devout subjects, I trace out the ramifications Christianity has in different settings. Christianity sets different kinds of foregrounds and backgrounds which in this article are attended to during the Feast of the Holy Cross. During this Christian feast, a great variety of themes are brought into play with different kinds of relations to what it is to be a Christian in Damascus. I argue that what I term tonalities of immediacy is a fertile way to understand how contingencies and histories are played upon in concrete situations. The problem of belief, I argue, is not settled by pointing to a particular Christian and Western heritage or to default reactions against imagined certainties; rather the interplay between faith and scepticism may be a productive lens through which to grasp local Christian concerns.

Shenoda, “The Politics of Faith: On Faith, Skepticism, and Miracles among Coptic Christians in Egypt”

December 11, 2012

Shenoda, Anthony. 2012. The Politics of Faith: On Faith, Skepticism, and Miracles among Coptic Christians in Egypt. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 77(4):477-495.


The relationship of faith and skepticism has rarely been discussed by anthropologists. Drawing on ethnographic work among Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt, this article explores this relationship, particularly through the lens of the miraculous. By focusing on what might be at stake in Coptic miraculous tales that address Coptic Church-State relations as well as Muslim-Christian sectarian tensions, this article pushes for an analysis of faith and skepticism that sees them as products of social relationships. An emphasis is placed on skepticism not as opposing faith, but as potentially cultivating it, especially when that skepticism is of the Muslim Other. I conclude by suggesting that if socio-political miracles often say something about the narrator’s piety, they are also stories that highlight a commitment to persecution as central to Christian faith while simultaneously offering joy and empowerment to the Copts that recount and listen to them

Thomson, “Christianity, Islam, and ‘The Religion of Pouring’: Non-linear Conversion in a Gambia/Casamance Borderland”

October 10, 2012

Thomson, Steven (2012) “Christianity, Islam, and ‘The Religion of Pouring’: Non-linear Conversion in a Gambia/Casamance Borderland.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(3):240-276 

Abstract: The twentieth-century religious history of the Kalorn (Karon Jolas) in the Alahein River Valley of the Gambia/Casamance border cannot be reduced to a single narrative. Today extended families include Muslims, Christians, and practitioners of the traditional Awasena ‘religion of pouring’. A body of funeral songs highlights the views of those who resisted pressure toward conversion to Islam through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The introduction of a Roman Catholic mission in the early 1960s created new social and economic possibilities that consolidated an identity that stood as an alternative to the Muslim-Mandinka model. This analysis emphasizes the equal importance of both macropolitical and economic factors and the more proximal effects of reference groups in understanding religious conversion. Finally, this discussion of the origins of religious pluralism within a community grants insight into how conflicts along religious lines have been defused.

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