Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Cannell, “The Blood of Abraham”

April 1, 2013

Cannell, Fenella. 2013. The Blood of Abraham: Mormon redemptive physicality and American idioms of kinship. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(s1):77-94.

Abstract: For Latter-day Saints, blood is one important idiom of kinship, and of Christian worship, but not in the ways one might expect. This paper asks how the logic of the resurrected and ‘perfected’ body inhabits both registers, beginning with the surprisingly ‘bloodless’ LDS Sacrament Service. I then explore the paths by which Latter-day Saints navigate meanings of blood kinship in tension, especially attribution to the ‘Abrahamic lineages’. I argue, in agreement with Armand Mauss, that contemporary Mormonism has largely shed racist readings of ‘blood’, but suggest that both lineage and cognatic kinship as mystery remain salient through a ‘reduplicative logic’ which collapses physical inheritance, agency, and revelation. This illuminates both similarities to and differences from conservative American Protestant positions, including understandings of the life of the unborn fetus and the rights and wrongs of stem cell research.

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Heo, “The Bodily Threat of Miracles”

February 7, 2013

Heo, Angie. 2013. The Bodily Threat of Miracles: Security, Sacramentality, and the Egyptian Politics of Public Order. American Ethnologist 40(1):149-164.

Abstract: This article examines the political and public culture of Coptic Christian miracles through the circulation and reproduction of images and the mimetic entanglements of artifacts and objects. To understand the threat posed by one case of a woman’s oil-exuding hand, this study points to how semiotic orders of security and sacramentality intersect in the regulation of bodily miracles. It explores Coptic Orthodox Church and Egyptian state efforts to contain the activity of images and transform the public nature of truthful witness and divine testimony. In doing so, it suggests how the material structure of saintly imagination introduces bodily and visual challenges to an authoritarian politics of public order.

Mosse, “The Saint in the Banyan Tree”

January 4, 2013

Mosse, David.  2012.  The Saint in the Banyan Tree: Christianity and Caste Society in India.  Berkeley: University of California Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Saint in the Banyan Tree is a nuanced and historically persuasive exploration of Christianity’s remarkable trajectory as a social and cultural force in southern India. Starting in the seventeenth century, when the religion was integrated into Tamil institutions of caste and popular religiosity, this study moves into the twentieth century, when Christianity became an unexpected source of radical transformation for the country’s ‘untouchables’ (dalits). Mosse shows how caste was central to the way in which categories of ‘religion’ and ‘culture’ were formed and negotiated in missionary encounters, and how the social and semiotic possibilities of Christianity lead to a new politic of equal rights in South India. Skillfully combining archival research with anthropological fieldwork, this book examines the full cultural impact of Christianity on Indian religious, social and political life. Connecting historical ethnography to the preoccupations of priests and Jesuit social activists, Mosse throws new light on the contemporary nature of caste, conversion, religious synthesis, secularization, dalit politics, the inherent tensions of religious pluralism, and the struggle for recognition among subordinated people.

Lebner, “A Christian Politics of Friendship on a Brazilian Frontier”

December 11, 2012

Lebner, Ashley. 2012. A Christian Politics of Friendship on a Brazilian Frontier. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 77(4):496-517.

Abstract
This paper explores ethnography of municipal elections, promise-making and miracles to show how Christians problematise both friendship and politics on a settler frontier in Brazilian Amazonia. Bringing these themes together generates new anthropological perspectives on each, while complimenting Derrida’s critique of Schmitt’s friend–enemy distinction – his definition of the political. Yet the main ethnographic point complicates the argument that both Schmitt and Brazilianist anthropologists critiquing clientelism have made: that Christianity reflects and legitimises the political order. In contrast, I show how the problem of friendship, produced through Christian concerns with presence, legitimises and deligitimises politics at once. The overarching message is that politics, friendship (sociality) and Christianity – usually kept analytically separate – are uniquely clarified where they intersect, as they pass through persons, who foreground and background these domains themselves.

Kehoe, “Militant Christianity”

December 4, 2012

Kehoe, Alice Beck. 2012. Militant Christianity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher’s Description: Today’s militant Christians follow an ancient ethos we can trace four thousand years to the Battle-ax culture of early Indo-Europeans. Roman Emperor Constantine, from a Germanic background, approved Christianity in AD 312, believing it promised he would be ‘the Anointed’ greatest emperor. His Indo-European militarism characterized northern European Christianity, through Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s aggressive Protestantism, American colonization ruthlessly dispossessing Indian nations, rise of competitive capitalism, to contemporary White American Protestants fighting to make America an officially Christian nation. Taking a broad anthropological approach, Militant Christianity is a new insight into the culture of ‘Christian Warriors.’

Keane, “Reflections on Political Theology in the Pacific”

December 3, 2012

Keane, Webb. Afterword: Reflections on Political Theology in the Pacific. In Christian Politics in Oceania, eds. Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. London: Berghahn Books.

Robbins, “Why is There No Political Theology among the Urapmin”

December 3, 2012

Robbins, Joel. 2012. Why is There No Political Theology among the Urapmin?: On Diarchy, Sects as Big as Society, and the Diversity of Pentecostal Politics. In Christian Politics in Oceania, eds. Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. London: Berghahn Books.

White, “Chiefs, Church and State”

December 3, 2012

White, Geoffrey. 2012. Chiefs, Church and State in Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands. In Christian Politics in Oceania, eds. Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. London: Berghahn Books.

Barker, “Anthropology and the Politics of Christianity”

December 3, 2012

Barker, John. 2012. Anthropology and the Politics of Christianity in Papua New Guinea. In Christian Politics in Oceania, eds. Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. London: Berghahn Books.

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