Posts Tagged ‘Violence’

Meneses et. al., “Engaging the Religiously Committed Other: Anthropologists and Theologians in Dialogue”

January 23, 2014

Meneses, Eloise, Lindy Backues, David Bronkema, Eric Flett, and Benjamin L. Hartley. 2014. Engaging the Religiously Committed Other: Anthropologists and Theologians in Dialogue. Current Anthropology. Preprint – issue, volume, page not available. 

Abstract: Anthropology has two tasks: the scientific task of studying human beings and the instrumental task of promoting human flourishing. To date, the scientific task has been constrained by secularism, and the instrumental task by the philosophy and values of liberalism. These constraints have caused religiously based scholarship to be excluded from anthropology’s discourse, to the detriment of both tasks. The call for papers for the 2009 meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) recognized the need to “push the field’s epistemological and presentational conventions” in order to reach anthropology’s various publics. Religious thought has much to say about the human condition. It can expand the discourse in ways that provide explanatory value as well as moral purpose and hope. We propose an epistemology of witness for dialogue between anthropologists and theologians, and we demonstrate the value added with an example: the problem of violence.

Duncan, “Violence and Vengeance”

October 27, 2013

Duncan, Christopher. 2013. Violence and Vengeance: Religious and Its Aftermath in Eastern Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Publisher’s Description: Between 1999 and 2000, sectarian fighting fanned across the eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. What began as local conflicts between migrants and indigenous people over administrative boundaries spiraled into a religious war pitting Muslims against Christians and continues to influence communal relationships more than a decade after the fighting stopped. Christopher R. Duncan spent several years conducting fieldwork in North Maluku, and in Violence and Vengeance, he examines how the individuals actually taking part in the fighting understood and experienced the conflict.

Rather than dismiss religion as a facade for the political and economic motivations of the regional elite, Duncan explores how and why participants came to perceive the conflict as one of religious difference. He examines how these perceptions of religious violence altered the conflict, leading to large-scale massacres in houses of worship, forced conversions of entire communities, and other acts of violence that stressed religious identities. Duncan’s analysis extends beyond the period of violent conflict and explores how local understandings of the violence have complicated the return of forced migrants, efforts at conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Hodge, “The Catholic Church in Timor-Leste”

April 10, 2013

Hodge, Joel.  2013.  The Catholic Church in Timor-Leste and the Indonesian occupation: A spirituality of suffering and resistance.  South East Asia Research 21(1): 151-170.

Abstract: During the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste (1975-99), the Roman Catholic Church grew in importance to the East Timorese people. This is demonstrated by the large increase in Timorese affiliation to the Church: 25-30% of the populace were baptized Catholics in 1975 compared with over 90% in the 1990s. Various explanations have been offered for this growth, many of which identify ‘extrinsic’ factors such as the religious prescriptions of Indonesian law or the pressures of Islamization. While acknowledging the importance of these factors, this paper argues that certain intrinsic factors substantially influenced the identification of the Timorese experience of occupation with Catholic faith and solidarity. An understanding of these intrinsic factors can provide a more expansive understanding of Timorese culture, experience and history. Drawing on original research into the faith and experience of Timorese people during the occupation, the author explores the relationship between suffering, resistance and the Catholic faith of the Timorese in four areas: language; ‘a spirituality of resistance’; martyrdom; and sanctuary and advocacy for the persecuted. The paper draws on the insights of French philosopher and literary critic, René Girard, regarding the importance of Christianity in the context of violence. Girard has argued for a particular understanding of the centrality of the victim in human culture and of how Christianity helps to reveal this centrality. Girard’s perspective sheds light on how the Timorese came to terms with their experience of suffering and violence under Indonesian occupation through their identification with Jesus Christ and the Church.

van de Kamp, “Converting the Spirit Spouse”

December 20, 2011

van de Kamp, Linda. 2011. Converting the Spirit Spouse: the Violent Transformation of the Pentecostal Female Body in Maputo, Mozambique. Ethnos 76(4): 510-533.

Abstract: This article discusses the forceful transformation of the female body in Brazilian Pentecostalism in urban Mozambique and argues for an understanding of Pentecostal conversion as embodying spiritual warfare. Presenting the case of avenging spirits, such as the spirit spouse, it explores how spirits interfere in women’s new socio-economic positions and intimate relationships. Pentecostal women learn to stay in control of their body under guidance of the Holy Spirit and a ‘violent’ war against the spirit spouse unfolds. The prevalence of ‘violence’ implies that we should critically question a perception of conversion as bringing healing and harmony.

Shenoda, “Reflections on the (In)Visibility of Copts in Egypt”

October 11, 2011

Shenoda, Anthony (2011) ” Reflections on the (In)Visibility of Copts in Egypt. Jadaliyya.

First Paragraph: “I’ve been thinking lately about the circumstances under which Coptic Christians emerge on the Egyptian socio-political landscape. Those circumstances tend to be, in a word, ugly. Copts become a visible religious community when they are attacked. And then Westerners in particular wonder: “Who are the Copts?” (I should also point out, however, that although well aware of the existence of Copts, or al-aqbat in Arabic, most Egyptian Muslims are equally unfamiliar with Coptic religiosity.) This strange play between visibility and invisibility is the problematic that I take up here, arguing that what is desirable for Copts in a new Egypt is a visibility that takes seriously their religiosity. I do so by drawing on ethnographic fieldwork I have been doing among Copts and reflecting on recent events in Egypt.”

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