Across the Boundaries of Belief: Contemporary Issues in the Anthropology of Religion / Edition 1

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In this collection of anthropological writings drawn from many different world areas, contemporary theoretical issues and conflicts in the anthropological study of religion are explored and illustrated. The editors present these anthropological writings on religion within a larger cultural matrix by drawing upon literature exhibiting an interdisciplinary as well as global approach.The book examines religion within social, political, and historical contexts to confront theoretical and methodological questions that apply across time and borders. How do belief systems respond to conquest and the imposition of foreign values, beliefs, and practices? What happens to religion when the colonial rulers depart? What are the relationships between gender, sexuality, and religious rules and restrictions? How is gender constructed and maintained within ideological systems? How do the beliefs and practices underlying possession and trance deal with illness and death, and how do they respond to science and other belief systems? Is religion a tool or weapon of the state—or an enemy of the people? And how does religion, often erroneously perceived as changeless and constant, respond to the pressures and technologies of this rapidly changing world? Across the Boundaries of Belief examines these issues and many others.The readings derive from interdisciplinary as well as global literature, and the titles of the sections reflect the contexts within which religion is explored and portrayed in this collection: “Colonialism and the Post-Colonial Legacy,” “Gender and Sexuality,” “The Healing Touch and Altered States,” “Religion and the State,” and “Changes and Continuities.” The book will help students and general readers to perceive religion as a pan-human institution embedded in social structures, political systems, and historical contexts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813326955
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 0.95 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Morton Klass is professor of anthropology at Barnard College.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Colonialism and Postcolonial Legacies 7
1 Anthropologists Versus Missionaries: The Influence of Presuppositions 11
2 From Tupa to the Land Without Evil: The Christianization of Tupi-Guarani Cosmology 22
3 Shamanism and Christianity: Modern-Day Tlingit Elders Look at the Past 42
4 Reflections on Christianity in China 63
Pt. 2 Gender and Sexuality 81
5 Menstruation and Reproduction: An Oglala Case 85
6 The Domestication of Religion: The Spiritual Guardianship of Elderly Jewish Women 96
7 Becoming a Mujercita: Rituals, Fiestas, and Religious Discourses 113
8 Erotic Anthropology: "Ritualized Homosexuality" in Melanesia and Beyond 133
Pt. 3 The Healing Touch and Altered States 159
9 Exorcists, Psychiatrists, and the Problems of Possession in Northwest Madagascar 163
10 The Woman Who Wanted To Be Her Father: A Case Analysis of Dybbuk Possession in a Hasidic Community 196
11 Hypnosis and Trance Induction in the Surgeries of Brazilian Spiritist Healer-Mediums 211
12 Zar as Modernization in Contemporary Sudan 227
Pt. 4 Religion and the State 249
13 Pockets Full of Mistakes: The Personal Consequences of Religious Change in a Toraja Village 253
14 Bandits, Beggars, and Ghosts: The Failure of State Control over Religious Interpretation in Taiwan 271
15 Muslim Identity and Secularism in Contemporary Turkey: "The Headscarf Dispute," 291
16 The Interpretation of Politics: A Hopi Conundrum 303
Pt. 5 Changes and Continuities 325
17 Cargoism in Irian Jaya Today 329
18 Transnational Popular Culture and the Global Spread of the Jamaican Rastafarian Movement 347
19 On Founders and Followers: Some Factors in the Development of New Religious Movements 367
20 Convicted by the Holy Spirit: The Rhetoric of Fundamental Baptist Conversion 381
Additional Readings 402
Credits 404
Index 406
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