Religion and Healing in America / Edition 1

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Throughout much of the modern era, faith healing received attention only when it came into conflict with biomedical practice. During the 1990s, however, American culture changed dramatically and religious healing became a commonplace feature of our society. Increasing numbers of mainstream churches and synagogues began to hold held "healing services" and "healing circles." The use of complementary and alternative therapies-some connected with spiritual or religious traditions-became widespread, and the growing hospice movement drew attention to the spiritual aspects of medical care. At the same time, changes in immigration laws brought to the United States new cultural communities, each with their own approaches to healing. Cuban santeros, Haitian mambos and oungans, Cambodian Buddhist priests, Chinese herbalist-acupuncturists, and Hmong shamans are only a few of the newer types of American religious healers, often found practicing within blocks of prestigious biomedical institutions.
This book offers a richly comprehensive collection of essays examining this new reality. It brings together, for the first time, scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives to explore the relatively uncharted field of religious healing as understood and practiced in diverse cultural communities in the United States. The book will be an invaluable resource for students of anthropology, religious studies, American studies, and ethnic studies, health care professionals, clergy, and anyone interested in the changing American cultural landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A remarkable work that provides important insights into the diversity of religion and healing in the United States." —Nova Religio

"Wide-ranging. Its wealth of descriptive examples span the major ethnic and immigrant groups within the contemporary United States, most major world religious systems, and recent cultural trends such as New Age religious activities and rising interest in complementary-alternative medicine." —American Anthropologist

"A rich overview of religious healing in numerous contexts. A valuable overview of the diversity of religious healing approaches in U.S. society." —Medical Anthropology Quarterly

"Compelling and comprehensive, Barnes and Sered introduce u to the breadth of the field and a range of analytical approaches that will both intrigue and provoke academics in further debate. Research students and academics will be grateful to the editors for the care and attention lavished on this volume." —Reviews in Religion and Theology

"A brilliant contribution to the qualitative study of religion and health.... This volume could be a core text in an undergraduate or graduate-level course on religion and healing in society, ritual studies, or field methods." —Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167962
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/8/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 552
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda L. Barnes directs the Boston Healing Landscape Project, an institute for the study of religions, medicines, and healing, at Boston University School of Medicine, where she is on the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics. She is a historian, medical anthropologist, and religion scholar whose work bridges these disciplines.
Susan S. Sered is the research director of the Religion, Health and Healing Initiative at Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions, and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bar Ilan University in Israel. Her work spans the fields of medical anthropology, religious studies, and gender studies. Sered's award-winning books include Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women (OUP, 1994).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 The cult of the saints and the reimagination of the space and time of sickness in twentieth-century American Catholicism 29
2 The "spiritual healing project" : a study of the meaning of spiritual healing in the United Church of Christ 49
3 Ritual and magic : two diverse approaches to inner healing in the Cambodian American community 59
4 Procreating women and religion : the politics of spirituality, healing, and childbirth in America 71
5 Healing into wholeness in the Episcopal church 89
6 Miraculous migrants to the City of Angels : perceptions of El Santo Nino de Atocha and San Simon as sources of health and healing 103
7 "God made a miracle in my life" : Latino Pentecostal healing in the borderlands 123
8 The gathering of traditions : the reciprocal alliance of history, ecology, health, and community among the contemporary Chumash 139
9 Religious healing among war-traumatized African immigrants 159
10 Making Wanga : reality constructions and the magical manipulation of power 173
11 "Our work is change for the sake of justice" : Hope Community, Minneapolis, Minnesota 195
12 Communing with the dead : spiritual and cultural healing in Chicano/a communities 205
13 Spirituality and aging in the San Francisco Japanese community 217
14 Healing as resistance : reflections upon new forms of American Jewish healing 231
15 Healing in feminist Wicca 253
16 Sexual healing : self-help and therapeutic Christianity in the ex-gay movement 265
17 "Jesus is my doctor" : healing and religion in African American women's lives 281
18 Gender and healing in Navajo society 291
19 Multiple meanings of Chinese healing in the United States 307
20 Rituals of healing in African American spiritual churches 333
21 Complementary and alternative medicine in America's "two Buddhisms" 343
22 La Mesa del Santo Nino de Atocha and the Conchero dance tradition of Mexico-Tenochtilan : religious healing in urban Mexico and the United States 359
23 Subtle energies and the American metaphysical tradition 375
24 Taking seriously the nature of religious healing in America 387
25 Dimensions of Islamic religious healing in America 407
26 Health, faith traditions, and South Asian Indians in North America 423
27 Hmong Shamanism : Animist spiritual healing in America's urban heartland 439
28 Spirituality and the healing of addictions : a Shamanic drumming approach 455
29 The healing genes 471
30 Religion and healing : the four expectations 487
31 Afterword : a physician's reflections 505
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