1st Edition

Anthropology of Religion: The Basics

By James Bielo Copyright 2015
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Anthropology of Religion: The Basics is an accessible and engaging introductory text organized around key issues that all anthropologists of religion face. This book uses a wide range of historical and ethnographic examples to address not only what is studied by anthropologists of religion, but how such studies are approached. It addresses questions such as:

    • How do human agents interact with gods and spirits?
    • What is the nature of doing religious ethnography?
    • Can the immaterial be embodied in the body, language and material objects?
    • What is the role of ritual, time, and place in religion?
    • Why is charisma important for religious movements?
    • How do global processes interact with religions?

    With international case studies from a range of religious traditions, suggestions for further reading, and inventive reflection boxes, Anthropology of Religion: The Basics is an essential read for students approaching the subject for the first time.

    Chapter 1: What is "Religion"?

    Chapter 2: Doing Religious Ethnography

    Chapter 3: Bodies, Words, and Things

    Chapter 4: In Time, In Place

    Chapter 5: Who Do You Trust?

    Chapter 6: Going Global


    James S. Bielo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Miami University, Ohio, USA.

    "Anthropologist Bielo uses a wide range of ethnographic examples to highlight human interactions with spirits, the embodiment of spirits in language and material objects, and the multiple roles of ritual, time, and place in religious expressions.  He astutely focuses on interactions between major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism) and local religious traditions...Chapters follow a logical progression, giving readers a sense of the anthropology of religion as a discipline.  'Reflection Boxes' invite readers to think critically and analytically about particular anthropological issues by applying conceptual models to specific case studies.  The book is well indexed and ends with useful suggestions for further reading.  A highly accessible and authoritative text organized around key issues anthropologists encounter in the study of religion. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - S. D. Glazier, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, CHOICE Review

    "What makes the text particularly helpful and interesting is Bielo's theoretical contribution...It also conveys something often lacking in academic books - a palatable passion for the subject." - Religion (review by Abby Day and Simon Coleman)

    "this is a short but powerful book, and one that I would recommend to anyone who is searching for an engaging introduction to the anthropology of religion" - Kate Yanina DeConinck, University of San Diego