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Ethnographies exploring the vastly different ways that Christianity is experienced and understood by different groups around the world.
Too often, anthropological accounts of ritual leave readers with the impression that everything goes smoothly, that rituals are "meaningful events." But what happens when rituals fail, or when they seem "meaningless"? Drawing on research in the anthropology of Christianity from around the globe, the authors in this volume suggest that in order to analyze meaning productively, we need to consider its limits. This collection is a welcome new addition to the anthropology of religion, offering fresh debates on a classic topic and drawing attention to meaning in a way that other volumes have for key terms like "culture" and "fieldwork.
Chiefly rev. papers from a conference held in Sept. 2005 at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.
This text paints a picture of conversion far more complex than its customary image in anthropology and religious studies.
"Contributes as much to advancing contemporary social theory as it does to understanding conversion."--Dale Eickelman, Dartmouth College "These rich and rewarding essays problematize a process central to Western notions of the making of modernity--the reformation of peripheral worlds under the impact of global religions. [The authors] challenge established disciplinary boundaries, providing sensitive accounts of the interplay of world-transforming movements and accounts of specific cultures and histories. In doing so, they cause us to rethink the ethnocentric, developmentalist assumptions often built into the very notion of "conversion" itself as a concept in our own scholarly tradition."--Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago
Spirits of Protestantism reveals how liberal Protestants went from being early-twentieth-century medical missionaries seeking to convert others through science and scripture, to becoming vocal critics of missionary arrogance who experimented with non-western healing modes such as Yoga and Reiki. Drawing on archival and ethnographic sources, Pamela E. Klassen shows how and why the very notion of healing within North America has been infused with a Protestant "supernatural liberalism." In the course of coming to their changing vision of healing, liberal Protestants became pioneers three times over: in the struggle against the cultural and medical pathologizing of homosexuality; in the critique of Christian missionary triumphalism; and in the diffusion of an ever-more ubiquitous anthropology of "body, mind, and spirit." At a time when the political and anthropological significance of Christianity is being hotly debated, Spirits of Protestantism forcefully argues for a reconsideration of the historical legacies and cultural effects of liberal Protestantism, even for the anthropology of religion itself.

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