Readings in Indigenous Religions

Front Cover
Graham Harvey
Bloomsbury Academic, Aug 27, 2002 - Religion - 371 pages
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Readings in Indigenous Religions brings together classic and recent writings concerned with contemporary indigenous religions. These significant and important works contribute both to expert discussion of important religious and cultural issues and also to on-going debates about improved methods of research. The inclusion of examples of indigenous ideological, legal and fiction writing further enhances the volume's engagement with indigenous and scholarly perspectives, experiences and interests. Readings is divided into four Parts: Ontology, Performance, Knowledge and Land. Editorial introductions make explicit the links, common themes and further ramifications of the seventeen chapters. The four chapters in 'Ontology' argue that relationships are definitive in the formation and maintenance of identities, and that the notion of 'the supernatural' is misleading. 'Performance' contains five chapters that discuss various rituals and their participants, including healing, world-making, magic and shamanising. Six chapters in 'Knowledge' demonstrate the critical importance of attending to indigenous modes of discourse about knowledges. Finally, 'Land' contains two chapters that exemplify the richness of indigenous relationships and engagements with, and knowledges of, particular places. In addition to expert descriptions of aspects of particular indigenous religious lifeways and worldviews, the readings also encourage a reconsideration of academic approaches to the study of indigenous religions. The realisation that researchers and writers are engaged in relationships with indigenous hosts proffers a challenge to academic methodologies that assert objectivity and distance. New dialogical and conversational methods of engagement promise to reconnect academia in building more equitable relationships and a healthier world.

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About the author (2002)

Graham Harvey is Reader in Religious Studies at the Open University, UK.

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