Across the boundaries of belief: contemporary issues in the anthropology of religion

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Westview Press, 1999 - Religion - 416 pages
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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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Reflections on Christianity in China Morton H Fried

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About the author (1999)

Morton Klass is professor of anthropology at Barnard College.

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