Anthropology of Religion : An Introduction by
This introductory text combines discussion of
the origin and development of ideas and debates within the
anthropology of religion with a look at where the subject is
going today. It will inspire students to explore the field
further and encourage them to see that anthropology is not just
about reading or doing fieldwork, but offers an enriching way of
looking at world. There is a development of ideas throughout the
book, but each of the eight chapters is also self-contained,
with its own extensive bibliography, so that they can be
approached in any order. Each chapter introduces the central
theoretical ideas in the anthropology of religion and
illustrates them with specific case studies, for example: *
Witchcraft in America is illustrated via Evans-Pritchard's
famous study of the Azande and witchcraft in Cameroon. *
Shamanism is discussed with reference to 'classical' shamanism
in the Arctic, and to contemporary 'neo-shamanism'. * The ways
in which anthropologists approach ritual are examined
particularly in relation to women's initiation ceremonies.
Throughout, links are made between the work of nineteenth- and
early twentieth-century scholars, and contemporary ideas and
practices. The appendix consists of a list of ethnographic films
and videos that can also be used to illustrate and extend the
issues raised in the various chapters. Author Description: Fiona
Bowie is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Religious Studies
at the University of Wales, Lampeter. She is the author of
several books on spirituality, and anthropology and religion.
Contents: Introduction. 1. Historical Developments. 2. The Body
and Society. 3. Maintaining Boundaries. 4. Sex and Gender. 5.
Religion, Culture and The Environment. 6. Rites of Passage and
Ritual Violence. 7. Shamanism. 8. Witchcraft and The Evil Eye.
9. Spirit Possession Cults. 10. Pilgrimage.
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Website by Arnold Perey
How can anthropology have a scientific basis--a means
of understanding and describing cultures and people that is verifiable,
free of prejudice, true for all cultures? I present on this
website the answer to this tremendously important question that I
learned from Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by Eli
After more than thirty years of study and thought, I
say that Eli
Siegel gave to anthropology the scientific method it needs, and he
gave to anthropology the kindness it needs. In his book Self
and World is the comprehension of the human self that the social
sciences--and we ourselves--want.
Dr. Anthony Harrison-Barbet
The purpose of this site is to provide an interactive
forum for the free exchange of ideas on the general topic 'the nature of
man' (philosophical anthropology/the philosophy of culture). Ideas or
suggestions will be welcome from any interested persons whether working
in the humanities or the sciences.
By Dr. Moris Polanco
The web site for the course "Philosophical
Anthropology", taught at the University Francisco Marroquín
(Guatemala). In Spanish.
ISCA is located in a number of
buildings along the Banbury Road, a few minutes' walk north of Oxford
city centre. Some staff also work from the Pitt Rivers Museum's main
building on South Parks Road, behind the University Museum. ISCA is the
largest graduate anthropology department in the UK, with around 30
students registered for taught course graduate degrees at any one time,
and more than 60 doctoral projects currently underway. Staff research
interests are wide ranging, with a strong emphasis on the ethnography of
the non-Euro-American world. Current research interests include the
study of trade in the Indian Ocean, art in the Pacific, Indo-European
studies, refugees and forced migration in Africa and Asia, and much more
- the page on ISCA
staff gives further details. Several important research centres are
based at ISCA, including the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies and
a major ESRC research programme on Transnational Communities. Close
contact with the Pitt Rivers Museum brings collaborative research in the
areas of material culture, visual anthropology and ethnomusicology,
while visiting scholars from the UK and overseas ensure an ever changing
and vibrant research environment.
Site maintained by Dr. Anthony Harrison-Barbet
Anthropology is defined as "the study of man, his origins, physical
characteristics, institutions, religious beliefs, social relationships, etc."
and this science may be subdivided into cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, social anthropology, and so on. What then is
philosophical anthropology? In a broad sense it is a philosophical investigation into all that pertains to man. More precisely, it involves a
conceptual analysis of such issues as to whether man can be said to possess a specific 'human nature'
by which he is distinguished from other living beings, and the contrast between man as a natural entity
and as a - we might say - the cultural being. Traditional philosophical concerns such
as the apparent conflict between 'free will', determinism, and moral responsibility, the nature of consciousness, the origin of
language, the basis of value, and the like are also clearly relevant to such matters. Many thinkers have in addition attempted to go beyond
analysis to develop systematic philosophical accounts of man. The correctness of their assumptions and the validity
of their arguments have quite properly been subjected to critical examination by other
philosophers. While many thinkers from earliest times have in their philosophies dealt with problems
which might be described as appropriate to philosophical anthropology, it is generally accepted that
as a clearly identifiable autonomous branch of philosophy philosophical anthropology
dates back only to the early twentieth century. It is no coincidence that this has been a period of increasing specialization and
unprecedented expansion of technology, and one which has witnessed, perhaps as never before, the depths to which many of our species have
descended in their treatment of one another. The growth of philosophical
anthropology may be seen in part as an attempt to address both this fragmentation of knowledge and the 'human condition'...