Bialecki, Jon (Reed College) – Ethnography of Global Christianities

SPRING 2008 12:40:4:00 TU:TH PSYCH 102

Professor Jon Bialecki
Elliot 100A,
Office Hours TBA (& by appointment)

Course Requirements

  • Attendance and Participation: Conference members are expected to attend regularly
    and participate in conference discussions.
  • Final Paper: A fifteen to twenty page research paper is due on May12th. Papers must
    be given in both paper and electronic formats. The paper, on a topic of the student’s
    choice, should incorporate course themes and readings, but it may also incorporate
    outside research. A one-paragraph paper proposal (no longer than 250 words) will be
    submitted by students on March 25th. No late final papers will be accepted. During the
    final three weeks of class, students will give a brief (ten minute) presentation on their
    research work to the class.
  • Moodle: Students are required to post one question per class to the class Moodle; these
    should be posted in a timely manner to give other students an opportunity to read them
    in advance.

Tentative Schedule of Readings

January 29th

Jenkins, P. (2002) “The Next Christianity” The Atlantic Monthly, 290(3): 53-68. [available
on Electronic Reserve]

January 31st
Harding, S. (1991). “Representing Fundamentalism: The Problem of the Repugnant Cultural Other.” Social Research 58(2): 373B393. [available on Electronic Reserve]

Robbins, Joel. (2003). “What is a Christian? Notes toward an anthropology of Christianity.” Religion 33(3): 191B199. [available on Electronic Reserve]

February 5th
Engelke, M. (2002). “The Problem of Belief – Evans Pritchard and Victor Turner on ‘the
inner life’.”‘Anthropology’Today 18(6): 2-8. [available on Electronic Reserve]

Asad, T. (1993) Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity
and Islam. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, (Chapters 1-2). [Available on Hard

February 7th
Sahlins, M. (1996) “The Sadness of Sweetness: The Native Anthropology of Western
Cosmology” Current’Anthropology 37(3): 395B428. [available on Electronic Reserve]

Cannell, F. (2005). “The Christianity of Anthropology.” The Journal of the Royal
Anthropological’Institute 11(2): 335B356. [available on Electronic Reserve]

February 12th
Rafael V. (1992) Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule. Durham: Duke University Press. [Introduction, Chapters 1 & 3; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserves]

February 14th
Contracting’Colonialism, cont. [Chapters 4B6, Afterwards].

February 19th
Robbins, J. (2004) Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society. Berkeley, University of California Press. [Prologue, Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

February 21st
Becoming Sinners, cont. [Chapters 3-5]

February 26th
Becoming Sinners, cont. [Chapters 6-8, Conclusion].

February 28th
Meyer, B. (1999). Translating the Devil: Religion and Modernity among the Ewe in Ghana. Trenton: Africa World Press [Intro, Chapters 1, 2, 3; availability to be determined].

March 4th
Translating the Devil, cont. [sections TBA]

March 6th
Keane, W. (1998). Calvin in the Tropics: Objects and Subjects at the Religious Frontier. In Border Fetishism. P. Spyer, ed. London: Routledge. [available on Electronic Reserve]

Keane, W. (2002). Sincerity, “Modernity,” and the Protestants. Cultural Anthropology 17(1):65B92. [available on Electronic Reserve]

March 11th
Engelke, Matthew. (2007). A Problem of Presence: beyond Scripture in an African church. Berkeley: University of California Press. [Sections TBA; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

March 13th
A Problem of Presence, cont. [Sections TBA]

March 25th
A Problem of Presence, cont. [Sections TBA]

March 27th
Keller, E. (2005). The Road to Clarity. New York: Palgrave. [Introduction, Chapters 1B7;
available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

April 1st
The Road to Clarity, cont. [Chapters 8B12]

April 3rd
Austin-Broos, D. (1997) Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Orders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Forward, Introduction, Chapters 1B3; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

April 8th
Jamaica Genesis, cont. [Chapters 4 – 6]

April 10th
Jamaica Genesis, cont. [Chapters 7 – 9, conclusion].

April 15th
Weigele, K. (2005). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular
Catholicism in the Philippines. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. [Chapters 1B 5; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

April 17th
Investing in Miracles, cont. [Chapters 6B7, Epilogue]

Coleman, Simon (2006). Materializing the Self: Words and Gifts in the Construction of Charismatic Protestant Identity. In The Anthropology of Christianity. F. Cannell, ed. Pp. 163-184. Durham: Duke University Press. [Available in Electronic Reserve]

April 22nd
Lester, R. (2005). Jesus in Our Wombs: Embodying Modernity in a Mexican Convent. Berkeley: University of California Press. [Sections TBA; available in Bookstore, Hard Reserve]

April 24th
Jesus in Our Wombs, cont. [Sections TBA]

April 29th

Harding, S. (2000) Book of Jerry Falwell. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [Preface- Acknowledgements, Introduction, Chapters 1 – 6].

May 1st
Book of Jerry Falwell, cont. [7-10, Postscript].