University of Edinburgh School of Social & Political Science Social Anthropology 2014 – 2015
Semester 1 Anthropology of Christianity (SCAN10064)
Lecture: Thursday 14:10 to 16:00 Seminar Room 4 Crystal Macmillan Building
Since its first moments, both anthropological theory and ethnographic description have engaged with Christianity as a social and cultural form. Starting in the new millennium, however, there has been an increased level of anthropological and ethnographic attention to Christianity, and several programmatic calls for the development of an anthropology of Christianity as a self-conscious comparative arena within the discipline. This interest has taken two forms. The first form is documenting self-identified Christian communities, both in the developed world and in the ‘global south’ (a place where Christianity has experienced near-exponential growth). The second form is an increased scrutiny of the Christian roots of the discipline, with an eye towards how this Christian inheritance may serve as either an asset or a liability in the ethnographic study of both Christian and non-Christian populations.
This course will introduce students to both aspects of the anthropology of Christianity. It will address the theoretical literature on the relationship of common Christian ontological and epistemological presumptions in both historical and contemporary ethnographic inquiry; it will review debates concerning both what an anthropology of Christianity might be like, and whether or not Christianity is a coherent category for comparative anthropological thought; it will introduce students to the geographic and doctrinal varieties of Christianities that have been the object of ethnographic inquiry, and it will open up the question of what relationship Christianity may have to other institutions and concerns that have also been the recurrent object of anthropological inquiry.
The course will consist of one two-hour session a week for the whole class (20 contact hours). The two-hour sessions will involve a mixture of lectures, presentations, debates, and videos.
The instructors for the course are:
– Dr. Jon Bialecki, CMB 5.01
– Dr. Naomi Haynes Room 2.2, 22 George Square
The convener for this course is Dr. Bialecki; he should be the chief contact for all issues involving course mechanics.
You are strongly encouraged to use email for routine communication with lecturers. We shall also use email to communicate with you, e.g., to assign readings for the second hour of each class. All students are provided with email addresses on the university system, if you are not sure of your address, which is based on your matric number, check your EUCLID database entry using the Student Portal.
This is the ONLY email address we shall use to communicate with you. Please note that we will NOT use ‘private’ email addresses (such as Yahoo or Hotmail). It is therefore essential that you check your university email regularly, preferably each day.
This course will be assessed by a combination of
(i) A short essay (word-limit: 1000), due 14 October
(ii) A long essay (word-limit:1,500), due 9 December
(iii) Class participation (10%).
The short essay carries a weighting of 20% towards the final overall mark for the course as a whole, and the long essay carries a weighting of 70%.
Both short and long essays are take home, open book examinations. The specific prompts for each essay will be distributed no later than three days before the essays are due.
The following are some of the criteria through which the essays will be marked. However, it is important to note that the overall mark is a result of a holistic assessment of the assignment as a whole.
A. Does the essay address the question with sufficient focus?
B. Does the essay show a grasp of the relevant concepts and knowledge?
C. Does the essay demonstrate a logical and effective pattern of argument?
D. Does the essay support an argument with relevant examples?
E. Does the essay demonstrate reflexivity and critical thinking in relation to arguments and evidence?
F. Is the essay written clearly and convincingly?
G. Is the essay adequately presented in terms of: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; layout and visual presentation?
ELMA: Submission and return of coursework
Coursework is submitted online using our electronic submission system, ELMA. You will not be required to submit a paper copy of your work. Marked coursework, grades and feedback will be returned to you via ELMA. You will not receive a paper copy of your marked course work or feedback. For information, help and advice on submitting coursework and accessing feedback, please see the ELMA wiki at https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/SPSITWiki/ELMA.
Further detailed guidance on the essay deadline and a link to the wiki and submission page will be available on the course Learn page. The wiki is the primary source of information on how to submit your work correctly and provides advice on approved file formats, uploading cover sheets and how to name your files correctly. When you submit your work electronically, you will be asked to tick a box confirming that your work complies with university regulations on plagiarism. This confirms that the work you have submitted is your own.
Occasionally, there can be technical problems with a submission. We request that you monitor your university student email account in the 24 hours following the deadline for submitting your work. If there are any problems with your submission the course secretary will email you at this stage. We undertake to return all coursework within 15 working days of submission. This time is needed for marking, moderation, second marking and input of results. If there are any unanticipated delays, it is the course organiser’s responsibility to inform you of the reasons.
All our coursework is assessed anonymously to ensure fairness: to facilitate this process put your Examination number (on your student card), not your name or student number, on your coursework or cover sheet.
Plagiarism Guidance for Students
Avoiding Plagiarism: Material you submit for assessment, such as your essays, must be your own work. You can, and should, draw upon published work, ideas from lectures and class discussions, and (if appropriate) even upon discussions with other students, but you must always make clear that you are doing so. Passing off anyone else’s work (including another student’s work or material from the Web or a published author) as your own is plagiarism and will be punished severely. When you upload your work to ELMA you will be asked to check a box to confirm the work is your own. ELMA automatically runs all submissions through ‘Turnitin’, our plagiarism detection software, and compares every essay against a constantly-updated database, which highlights all plagiarised work. Assessed work that contains plagiarised material will be awarded a mark of zero, and serious cases of plagiarism will also be reported to the College Academic Misconduct officer. In either case, the actions taken will be noted permanently on the student’s record. For further details on plagiarism see the Academic Services’ website: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/academicservices/students/undergraduate/discipline/plagiarism
Return of Feedback Feedback for coursework will be returned online via ELMA on:
- Short essay (due 14 October) – 4 th November 2014
- Long essay (due 9 December) – 30th December 2014
Learning Resources for Undergraduates
The Study Development Team at the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) provides resources and workshops aimed at helping all students to enhance their learning skills and develop effective study techniques. Resources and workshops cover a range of topics, such as managing your own learning, reading, note making, essay and report writing, exam preparation and exam techniques.
The study development resources are housed on ‘LearnBetter’ (undergraduate), part of Learn, the University’s virtual learning environment. Follow the link from the IAD Study Development web page to enrol: www.ed.ac.uk/iad/undergraduates
Workshops are interactive: they will give you the chance to take part in activities, have discussions, exchange strategies, share ideas and ask questions. They are 90 minutes long and held on Wednesday afternoons at 1.30pm or 3.30pm. The schedule is available from the IAD Undergraduate web page (see above).
Workshops are open to all undergraduates but you need to book in advance, using the MyEd booking system. Each workshop opens for booking 2 weeks before the date of the workshop itself. If you book and then cannot attend, please cancel in advance through MyEd so that another student can have your place. (To be fair to all students, anyone who persistently books on workshops and fails to attend may be barred from signing up for future events).
Study Development Advisors are also available for an individual consultation if you have specific questions about your own approach to studying, working more effectively, strategies for improving your learning and your academic work. Please note, however, that Study Development Advisors are not subject specialists so they cannot comment on the content of your work. They also do not check or proof read students’ work.
To make an appointment with a Study Development Advisor, email email@example.com (For support with English Language, you should contact the English Language Teaching Centre).
Word Count Penalties
Your short essay should be no more than 1000 words (excluding bibliography) and your long essay should be no more than 1500 words (excluding bibliography). Essays above 1000 words (short essay) and 1500 words (long essay) will be penalised using the Ordinary level criterion of 1 mark for every 20 words over length: anything between 1001 and 1020 words will lose one mark, between 1001 and 1040 two marks, and so on. You will not be penalised for submitting work below the word limit. However, you should note that shorter essays are unlikely to achieve the required depth and that this will be reflected in your mark.
The Operation of Lateness Penalties
Unlike in Years 1 and 2, NO EXTENSIONS ARE GRANTED WITH RESPECT TO THE SUBMISSION DEADLINES FOR ANY ASSESSED WORK At HONOURS LEVEL. Managing deadlines is a basic life-skill that you are expected to have acquired by the time you reach Honours. Timely submission of all assessed items (coursework, essays, project reports, etc.) is a vitally important responsibility at this stage in your university career. Unexcused lateness can put at risk your prospects of proceeding to Senior Honours and can damage your final degree grade.
If you miss the submission deadline for any piece of assessed work 5 marks will be deducted for each calendar day that work is late, up to a maximum of five calendar days (25 marks). Thereafter, a mark of zero will be recorded. There is no grace period for lateness and penalties begin to apply immediately following the deadline. For example, if the deadline is Tuesday at 12 noon, work submitted on Tuesday at 12.01pm will be marked as one day late, work submitted at 12.01pm on Wednesday will be marked as two days late, and so on.
Failure to submit an item of assessed work will result in a mark of zero, with potentially very serious consequences for your overall degree class, or no degree at all. It is therefore always in your interest to submit work, even if very late.
Please be aware that all work submitted is returned to students with a provisional mark and without applicable penalties in the first instance. The mark you receive on ELMA is therefore subject to change following the consideration of the Lateness Penalty Waiver Panel (please see below for further information) and the Board of Examiners.
How to Submit a Lateness Penalty Waiver Form
If there are extenuating circumstances beyond your control which make it essential for you to submit work after the deadline you must fill in a ‘Lateness Penalty Waiver’ (LPW) form to state the reason for your lateness. This is a request for any applicable penalties to be removed and will be considered by the Lateness Penalty Waiver Panel.
Before submitting an LPW, please consider carefully whether your circumstances are (or were) significant enough to justify the lateness. Such circumstances should be serious and exceptional (e.g. not a common cold or a heavy workload). Computer failures are not regarded as justifiable reason for late submission. You are expected to regularly back-up your work and allow sufficient time for uploading it to ELMA. You should submit the LPW form and supply an expected date of submission as soon as you are able to do so, and preferably before the deadline. Depending on the circumstances, supporting documentation may be required, so please be prepared to provide this where possible.
LPW forms can be found in a folder outside your SSO’s office, on online at: http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/undergrad/on_course_students/assessment_and_regulations/ coursework_requirements/coursework_requirements_honours
Forms should be returned by email or, if possible, in person to your SSO. They will sign the form to indicate receipt and will be able to advise you if you would like further guidance or support.
Please Note: Signing the LPW form by either your SSO or Personal Tutor only indicates acknowledgment of the request, not the waiving of lateness penalties. Final decisions on all marks rest with Examination Boards.
There is a dedicated SSO for students in each subject area in SPS. To find out who your SSO is, and how to contact them, please find your home subject area on the table below:
If you find yourself struggling due to illness, an accident or bereavement, you can ask your Personal Tutor and Student Support Officer for advice on applying for Special Circumstances. You should also read the Special Circumstances section of the Honours Handbook.
Confirmation of Marks
All coursework assessment is reviewed at a formal Examination Board held at the end of semester 2, in late May/early June. All marks returned to you are provisional until confirmed by the Board. Provisional course marks are posted on ELMA; once confirmed, final marks are transmitted to Academic Registry and uploaded to EUCLID. Students taking SSPS degrees also receive an email telling them to check EUCLID.
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should have extensive and specialist knowledge of the history of Anthropological theorization of Christianity. They should also have extensive and specialist knowledge of the current field of the anthropology of Christianity (including debates within the sub-field, as well as critiques of it). Students should also have an expert and specialist knowledge of the global demographics of Christianity, as well as the variety of forms of Christianity. Finally, students should have an expert and specialist knowledge of the ethnographic depiction of Christian forms, and the way that anthropologists have via ethnography articulated linkages between Christianity and various anthropological objects including citizenship, politics and nation-building, exchange and economic activity, language use and metapragmatics, modernity, kinship, the self, embodiment, psychology and cognition.
Through participation in course readings, lecture, discussions, exercises and assessment, students will:
- Gain a substantive knowledge of the areas listed above (Christianity in disciplinary history, calls for and debates concerning the anthropology of Christianity, global demographics, ethnographic study of Christian communities).
- Students will also gain a capacity to critique and evaluate assigned ethnographic and theoretical material, as well as additional material they may encounter in other venues that are pertinent to the concerns of the course.
- Students will gain an ability to also engage in and critique other anthropological discussion of modes of religiosity that are analogous to Christianity in either ethnographic description or theoretical articulation.
- Students will be able to relate goals a through c to wider discussions and debates in the discipline of anthropology.
- Students will also develop a capacity to work with (in the form of texts and audio-visual recordings) ‘raw’ ethnographic data from Christian communities, that is, material either not collected by an ethnographer, or not placed with an ethnographic text in the service of an argument; they will be able to analyze this material in light of the above texts, problematics, and disciplinary discussions. This exercise will prepare them for a capacity to think both ethnographically and critically about the Christianity as an anthropological concept and ethnographic object, but will also train them to possible produce their own ethnographic texts at a latter stage of their academic development.
List of Readings and Lecture/discussion topics
Week One: Intro JB
– Jenkins, P. 2002. “The Next Christianity” The Atlantic Monthly, 290(3): 53-68 [ejournal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Harding, S. 1991. “Representing Fundamentalism: The Problem of the Repugnant Cultural Other.” Social Research 58(2): 373-393. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Robbins, J. 2003. “What is a Christian? Notes toward an anthropology of Christianity.” Religion 33(3): 191-199. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Cannell, F. 2006. Introduction: the anthropology of Christianity In: Cannell, Fenella, (ed.) The anthropology of Christianity. Duke University Press, Durham; pp. 1-50 [ML Stand & HUB: BR115.C8 Ant] [e-reserve]
Week Two: Christianity of Anthropology JB
– Engelke, M. (2002). “The Problem of Belief – Evans-Pritchard and Victor Turner on ‘the inner life’.” Anthropology Today 18(6): 2-8.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Asad, T. (1993) Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press; pp. 27-54 (Chapter 1). [ML Stand & HUB: BL50 Asa] [e-reserve]
– Sahlins, M. (1996) “The Sadness of Sweetness: The Native Anthropology of Western Cosmology” Current Anthropology 37(3): 395-428. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Cannell, F. (2005). “The Christianity of Anthropology.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11(2): 335-356. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Week 3 – Rupture NH
– Engelke, M. 2010. “Past Pentecostalism: notes on rupture, realignment, and everyday Life in Pentecostal and African Independent Churches.” Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 80(2):177-199[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Chua, Liana. 2012. “Conversion, continuity, and moral dilemmas among Christian Bidayuhs in Malaysian Borneo.” American Ethnologist 39(3):511–526. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Robbins, Joel. 2007. “Continuity Thinking and the Problem of Christian Culture” Current Anthropology 48(1):5-17. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Meyer, Birgit. 1998. ‘Make a Complete Break with the past.’ Memory and PostColonial Modernity in Ghanaian Pentecostalist Discourse.” Journal of Religion in Africa 283(3): 316-349. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z ejournal list]
– Recommended: Robbins, Joel. 2004. “Revival, Second-Stage Conversion, and the Localization of the Urapmin Church.” In Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society. University of California Press, Berkeley; chapter three – pp 122-154.[e-book available via Library catalogue]
Week 4 – Protestant Language Ideology JB
– Keane, Webb. 2002. Sincerity, “Modernity,” and the Protestants. Cultural Anthropology 17(1):65-92. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z ejournal list]
– Tomlinson, Matt. 2012. God speaking to God: Translation and unintelligibility at a Fijian Pentecostal crusade. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 23(3):274– 289.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list
– Engelke, Matthew. 2007. A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church. Berkeley: University of California Press. Chapters 5 and 6 pp 171-223.[ebook available via Library catalogue]
– Shoaps, Robin. 2002. “Pray Earnestly”: The Textual Construction of Personal Involvement in Pentecostal Prayer and Song, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 12(1): 34-71[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Handman, Courtney. 2011. Israelite Genealogies and Christian Commitment: The Limits of Language Ideologies in Guhu-Samane Christianity. Anthropological Quarterly 84(3): 655-677 [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z ejournal list]
Week 5 – Economies NH
– Coleman, Simon. 2004. “The Charismatic Gift.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 10(2):421-442 [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Elisha, Omri. 2008. Moral Ambitions Of Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical Faith-Based Activism. Cultural Anthropology 23(1): 154-189. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Haynes, Naomi. 2013. Potential and problems of Pentecostal exchange. American Anthropologist 115(1):85-95. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Week 6 – Gender NH
– Eriksen, Annelin. 2012. The pastor and the prophetess: an analysis of gender and Christianity in Vanuatu. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 18(1):103– 122. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Austin Broos, Dianne. 1997. Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Orders. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Chapter 7, pp 133-157. [ML Stand: BR1644.5.J25 Aus]
– Mayblin, Maya (Current Anthropology in press – in press) [Distributed via LEARN]
– Thornton, Brendan Jamal. 2013. Residual Masculinity and the Cultivation of Negative Charisma in a Caribbean Pentecostal Community. In Charles Lindholm, ed, The Anthropology of Religious Charisma. New York, Palgrave Macmillan: chapter 5 117-146. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Week 7 – Subjectification NH
– Burdick, John, 1996. Looking for God in Brazil: The Progressive Catholic Church in Urban Brazil’s Religious Arena. Berkeley, University of California Press; Chapter 7, pp182-220. [ML: BX1466.2 Bur] [Excluded for scanning][e-book]
– Harding, Susan. 2001. The Moral Majority Jeremiad. In The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. Princeton University Press, Princeton; Chapter 6, pp 153-182. [ML HUB: BT82.2 Har – also in NC]
– O’Neill, Kevin. 2009. City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala. Berkeley, University of California Press; Chapters 1 & 3, 31-59, 87-114 [ML Stand: BV3777.G9 One] [e-book]
– Engelke, Matthew. 2013. God’s Agents: Biblical Publicity in Contemporary England. Berkeley, University of California Press; Chapter 5, 162-187. e-book available via Library catalogue
– Recommended: Marshall, Ruth. 2009. Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria. Chicago, University of Chicago Press; Chapter One, pp. 17- 50. [ML: BR1644.5.N6 Mar] [e-book]
Week 8 – Subjectivities JB
– Daswani, Girish. 2013. On Christianity and ethics: Rupture as ethical practice in Ghanaian Pentecostalism. American Ethnologist 40(3):467–479.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– van de Kamp, Linda. 2011. Converting the Spirit Spouse: The Violent Transformation of the Pentecostal Female Body in Maputo, Mozambique. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 76(4):510-533.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list
– Luhrmann, Tanya. 2012. A hyperreal God and Modern Belief: Towards an Anthropological Theory of Mind. Current Anthropology 53(4): 371-395 [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Week 9 – Time JB
– Tomlinson, Matt. 2014. Bringing Kierkegaard into anthropology:Repetition, absurdity, and curses in Fiji. American Ethnologist. 41(1): 163–175[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Robbins, Joel. 2001. Secrecy and the Sense of an Ending: Narrative, Time, and Everyday Millenarianism in Papua New Guinea and in Christian Fundamentalism. Comparative Studies in Society and History 43(3):525-551.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Guyer, Jane. 2007. Prophecy and the near future: Thoughts on macroeconomic, evangelical, and punctuated time. American Ethnologist 34(3): 409–421. [ejournal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Scherz, China. 2013. “Let us make God our Banker,” American Ethnologist 40(4): 624-636. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Week 10 – Critique NH and JB
– Hann, Chris. 2007. “The Anthropology of Christianity per se,” European Journal of Sociology. 48(3):383-410[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z ejournal list]
– Mosko, Mark. 2010. Partible penitents: dividual personhood and Christian practice in Melanesia and the West. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16(2):215-240. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z ejournal list]
– Robbins, Joel. 2010. Melanesia, Christianity, and cultural change: a comment on Mosko’s ‘Partible penitents’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16(2):241-243.[e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Marshall, Ruth (Current anthropology, forthcoming) [Distributed via LEARN]
– Klassen, Pamela. 2013. Christianity as a polemical concept. In Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek, A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley and Sons; pp. 344 – 362. [e-bookavailable via Library catalogue]
– Scott, Michael. 2005. “I was like Abraham”: Notes on the anthropology of Christianity from the Solomon Islands. Ethnos 70(1): 101-125. [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
– Bialecki, Jon. Virtual Christianity In An Age of Nominalist Anthropology. Anthropological Theory. 12(3) 295–319 [e-journal available via Library catalogue and A-Z e-journal list]
Guide to Using LEARN for Online Tutorial Sign-Up
The following is a guide to using LEARN to sign up for your tutorial. If you have any problems using the LEARN sign up, please contact the course secretary by email firstname.lastname@example.org Tutorial sign up will open on Thursday 18th September, after the first lecture has taken place, and will close at 12 noon on the Friday of Week 1 (19th September 2014).
Step 1 – Accessing LEARN course pages Access to LEARN is through the MyEd Portal. You will be given a log-in and password during Freshers’ Week. Once you are logged into MyEd, you should see a tab called ‘Courses’ which will list the active LEARN pages for your courses under ‘myLEARN’.
Step 2 – Welcome to LEARN Once you have clicked on the relevant course from the list, you will see the Course Content page. There will be icons for the different resources available, including one called ‘Tutorial Sign Up’. Please take note of any instructions there.
Step 3 – Signing up for your tutorial Clicking on Tutorial Sign Up will take you to the sign up page where all the available tutorial groups are listed along with the running time and location. Once you have selected the group you would like to attend, click on the ‘Sign up’ button. A confirmation screen will display.
IMPORTANT: If you change your mind after having chosen a tutorial you cannot go back and change it and you will need to email the course secretary. Reassignments once tutorials are full or after the sign-up period has closed will only be made in exceptional circumstances. Tutorials have restricted numbers and it is important to sign up as soon as possible. The tutorial sign up will only be available until 12 noon on the Friday of Week 1 (19th September 2014) so that everyone is registered to a group ahead of tutorials commencing in Week 2. If you have not yet signed up for a tutorial by this time you will be automatically assigned to a group which you will be expected to attend.