Response: (Re)enchanting Religion

On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study - James Dennis LoRusso

James Edmonds [+-]
Arizona State University (PhD candidate)
James M Edmonds is a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University in the anthropology of religion track. He is defending his dissertation titled, "Hunting Baraka: The Spiritual Materiality and Material Spirituality Reconfiguring the Indonesian Islamic Landscape" and graduating in Spring 2020 with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. He is a public-facing academic who brings the everyday experience of Muslims to bear on the theoretical and methodological approaches of Religious Studies, Anthropology of Religion, and the history of Southeast Asia. His work addresses the changing texture of contemporary Indonesian Islamic piety and its relation to global forms of Islam in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.


Pulling from fieldwork in Indonesia, I will indicate how my interlocutors are not only well aware of the Western imposition of religion and the ways in which this definition has become institutionalized in the constitution of the country but engage with this definition to create their own sense of acting religiously in the world. I am not attempting to bring Eliadian sensibilities back from the dead, create an all-encompassing theory of religion, or hide a “crypto-theology and crypto-phenomenology” within the academic study of religion (Hughes 2013). Rather, I propose that the method necessary for overcoming the stasis in the study of religion is more participant-observation, interviews, and anthropological investigation with attention to the symbiosis between human and non-human actors. Religion as a lived component of the socio-cultural field engages with the western definition of religion through disavowal and reveals an understanding of reality beyond the confines of secularism.

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Edmonds, James. Response: (Re)enchanting Religion. On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 23 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41076. Oct 2022

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