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Symp 147 Participants
Front: Chris Hann, Leslie Aiello, Simon Coleman, Maya Mayblin, Bambi Schieffelin, Joel Robbins, Caroline Humphrey, Webb Keane, Laurie Obbink Middle: Annelin Eriksen, Naomi Haynes, Tanya Luhrmann, Courtney Handman, Aparecida Vilaça, Janet Hoskins, Ruth Marshall Back: Matthew Engelke, Jon Bialecki, Andreas Bandak, John Barker

Wenner-Gren Symposium #147
March 8-15, 2013
Tivoli Palacio de Seteais
Sintra, Portugal

PUBLICATION: "The Anthropology of Christianity:  Unity, Diversity, New Directions" (Current Anthropology Vol. 55, S10, December 2014)


Leslie C. Aiello (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)
Andreas Bandak (U. of Copenhagen, Denmark)
John Barker (U. of British Columbia, Canada)
Jon Bialecki (U. of California-San Diego, USA)
Simon Coleman (U. of Toronto, Canada)
Matthew Engelke (London School of Economics, UK)
Annelin Eriksen (U. of Bergen, Norway)
Courtney Handman (Reed College, USA)
Christopher M. Hann (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany)
Naomi Haynes (U. of Edinburgh, UK)
Janet Hoskins (U of Southern California, USA)
Caroline Humphrey (U. of Cambridge, UK)
Webb Keane (U. of Michigan, USA)
Tanya M. Luhrmann (Stanford U., USA)
Ruth Marshall (U. of Toronto, Canada)
Maya M. Mayblin (U. of Edinburgh, UK)
Joel Robbins - organizer (U. of California-San Diego, USA)
Bambi B. Schieffelin (New York U., USA)
Aparecida Vilaca (U. Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Organizer's Statement

This symposium aims to address the question of how an intellectual movement such as the Anthropology of Christianity negotiates the transition from its initial emergence – when the field is wide open and novel insights and arguments appear to be easy to find – to a second stage in which it consolidates its gains while also finding a way to maintain its energy and creativity going forward.  Non-existent fifteen years ago, the anthropology of Christianity has rapidly grown into a large and vigorous field of debate.  In the last few years, it has also begun to see the emergence of its second generation of contributors, made up mostly of people in the early stages of their careers.  These scholars have brought new topics to the fore and have pushed for attention to be paid to branches of the Christian tradition that had been relatively understudied during the first wave.  Furthermore, with the maturing of the field has come the growth of conversations between its participants and those from other areas of anthropology.  By bringing together representatives of the generation that founded the anthropology of Christianity and younger scholars, by inviting those studying Christian traditions largely ignored during the first wave of work in the field, and by explicitly focusing on conversations with those whose primary research is in other parts of anthropology, this symposium aims both to identify and integrate the most important findings of the field to this point and to develop new approaches and ideas that will allow it to continue to flourish.

As an intellectual endeavor launched with a high degree of self-consciousness, the anthropology of Christianity has arguably been marked by an unusually high degree of coherence and shared sense of key issues.  Questions about the specificity of Christian understandings of transcendence, language, cultural change, religious experience, morality, and individualism have all received sustained attention from anthropologists working in many different parts of the world.  The tight integration of the field has been beneficial in man