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Performing Islam

Gender and Ritual in Iran

Series:

Azam Torab

Performing Islam takes as its main focus the rich array of ceremonial activities that shape and inform the lives of circles of women in south Tehran. Based on anthropological fieldwork, the book describes and analyses rituals that mark religious anniversaries and life course events in Iran today. Arguing that the ritual performances are powerful forums where ideas develop, and where rules, symbols and discourses are contested, this book discusses the values and beliefs underpinning gender constructions in a rapidly changing and complex society. The ambiguous metaphorical language of the rituals is examined, revealing how gender ideologies are projected and renewed, but also challenged, destabilized and ridiculed. Thus the rituals provide possibilities for self-expression, innovation and incremental change. This study goes beyond questions of meaning and culture to interrogate the dynamics of gender performance as products of power and politics.

Ritual Remembering

History, Myth and Politics in Anglo-Irish Drama

Edited by C.C. Barfoot and Rias van den Doel

Most of the essays in Ritual Remembering: History, Myth and Politics in Anglo-Irish Drama, in part or in whole, frequently allude or directly concern themselves with the dramatic representation of the opposition or the collusion of myth and history, and the uses and abuses of both. Equally they celebrate and critically analyse the politics of the social conscience and social consciousness which pervades Irish drama in its rituals of forgetfulness and memory. Perhaps myth is above all to be understood as the conscience and consciousness of history; and politics is the projection of that myth into present social action - on the hustings (nowadays more frequently the television hustings), at the ballot box, in writing and on the stage. Most of the articles in this volume revolve around these gravely portentous and ambivalent themes, which nobody who is as much concerned with Anglo-Irish relations as with Anglo-Irish literature can disregard or evade.

Edited by Alexandra F. Johnston and Wim Hüsken

Late medieval and renaissance cities, though powerful communities jealous of their own jurisdiction, were constantly negotiating their relationships with other secular and religious authorities. The seven essays in this collection treat various aspects of civic display and pageantry during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The overwhelming sense one receives is that the solemne pomps were essentially about power — how to get it, display it, share it and retain it. Each paper demonstrates how, through ceremony and symbol, municipalities sought to fashion their own corporate self-image in order to establish the limits of their authority in relationship to the countervailing powers sur-rounding them. The essays are concerned with the period before the ever widening impact of the Reformation and the intellectual and political revolutions it spawned had reached the level of civic pageantry. In the varied rituals considered here we can see reflected the highly sophisticated minds of their creators using the symbolic landscape of their religious and cultural past in important acts of corporate self-fashioning.

Edited by Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki

This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptology.
Throughout the book the essays examine the terms employed in descriptions of ancient magic. From this examination comes a clarification of magic as a polemical term of exclusion but also an understanding of the classical Egyptian and early Greek conceptions of magic as a more neutral category of inclusion.
This book should prove to be foundational for future scholarly studies of ancient magic and ritual power.

This publication has also been published in hardback (no longer available).

Series:

Harvey E. Goldberg

Interchange between anthropology and biblical scholarship began because of perceived similarities between “simpler” societies and practices appearing in the Hebrew Bible. After some disengagement when anthropologists turned mainly to ethnographic fieldwork, new cross-disciplinary possibilities opened up when structuralism emerged in anthropology. Ritual and mythology were major topics receiving attention, and some biblical scholars partially adopted structuralist methods. In addition, anthropological research extended to complex societies and also had an impact upon historical studies. Modes of interpretation developed that reflected holistic perspectives along with a sensibility to ethnographic detail. This essay illustrates these trends in regard to rituals and to notions of purity in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the place of literacy in Israelite society and culture. After discussing these themes, three examples of structuralist-inspired analysis are presented which in different ways take into account historical and literacy-based facets of the Bible.

Situating Globality

African Agency in the Appropriation of Global Culture

Edited by Wim van Binsbergen and Rijk van Dijk

Situating Globality challenges the dominant view that globalization is a primary threat to African societies and economies. It explores how these societies are appropriating elements of the emerging global culture, arguing the significance of this appropriation in local struggles, the expression of critical thinking, ideologies and ritual styles of behaviour. Combining an interest for micro-level processes of situating the multifaceted process of globality with the exploration of reflexivity, creativity and the production of knowledge, Situating Globality straddles the divide between anthropological and philosophical representations of Africa in the new world order. The first section examines philosophical issues relating to the production of knowledge in and about Africa from a globalizing perspective, while the other sections include case studies showing how these processes are accommodated in everyday life.

Edited by Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis

Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal explores the centrality of ritual practices and the agency of people – patrons, ritual specialists, devotees – in creating and amplifying the efficacy of Buddhist art. Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis highlight the unparalleled contributions of Nepal’s artisans, patrons, and ritualists in engendering artistic heritage that is an endearing continuation of Indic Buddhist traditions. The publication presents paintings, illuminated texts, statues, and ritual implements from the Newar tradition in the Kathmandu Valley. Richly illustrated with photographs of contemporary rituals, religious observances, and historical examples, the essays provide cultural, historical and ritual contexts in which objects collected in art museums were used, and animate them. By recentering the historical imagination on communities, their rituals, and popular narrative traditions, Dharma and Puṇya challenges prevailing misconceptions about Buddhism in the West and expand our understanding of Buddhism as a lived world religion. Contributors include: Naresh Bajracharya, Louis Coppleston, Sonali Dhingra, James Giambrone, Jinah Kim, Todd Lewis, Bruce McCoy Owens, Alexander von Rospatt and Sumon Tuladhar.

Barend ter Haar

The extensive ritual and mythological lore of the Chinese Triads form the scope of this new paperback title in Brill’s Scholars’ List. The author critically evaluates the extant sources and offers a wealth of contextual information. The core of the book is formed by a close reading of the initiation ritual, including the burning of incense, the altar, the enactment of a journey of life and death, and the blood covenant. Different narrative structures are also presented. These include the messianic demonological paradigm, political legitimation, and the foundation of myth. Triad lore is placed in its own religious and cultural context, allowing radically new conclusions about its origins, meanings and functions. This book is of special interest to social historians, anthropologists, and students of Chinese religious culture.

Edited by Paul Mirecki and Marvin Meyer

This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptic and Islamic Egypt.
The strength of the present volume lies in the breadth of scholarly approaches represented. The book begins with several papyrological studies presenting important new texts in Greek and Coptic, continuing with essays focusing on taxonomy and definition. The concluding essays apply contemporary theories to analyses of specific test cases in a broad variety of ancient Mediterranean cultures.

Thinking ritually

Rediscovering the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini

Clooney