Striking changes are afoot in the way intellectuals address Christianity. Long seen as a largely Western tradition steadily losing its cultural influence in the West, Christianity has recently been re-installed at the center of debates that concern academic specialists and public intellectuals alike. In the last few years, it has suddenly become possible, maybe even fashionable, to ask whether Christianity might be a leading force of change in the contemporary world. Even more surprisingly, scholars who self-consciously stand outside what they think of as religious circles now find themselves promoting episodes in Christian history as key models for the way important social changes ought to occur.Read the rest of Global Christianity, Global Critique.
Joel Robbins is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. Much of his work has focused on the anthropology of Christianity and on other topics in the anthropology of religion. He is the author of Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (University of California Press, 2004). Together with Matthew Engelke, Robbins is a guest editor of The Immanent Frame's discussion series on Global Christianity, Global Critique, a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly edited by Engelke and Robbins. Read their introductory post here.
Posts by Joel Robbins:
Even the most open-minded social scientists—those who are up for studying almost any social group or activity—tend to find the kind of spiritual practitioners at the heart of Bender’s book hard to take. These practitioners, whom Bender refers to as “metaphysicals,” are given to individualistic self-understandings that run directly counter to how most social scientists think the world works, and their apparently free spirited way of hopping between institutions and borrowing liberally from all manner of religious and philosophical traditions makes it look as if they almost live the kinds of intensely self-focused and self-created lives that they proclaim they do.Read the rest of Working on individualism.