Drawing from ethnographic examples found throughout the world, this revised and updated text offers an introduction to what anthropologists know or think about religion, how they have studied it, and how they have interpreted or explained it since the late nineteenth century. Robert Winzeler's balanced consideration of classic topics, basic concepts, and new developments in the anthropological study of religion moves beyond cultural anthropology and ethnography to gather information from physical anthropology, prehistory, and archaeology. Written as a sophisticated but accessible treatment of the issues, Anthropology and Religion is a key text for upper-division courses.
Robert L. Winzeler is professor emeritus of anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno.
Preface Part 1: Anthropology and Religion Words and Things Is Religion a Human Universal? The Meaning of Religion The Anthropology of Religion Types of Anthropological Studies of Religion Types of Religion Religions versus Religion Part 2: Religion Here and There: Western Notions in Comparative Perspective Religion Is Primarily a Matter of Belief or Faith Religion and Identity: One at a Time Religion Is a Separate Realm of Life Religion Is Associated with a Special Building Religion Concerns Transcendental Rather Than Practical Matters Religion Is the Basis of Morality Part 3: Religion, Evolution, and Prehistory The Bio-evolution of Religion When Did Religion Develop? The Origin of Religion: How It Began The Nature of Early Religion Has Religion Evolved? Part 4: Religion, Adaptation, and the Environment Ecological Functionalism Religion as a Regulator of Ecological Processes Cultural Materialist Explanations of Seemingly Maladaptive Ritual Practices (or, Solving the Riddles of Culture) Religion and Environmentalism The Problem of Reaching Conclusions about Religion and Adaptation Part 5: Natural Symbols Are There Natural Symbols? The Natural Environment as Symbolism Animals Colors Lateral Symbolism: Left- and Right-Handedness Percussion Sounds The Head and Its Parts Natural Symbols and Natural Religion Part 6: Myth and Ritual, Old and New What More Exactly Is Myth? Theories, Approaches, and Explanations of Myth The Protagonists of Myth Myth and Gender Contemporary Urban Myths Contemporary Rumor Myths Part 7: Ritual and Belief The Nature of Ritual Religious Ritual Some Common Forms of Religious Ritual Some Common Types of Ritual The Structure of Ritual according to Arnold van Gennep Journeys and Boundaries Rites of Passage Mortuary Rituals Bad Death Funerals as Rites of Passage Part 8: Witchcraft and Sorcery: Past and Present, Far and Near Traditional Witchcraft and Sorcery in Small-Scale Societies Witchcraft in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe Modern Witchcraft or Neo-paganism Part 9: Spirit Possession, Spirit Mediumship, and Shamanism Spirit Possession and Spirit Mediumship Shamanism Shamanism in the Modern World Part 10: Religious Movements and the Origins of Religions Three Native American Movements Cargo Cults in Melanesia A Religious Movement in Borneo Revitalization? Part 11: Anthropology and the World Religions The World Religions from an Anthropological Perspective Anthropological Studies of the World Religions The Conversion of Indigenous Peoples to and within the World Religions Part 12: Anthropology and Religion on a Larger Canvas: Religious Change under Socialism and Capitalism Religious Change in Socialist and Postsocialist Societies Socialism and Shamanism in Siberia and Mongolia Religion under Socialism in China Religion, Social Complexity, and Socialism in Cuba Vietnam and Laos as Socialist States The Return of the Occult Notes Glossary References