Religion: Material Dynamics is a lively resource for thinking about religious materiality and the material study of religion. Deconstructing and reconstructing religion as material categories, social formations, and mobile circulations, the book explores the making, ordering, and circulating of religious things. The book is divided into three sections: Part One revitalizes basic categories—animism and sacred, space and time—by situating them in their material production and testing their analytical viability. Part Two examines religious formations as configurations of power that operate in material cultures and cultural economies and are most clearly shown in the power relations of colonialism and imperialism. Part Three explores the material dynamics of circulation through case studies of religious mobility, change, and diffusion as intimate as the body and as vast as the oceans. Each chapter offers insightful orientations and surprising possibilities for studying material religion. Exploring the material dynamics of religion from poetics to politics, David Chidester provides an entry into the study of material religion that will be welcomed by students and specialists in religious studies, anthropology, and history.
David Chidester is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. His recent books include Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture, Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa, and Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion.