Introduction: crossing religious and ethnographic boundaries - the case for comparative reflection

Leslie Fesenmyer, Giulia Liberatore , Ammara Maqsood

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This Introduction to the Special Issue traces the history of the development of the sub-disciplines of the Anthropology of Christianity and of Islam to suggest that these ‘monistic’ tendencies have obscured exploration and theorisation of inter-religious coexistence and encounters for people’s lives and the societies in which they live. These sub-disciplinary boundaries have further led to an unintended ‘provincialization’ of both geographical spaces and theoretical debates, and stalled the development of a theoretically robust anthropology of religion. This Special Issue argues for the value of comparative work on multi-religious encounters within particular contexts, as well as by thinking comparatively on a global scale, as a way to generate new questions and considerations in how we study religion. The final section offers a short overview of the contributions to the Special Issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-401
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020


  • anthropology of Christianity
  • anthropology of Islam
  • anthropology of religion
  • inter‐religious coexistence
  • encounters
  • comparison
  • Anthropologie du Christianisme
  • anthropologie de l’Islam
  • anthropologie religieuse
  • coexistence interreligieuse
  • rencontres
  • comparaison


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