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27/09/10

Theology's turn to Ethnography: New OA journal "Practical Matters"

I’ve stumpled upon a rather new Open Access Journal called Practical Matters. This publication of Emory University is both interdisciplinary and “intermedia", i.e. multimedia.

The most recent issue (nr 3) is called Ethnography & Theology.

In their introduction, Lerone Martin and Luke Whitmore write:

Many scholars of religion who did not begin their scholarly careers as anthropologists now count themselves ethnographers, or at least state that they employ ethnographic methods.

Many scholars of theology have arrived, and continue to arrive, at the view that to better understand how human subjects experience their lives, rituals, and religious/cultural practices “it is necessary to observe people in everyday life and see how cultural meanings are brought by them to bear on their actual, practical concerns.”

This issue aims to push forward the interdisciplinary conversation around the intersections of ethnography and theology.

This issue includes a 12 minutes video by Melissa D. Browning about theologists on fieldwork with a corresponding paper Listening to Experience, Looking Towards Flourishing. Ethnography as a Global Feminist Theo/Ethical Praxis.

Issue 2 focuses on youth and includes an twelve-minute documentary by Sonia Narang that examines how the practice of the visual arts can involve the religious identities of young people.

In the first issue (topic: imagination), you’ll find a lot of photography, for example Imagining Antarctica by Sandra F. Selby or Luther’s Wedding: How One Town is Rebuilding its Convivial Culture through Imagination and Tradition by Barry Stephenson.

I hope we’ll see more journals of this kind. Another innovative journal I wrote about is Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics (ARDAC)

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