Amira Susanne Mittermaier
Grant TypeWorkshop Grant
Institutional AffiliationToronto, U. of
Grant numberGr. CONF-804
Approve DateApril 4, 2019
Project TitleMittermaier, Amira (University of Toronto) "Ethnographies of God"
We propose to hold a two-day workshop at the University of Toronto from 26-28 September 2019 on the theme “ethnographies of God.” This collaborative project is rooted in our shared sense that, though central to all monotheistic religions, God is generally backgrounded in anthropological writings, even those squarely focused on religious lives. In line with a broader post-humanist turn, we ask whether and to what extent it is possible, or even desirable, to produce ethnography that recognizes expanded boundaries of the real but also situates itself within them; ethnography not strictly confined to writing about people but engaged with diverse forms of agency and power. The workshop will bring together cutting-edge scholars and graduate students from anthropology and religious studies. Working on Judaism, Islam, and Christianity respectively, they all have ethnographically grappled with operations of the Divine as they manifest in abstractions as well as the most immediate and intimate affairs of life. We aim to expand a conversation that began at the 2016 Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, and to work toward a programmatic statement of what an ethnographic approach to God might entail, while refining the insights gleaned from our individual case studies through conversation with one another. The outcome of the workshop will be published in the form of an edited volume or special issue.