Introduction

Critical Terms for the Ethnography of Religion

Authors

  • Brendan Jamal Thornton University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Eric Hoenes del Pinal University of North Carolina, Charlotte

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.22578

Keywords:

fieldwork, participant observation, data, interlocutors, subjectivity, ethics, writing, positionality, religious studies, ethnographic methods

Abstract

Religious studies is an interdisciplinary field encompassing a range of research methods and theoretical areas of analysis. Interest in ethnographic methodology has grown of late as scholars of religion with varying specialties and backgrounds have turned towards anthropology for inspiration on how best to analyze and interpret people’s variegated religious lives in the contemporary world. The special issue “Critical Terms for the Ethnography of Religion” considers eight key terms that are central to the conceptual grammar of the ethnographic method in order to highlight the opportunities and challenges this form of research offers the study of “lived religion”. By bringing together established scholars of religion who take ethnographic methodology seriously in their work, this special issue offers readers an opportunity to think with colleagues from across the discipline about what is at stake in their approach to studying, analyzing and writing about religion from an ethnographic perspective.

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Author Biographies

Brendan Jamal Thornton, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Brendan Jamal Thornton is an anthropologist and associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His scholarship on religion and culture in the Caribbean has been published in Anthropological Quarterly, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Latin American Research Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of the award-winning book Negotiating Respect: Pentecostalism, Masculinity, and the Politics of Spiritual Authority in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2016).

Eric Hoenes del Pinal, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Eric Hoenes del Pinal is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the author of Guarded by Two Jaguars: A Catholic Parish Divided by Language and Faith (University of Arizona Press, 2022) and co-editor of Mediating Catholicism: Religion and Media in Global Catholic Imaginaries (Bloomsbury, 2022). He has also published in Anthropological Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary Religion and Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context.

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Published

2022-05-19

How to Cite

Thornton, B. J., & Hoenes del Pinal, E. (2022). Introduction: Critical Terms for the Ethnography of Religion. Fieldwork in Religion, 17(1), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.22578