Everything Blended

Engaging Combinations, Appropriations, Bricolage, and Syncretisms in Our Teaching and Research


  • Sean McCloud University of North Carolina at Charlotte




Syncretism, American Religions, Third Wave, Bricolage, Appropriations


In this essay, I open a discussion on how the blending and combining of cultural elements are understood and engaged in our classrooms and research. Specifically, I do two things. First, I illustrate that combining and blending practices, while perhaps more visible in the contemporary period, are a constant in American religious history. Second, I provide a case study of Third Wave Spiritual Warfare that heeds the anthropologist Charles Stewart’s suggestion that one useful way to approach syncretism (and its synonyms) is by examining the discourses and debates that individuals and groups have over what activities and ideas are viewed as such. Overall, I argue that we need to develop a method for both teaching and examining the appropriative bricolage that makes up religious practices.

Author Biography

Sean McCloud, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Sean McCloud is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He teaches, publishes, and researches in the fields of American religions, religion and culture, and theories and methods in the academic study of religion.


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How to Cite

McCloud, S. (2019). Everything Blended: Engaging Combinations, Appropriations, Bricolage, and Syncretisms in Our Teaching and Research. Implicit Religion, 21(4), 362–382. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.36284