Religion, Nature and Culture
Theorizing the Field
Keywords:religion, nature, culture
The inaugural conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture demonstrated several tensions at play within the emerging field of ‘religion, nature and culture’. Each of these three terms is a modern western folk construct, not a universal category. The place of ‘culture’ within this trinity is especially unclear, and its use risks essentializing a category that cultural anthropologists have themselves begun to question. With a nod to the burgeoning literature on ‘social nature’, this article thinks through the relationship between these three terms. It argues that their combination be thought of not as an object or field of study for the Society, but as an ‘invocation’ by which the Society can cultivate international and interdisciplinary discussion on a confluence
of timely concerns.
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