"Taylor's new exciting volume gets at the heart of where most Westerners are engaging religious and spiritual life today: the realm of popular culture. The book's contributors lead us on a compelling journey through a complex cultural ecology of religion, politics, fan forums, ethics, ecotopian promise, corporate violence, and troubling notions of the 'native.' At the end, we emerge with an altered eye, appreciating the power of narrative brought alive through the transformative semiotics of visual culture. Accessible for the uninitiated and yet interesting to the specialist, 'Avatar and Nature Spirituality' is just one of a new generation of books that are shifting the very way we conceive of religion. As traditional congregational studies gather dust, vanguard scholarship that attends to the global 'congregation' of mass culture will bring the study of religion into a new era, and this volume contributes to that important turn." -- Sarah McFarland Taylor, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Environmental Policy and Culture, Northwestern UniversityVom Verlag:
Avatar and Nature Spirituality explores the cultural and religious significance of James Cameron's film Avatar (2010), one of the most commercially successful motion pictures of all time. Its success was due in no small measure to the beauty of the Pandora landscape and the dramatic, heart-wrenching plight of its nature-venerating inhabitants. To some audience members, the film was inspirational, leading them to express affinity with the film's message of ecological interdependence and animistic spirituality. Some were moved to support the efforts of indigenous peoples, who were metaphorically and sympathetically depicted in the film, to protect their cultures and environments. To others, the film was politically, ethically, or spiritually dangerous. Indeed, the global reception to the film was intense, contested, and often confusing. To illuminate the film and its reception, this book draws on an interdisciplinary team of scholars, experts in indigenous traditions, religious studies, anthropology, literature and film, and post-colonial studies. Readers will learn about the cultural and religious trends that gave rise to the film and the reasons these trends are feared, resisted, and criticized, enabling them to wrestle with their own views, not only about the film but about the controversy surrounding it. Like the film itself, Avatar and Nature Spirituality provides an opportunity for considering afresh the ongoing struggle to determine how we should live on our home planet, and what sorts of political, economic, and spiritual values and practices would best guide us.
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