Animism is an important part of many religions - from Shinto, Hinduism and Buddhism to Paganism and a range of indigenous religions - which connects the spiritual and material and holds that humans might not be unique in possessing souls or in being intentional agents. Over recent decades, research into animism has broadened its scope to consider, at one end, the vibrant roles of objects in human lives and, at the other, the possible similarities between humans and other species. "The Handbook of Contemporary Animism" brings together an international team of scholars to examine the full range of animist worldviews and practices. The Handbook opens with an examination of recent approaches to animism. This is followed by evaluations of ethnographic, cognitive, literary, performative, and material culture approaches as well as advances in activist and indigenous thinking about animism. "The Handbook of Contemporary Animism" invites readers to think creatively and critically about the world around us and will be invaluable to students and scholars of Religion, Sociology and Anthropology.
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Graham Harvey is Reader in Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. He is author of Animism: Respecting the Living World and editor of Religions in Focus.Review:
"This Handbook is an outstanding collection of important voices and ideas. Nothing else like it currently exists. It is valuable across disciplines, for both faculty and students alike, and fills a tremendous void in the scholarly work on animism." - Kenneth Mello, Southwestern University, USA
"The Handbook addresses a topic which fascinates scholars and students in religious studies and anthropology. Presenting an overview of the numerous approaches to both animism and its "siblings" fetishism and totemism, the Handbook examines the many definitions of animism - illustrating this with a wide range of case studies of indigenous traditions - and demonstrates the significance of animism today." --Bettina E. Schmidt, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
"The collection is a vast celebration of the progress made not only on the subject of animism but on crucial anthropological topics including religion, personhood, embodiment, materiality, and performance. From a single simple claim to an abandoned idea to a diverse and important concept, animism is established here as a phenomenon of profound anthropological concern." --Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
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