From a Marx perspective looking at wealth and materialism
Gender, Sex and Religion
Asad saw as being proficient in gerrtz identity of religion
What Asad saw was wrong with gerrtz is the focus of the 2 half of the course
What comes along with the terms we use/what is embedded when calling Buddhism religion?
Last week: Geertz and Asad w/ anthropology, culture and religion (terms)
- Masuzawa says: quote on slide, we should be aware every time we do so we mobilize and
energize a powerful ideology of modernity**(hopes to make more clear)
- Genealogy: What Asad does, critical of geertz
o Asking questions about culture and human experience, a method and technique. There
are concepts and hidden meanings in everything
o The architecture of our experience, the whole system of meaning is embedded in
history and culture and we consistently repeat them .
Does the concept that seems so natural, e.g. madness, have a history? Or
sexuality? Religion itself?
o Technique of historical research (comes from Nietzsche and Foucault)
Morality isn’t timeless; morality has its own history. Looks different in different
cultures eg. Medieval England vs. China
This technique is used to study culture
Peeling back the geological layers of the concepts we use to find where they
started and the alternative meanings that these words had.
This technique is a powerful tool
It is a lenses used to pull back the idea and understand how things adapt and
Marx: the job of the philosopher is not just to describe the world but to change
o Genealogy: review
The point is to expose the historical and cultural relativiely of these beliefs and
to understand the power relations through which this .
- Geertzs Vs. Asad
o Geertz doesn’t pay attention to power!
o Asad thinks this is bullshit and not true, what is the context in which religion is suppose
to transform lives o Symbolic anthropology: culture is symbol, it refers to something else, a stop sign is a
symbol of stopping
Paying attention to what acts as symbols
How chicken fights are symbols of big notions of masculinity and femininity
Influences a lot of other disciplines
o Gave us a theory of what action is
The construction, apprehension and utilization of human forms which instill
certain dispositions in individuals
A form of literacy
Culture shock when traveling: from geertz point of view we don’t have literacy
(therefore no apprehension or way to utilize this)
Doesn’t help someone who is trying to learn more about religion
Geertz says you must become literate in another cultures to learn.
o Asad is not amused
Says history is a product of discursive processes
It is Eurocentric and tied to a specific moment of the separation in the
church aka 95 thesis.
Moves away from symbolic anthropological understanding or religion
He is sensitive to power, discipline, and the formation of religious
What is the context in which human subjects are born?
Power relation, resources? Masculinity?
o Asad’s critique of Geertz
Geertz assumes religion is separate from human experience and can’t be
reduced religion would be different from law and politics
o Sports as a game and not politics debate
Similar with most people studied thus far
Asad Detects a bias in Geertz def. Of religion
Geertz is Eurocentric, religion can’t be separate according to Asad
o Now a big field is open for study (university)
o Geertzian perspective
Up until now religion as a category is
o Asad’s intervention!!!
These def. Are essentialization of religions
Group lots of different religion into 1 category
Its like fitting all humans of varying race the exact same. doesn’t work Religion has been previously used to map peoples lives and Asad thinks this is a
problem. Up until now religion and power existed in two spheres, now they will
exist in 1
Asad says the elements and relationships are historically specific and the def. Of
religion is itself the historical product of discursive process
2 points that change the way religion is thought of
We are no longer going to assume that all religion comes from the one
95 Thesis of Martin Luther
- Asad Says
o We have to look at the exercise of power in order to understand how some things are
understood and experienced as religious and some are not.
o Doesn’t discredit the importance of symbols
o Also notes who has access to religion and religious power, or national power, or gender
The observer or scholar position is now changed
The role of the individual is now much more important, the society as a whole