Bielo, “Creationist History-Making”

Bielo, James S. 2016. Creationist History-Making: Producing a Heterodox Past. In Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices, 81-101. Edited by Jeb J. Card and David S. Anderson. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

Excerpt: The past, though quite real, is forever and densely mediated by this production of histories. As a cultural process, history-making is a social and ideological accomplishment that is achieved through material means and infrastructure. In turn, the anthropology and ethnography of history-making confronts important questions: how are different relationships to the past cultivated? What strategies and resources are marshaled to perform history-making? And, what is up for grabs in competing acts of history-making? A key contribution of this volume is to develop better ways of thinking about how non-professional historians and scientists perform the work of history-making (cf. Beisaw this volume). The Answers in Genesis creative team reminds us with little subtlety that the past is ideologically contested and that even the most scientifically established historical claims can be actively challenged. As the historian Raphael Samuel writes: “History is not the prerogative of the historian, nor even, as postmodernism contends, a historian’s ‘invention.’ It is, rather, a social form of knowledge; the work, in any given instance, of a thousand different hands” (1994: 8). Moreover, those thousand hands are not working in concert, which means the present hosts multiple historical narratives vying for cultural authority. Anthropologically, our remit is to understand whose hands are doing what and to seek a full ethnographic account of all history-making projects, including those of creationists. To aim for any less is to shrug off our most profound scholarly responsibility.

Kollman, “World-Historical Turn in the History of Christianity and Theology”

Kollman, Paul. 2014. Understanding the World-Christian Turn in the History of Christianity and Theology. Theology Today. 71(2): 164-177.

Abstract: Growth in Christianity has spurred the appearance of the subfield of world Christianity, whose assumptions increasingly shape scholarship on Christianity. What I term the world-Christian turn, which is often linked to mission studies, yields more comprehensive approaches to the Christian past, connecting local histories of Christian communities to larger-scale historical movements and producing innovative comparative perspectives on Christianity past and present. In Catholic theology, this turn has encouraged new comparative and contextual theologies. Yet support for Christian mission and the world-Christian turn need not go together. Two cases in point: comparative theology tends to eschew mission while the work of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, is suspicious of some impulses behind the world-Christian turn and their potential for undermining Christian mission. Such cases notwithstanding, I argue that missiology is a promising resource for the field of world Christianity.

 

Werth, “Lived Orthodoxy and Confessional Diversity”

Werth, Paul (2011) “Lived Orthodoxy and Confessional Diversity
The Last Decade on Religion in Modern Russia” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 12(4):849-65

Article Excerpt: “A decade ago in these pages, Gregory Freeze critiqued the historiography of religion since the fall of the USSR, remarking that it had “done little to illuminate the meaning of Orthodoxy in modern Russian society and culture.” Ten years on the situation looks rather different—in more ways than one. The meaning of Orthodoxy in a range of contexts has become a central preoccupation for historians of both the modern period and earlier eras. Indeed, in this essay I propose that a deep engagement with “lived Orthodoxy”—a concern for that religion as an adaptive cultural system and the variety of ways in which it was internalized and practiced—represents one of the principal accomplishments of the last decade.2 Nowhere has this development been more significant than in work on Orthodoxy in the rapidly changing conditions of late imperial Russia, which serves as the central focus of this essay. Indeed, the relationship between Orthodox piety and “modernity” has accordingly emerged as another central vector of the last decade’s scholarship. At the same time, it has become clear that Russia’s [End Page 849] religious history can no longer be contained under the heading “Russian Orthodoxy,” as was the case in Freeze’s essay. The scope of investigation has expanded substantially to include the other religions of Russian history—principally, but not only, Islam. These major themes—lived Orthodoxy, modernity, and multiconfessionalism—represent the three most significant trends in the scholarship of the last decade.”