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Word Count: 950
According to Stephen Lazier in the introduction to his new collection one could easily arrive at the impression that in the discipline of anthropology as a whole anthropology of religion is currently on the run It is difficult to find programs that take anthropology of religion seriously where can one do graduate work where can one find professors for whom religion is a primary concern But in the post Cold War era with rising levels of ethnic and religious conflict the effects of religion its impact on our social and political lives have a greater visibility than at any time in the past twenty years As Glazier and other evidence show we may in fact be in a sort of Golden Age for the anthropology of religion-but not all the action is taking place inside the discipline of anthropology There was a time in the nineteenth century when anthropologists saw in religion an archaic mode of thought and action standing behind the modern programs of science law politics and education that would one day drop away No anthropologists would say that with such certainty today though problems of definition remain as often depending upon how we identify it what we see a the religious reaches into virtually every corner of human activity Fundamentally then the anthropology of religion must quite simply be seen as the application of the weight of anthropological theory and method to the analytical and social quandary of religion or religions-What is it What are they What do we speak of when we speak of religion and how does that relate to particular religions What makes religion What does it do for us Other disciplines ask the same or similar questions but in anthropology the focus of the analysis is generally ethnographic While in history of religion for example in asking the same questions of world religions may look for answers in the literary record in myth and the work of religious
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