The topic of religious and ritual change, including conversion from one modality of practices to another, has emerged in recent years as a prime focus of scholarly attention in anthropology and related disciplines, such as history, sociology, political science and religious studies. Conversion to Christianity is one focus that has developed within this broad and dynamic field of investigations. This edited volume is a unique set of studies that explores this field further, with a doubly innovative approach.
First, the chapters represent a collaboration of leading scholars from Taiwan and from the USA and Europe. Second, the studies involve a comparative dimension, juxtaposing work done among indigenous Austronesian minorities in Taiwan and work done in the Pacific Islands (Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands). Within this collection of essays, common processes of change are evident, while the importance of specific histories is revealed, and analytical and theoretical issues are probed and reviewed in ways that demonstrate their relevance to the overall dimensions of comparison. No other work in this arena of study has brought together scholars with such a comparative framework in mind.
This volume is relevant for scholars and students of religious change generally, as well as those readers who are interested in the wider Asia-Pacific region, minority groups, Christianity, indigenous movements, and the socialization of the ritual body in contexts of historical and cosmological change.
This book is part of the Ritual Studies Monograph Series, edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh.
"… [A] wide range of views are offered … Overall the book offers itself as a detailed archive of ethnographic information for further analysis and interpretation of these and other issues." — Religion and Society: Advances in Research