Syncretism And Anti Syncretism : The Politics Of Religious Synthesis Essay

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SA2602 Book review

Syncretism/anti-syncretism: the politics of religious synthesis
Charles Stewart, Rosalind Shaw,1994

Syncretism, a controversial topic in anthropology yet occur to me a rather new and unfamiliar subject. Reading Stewart and Shaw’s work would be my first encounter to the idea and discussion of syncretism, and aided as an introduction to syncretism. Thus the aim of this book review is to show my understanding, merely as a novice reader trying to get a glimpse of the seemingly obscure term and discourse about syncretism, and evaluation on this literature.

Syncretism/anti-syncretism: the politics of religious synthesis aim to redefine syncretism, re-examine the idea of syncretism and discuss syncretism as subject of debate between religion and ritual. Composed of 10 chapters by several contributors, this book covers the subject in aspects of syncretism in colonial subject as dominance and subversion(Kempf), syncretism as tolerance and as hierarchical encompassment (van der Veer); unintentional making of syncretism via translation(Meyer) and misinterpretation lead to form of anti-syncretism(Yalcin-Hackmann). I will focus on Charles Stewart’s Syncretism as a dimension of nationalist discourse in modern Greece and Lale Yalcin-Hackmann’s Are fireworks is Islamic? Towards an understanding of Turkish migrants and Islam in Germany.

Yalcin-Hackmann argues that any investigation of syncretic tendencies in migrant culture and religion has to handle the problem of

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