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"Religion" and the Moralization of Semiotic Form: Views from the Christian Pacific

Sat, June 25, 5:00 to 6:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 122


This paper takes a comparative look at recently published ethnographies of Christian communities East and Southeast Asia and Melanesia. Whether the communities are relatively isolated, so-called small scale societies or highly urbanized and cosmopolitan, certain recurrent themes emerge. As has been well documented elsewhere, one of the perennial concerns is fairly new Christian communities the relationship between locality, the foreign sources of Christian teachings and practices, and the religion’s universalizing and transcendental claims. This relationship is persistently relevant in daily life insofar as it bears on the challenges of mediating between everyday ethics and the quest for salvation in the long term. More specifically, we are gaining new insights into the semiotics of self, sociality, divinity, and their sometimes competing moral claims.