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Emory Forum for the Ethnographic Study of Religion

Convened by Professor Don Seeman

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Ethnography is both a tool for research and a genre of scholarly literature. As method, it is grounded in participant observation and the insistence on contextual understanding of religious practices, beliefs and institutions. As a genre of scholarly writing, ethnography strives to be holistic, expansive and humanizing. It builds analytic understanding of religion through the prism of local social and moral worlds and through the relationships that ethnographers build with their informants over time.

Falasha EldersThere is no single approach to ethnographic research or writing, and individual scholars may bring diverse theoretical and methodological resources to bear. Anthropologists, academic scholars of religion and practical theologians have all made use of ethnographic methods in pursuit of different kinds of research questions and agendas. Indeed, we have created this forum as an opportunity for collegial sharing across departments and also because we realize that though Emory University possesses world-class resources in the ethnographic study of religion, their very presence across several departments and programs may render them less institutionally visible than they should be.

The Emory Forum for the Ethnographic Study of Religion is devoted to intellectual exchange and promotion of research among diverse scholars, to the mentoring of students and to the visibility of ethnography as a research method in the study of religion. To that end, we will sponsor lectures by members of the Emory community and outside scholars, support one another’s research, and contribute to the recruitment and training of students in each of our fields.

All members of our extended academic and intellectual community are invited to participate. Students and faculty members who wish to be added to an email list for invitation to Ethnographic Forum events should please send an email with details of their interests, contact information and affiliation to our student coordinator Suma Ikeuchi (sikeuch@emory.edu) or Cory Driver (cory.driver@emory.edu).