Ritual has long been a central concept in anthropological theories of religious transmission. Ritual, Performance and the Senses offers a new understanding of how ritual enables religious representations - ideas, beliefs, values - to be shared among participants. Focusing on the body and the experiential nature of ritual, the book brings together insights from three distinct areas of study: cognitive/neuroanthropology, performance studies and the anthropology of the senses. Eight chapters by scholars from each of these sub-disciplines investigate different aspects of embodied religious practice, ranging from philosophical discussions of belief to explorations of the biological processes taking place in the brain itself. Case studies range from miracles and visionary activity in Catholic Malta to meditative practices in theatrical performance and include three pilgrimage sites: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the festival of Ramlila in Ramnagar, India and the mountain shrine of the Lord of the Shiny Snow in Andean Peru.Understanding ritual allows us to understand processes at the very centre of human social life and humanity itself, making this an invaluable text for students and scholars in anthropology, cognitive science, performance studies and religious studies.
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Michael Bull is Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.Jon P. Mitchell is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, UK.
Introduction Jon P. Mitchell and Michael Bull, University of Sussex, UKRitual Action Shapes Our Brains: an Essay in Neuroanthropology Robert Turner, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, GermanyPlace-making in the 'Holy of Holies': the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, JerusalemTrevor Marchand, School of Oriental and African Studies, UKThe Importance of Repetition: Ritual as Extension of MindGreg Downey, Macquarie University, AustraliaDivine Intervention: Ontology, Cognition and Performance in Maltese Visionary PhenomenaJon P. Mitchell, University of Sussex, UKMaking 'Sense' in Embodied/Enactive Modes of Actor Training and PerformancePhillip Zarrilli, University of Exeter, UKRamlila and SpaceRichard Schechner, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, USAExploring the Andean Sensory Model: Knowledge, Memory and the Experience of PilgrimageZoila Mendoza, University of California, Davis, USASensation and TransmissionDavid Howes, Concordia University, CanadaAfterword Sarah Pink, Loughborough University, UKBibliographyIndex
"Bull and Mitchell provide a truly thought-provoking collection of essays by renowned authors widely influential in the fields of performance studies, sensory/sound studies, and cognitive neuroscience/neurophysics. It is a must-read for all interested in ritual plain and simple as well as for all interested in the complex interplay of cognition, senses, and performance. - Reading Religion
This is an excellent collection of articles that are both theoretically and empirically rich and offer innovative approaches to long-standing concepts. - Religion and Society: Advances in Research
The book is highly recommendable to anthropologists working on all fields ... It provides a productive entry into debates that will probably shape the future of our discipline as it moves beyond the constraints of a 'science of culture'. - Anthropos
[This] book has been carefully curated to ensure that the points of interest ... speak to readers from across the fields of performance studies, anthropology, neuroanthropology and beyond. - HARTS & Minds"
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