Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for the Anthropology of Religion
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: The Visual, Truth and reconciliation
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Although there is a global youth culture and one can go online and find an overwhelming number of videos from around the globe in English, still the process of navigating peacemaking and interfaith dialogue requires a considerable level of cultural competence. This panel will explore the cultural understandings and resources available to negotiate peace and relate fruitfully in the midst of differences. Presenters will consider traditional resources such as proverbs and new vistas that have opened up through immigration, migration, and dynamics of our transnational world.
Proverbs are a cultural resource for addressing recurrent societal issues (Abrahams 1971). Thus they both mark the recurrent matter and serve as an aid to negotiate the emergent situation. Our one panellist will investigate Fulbe proverb concerning peacemaking, considering the goal and context of usage. Part of this inquiry will include unpacking the metaphorical images of “lion” and “lamb” for the Fulbe, since animal metaphor are culturally based and not universally applicable (Talebinejad 2005).
Peacemaking involves the complex development of respect and understanding. How does this work in contexts of religious differences. Our second panellist shares her ethnographic investigation of ritual and pilgrimage that give rise to positive interaction between Christian and Hindu members of the Indian diaspora in Chicago. In particular, she utilizes the concept of communitas as developed by Victor and Edith Turner (1970, 2012). Here the experience of hope facilitates positive relationships among groups characterized by difference. Hope brings forth empathy that provides new opportunities for deep personal connections.
Our third and fourth presenters consider interfaith dialogue in western Africa from two different perspectives. Traditional African religion has shown a considerable degree of both hospitality and adaptability in relating to Islam and Christianity. How can Christians increase their understanding and appreciation of traditional religion to allow for more contrastive interfaith dialogue? Finally, our final panellist will investigate Christian Muslim relationships in Western Africa. Taking a historical approach, he will argue that key aspects of the tension are due to historical, Western missionary approaches rather than Christianity as a religion (Irvin and Sunquist 2001, 2009).