Jon Bialecki

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Militant Christianity and the Value of Values

I’ve been what might charitably be called less than rigorous when it comes to keeping this blog up to date, and this post is no way is a complete undoing of this trend, but I did want to mention a few new (and relatively minor) things that have come out recently. First, my review of Militant Christianity: An Anthropological History by Alice Beck Kehoe is out right now in Religion and Society: Advances in Research. To be frank, I’m rather critical of it, but for right now at least I’ll just let the review speak for me.

Front Cover

The second small thing is a written version of my opener for an “anthropology roundtable” we had in lieu of a colloquium a few days ago here at SocAnth Edinburgh; the topic was The Value of Values.  I was given a position that, while I don’t necessarily agree with, is not entirely alien to me either: “Value is nothing but a series of disconnected homonyms;  the concept has no utility as an anthropological analytic or as a comparative frame.” If I was promoting my own views, I would probably have shifted the emphasis, and a little ontological weight as well, onto the trailing part of my talk, where I discuss the generative nature of the problematic over any ‘value’ (however understood) that might be generated: this would of course undo the plank that was given me, and so it was a foreclosed option, at least in the roundtable. The important thing is that it was a great deal of fun, and I’m looking forward to future ones here at UEdinburgh.


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