Materializing Religion

Essays in Honor of David Chidester

  • Lee-Shae Scharnick-Udemans University of the Western Cape


In his recent Religion: Material dynamics, David Chidester (2018) selected a number of key concepts that have preoccupied him during his forty years of studying religion. Having contributed to critiques of the concept of religion as a modern Western imperial and colonial invention, Chidester is intensely aware of the legacy of the term but has nevertheless employed it productively as an analytical term. If the academic study of religion, as heir of a Protestant bias, used to study beliefs, Chidester has been a pioneer in foregrounding material terms as a corrective in the study of religion, crediting Marx as crucial ancestor of this approach for his insight into the material basis of religion. The terms essayed in this book, considered under the title material dynamics, were selected by Chidester for the real, practical consequences they have had in the world, and were grouped under three sections: Categories, formations, and circulations.