Religion

The anthropological study of religion attends to religious life via the study of everyday practices. Rather than understanding religion as a set of beliefs, anthropologists examine the ways that practices and belief are constitutive of each other via a broad spectrum of representations, embodiments and ethical and social practices. These everyday practices are constituted by and constituting of many aspects of social life including gender, desire, performance, politics and power. Anthropologists thus recognize that religious life is a thoroughly social practice, and yet identifiable as transformative and sometimes mysterious subject of investigation. Research in the Harvard department of anthropology includes the study of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, secularism, divination, religious movements, ritual and ritual violence and state organization.