Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NEW COURSE! ANTH 6391: The Anthropology of Religious Movements

ANTH 6391
The Anthropology of Religious Movements

The Varieties of Religious Expressions: Movements, Mediation and Anthropological Mappings

Monday 4:10-6:00pm
Hortense Amsterdam House Seminar Room, Room 202

Prof. Attiya Ahmad
Office Hours Wednesday 11am-1pm
2112 G St., Room 102

Course Description
            This course takes as its point of departure today’s global proliferation of religious movements and media, and explores the following questions:  What are the similarities and differences between India’s Hindutva movement, Christian Evangelical groups in the US, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East, and protests led by Buddhist monks in Myanmar?  What role does mediation—in the form of the human body, religious texts, cassette sermons, television serials, and the internet--play in promoting, shaping, spreading and containing religious practices and belief?  What are the interrelations between these religious movements and forms of mediation?  What role can anthropology play in addressing these questions?

A seminar designed for students who want to learn about the myriad forms of religious expression in today’s world, this course consists of three thematic sections.  In the first section we will explore various theorists’ attempt to carve out a universal category of religion and the ways in which this categorization has been problematized.  We will examine writings that historicize the emergence of ideas such as ‘natural religion’ and ‘world religion’, and the ways in which uniformity and difference is established between phenomena encompassed by these terms, for example, how Islam and Christianity are both designated as religions but different forms thereof.  As a counterpoint, we will examine how religious syncretism and conversion both reinforce and subvert distinctions drawn between different religious traditions.  Through discussions of these issues, we will tease out how processes of colonial modernity and how western conceptual and analytical categories play a hegemonic role in shaping our understanding and approach to what is constituted and demarcated as ‘religion’.  In the second thematic section, our class will examine how ‘religion’ comes to be separated out analytically from other categories of experience such as politics, economics, and the secular, and we examine how interrelations between these categories are reestablished.  In the third and final thematic section, students will bring their sharpened analytic faculties to bear on contemporary religious expressions, and examine a variety of contemporary religious movements and media including the television serialization of the Ramayana and its influence on India’s Hindutva movements, cassette sermons and the ethical formation of subjects in Egypt, Pentecostal movie-making in Ghana, and Baptists' use of speech to preach in the US.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Deadline: Applications must be received by February 28, 2014.  

USINDO is pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2014 Sumitro Fellows Program

The Sumitro Fellows Program is a $10,000 travel/study grant for post-doctoral scholars, PhD candidates, senior academics, and otherwise professionally qualified candidates to engage in field research. 

  • One Fellowship is awarded to a United States citizen/permanent resident for an outstanding research project relating to improving understanding of the political economy of Indonesia. 
  • A second Fellowship is awarded to an Indonesian citizen for an outstanding research project contributing to understanding or advancing the Indonesian-United States relationship. 

The Sumitro Fellows program honors Dr. Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, the architect of Indonesia's modern economy and co-founder of USINDO, who passed away in 2001. Professor Sumitro headed the faculty of economics at the University of Indonesia, and was later Minister of Trade and Minister of State for Research.

Professor Sumitro was also the driving force behind a 1950's program of the Ford Foundation which sent Indonesian economists to the U.S. for advanced degrees. Many attended the University of California at Berkeley and the group came to be known as the "Berkeley Mafia" when its members assumed key cabinet posts in subsequent decades and contributed powerfully to Indonesia's development in the New Order period.

Click here for more information about this funding opportunity.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Scholarship for US-China Student Summit

$100K Towards 100K Strong

The 100,000 Strong mission aims to spark interest in Chinese study across a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s for that reason that we are so pleased to announce that we have secured $100,000 in need-based scholarships for students attending the U.S.-China Student Summit. This money is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified students, so please don’t wait to share this information! To get more details, call 1-855-868-5493.

Early Registration Discount – before January 24!

In addition, we’re pleased to share that every student who registers for this exciting China travel experience with deposit paid by January 24 will automatically receive a $100 discount on the program.
Still waiting to learn more about the U.S.-China Student Summit? Our deadlines are approaching soon. Call 1-855-868-5493 and get your delegation started before these special savings run out.
With the early registration discount and so many new scholarships available, we know that the vision of recruiting a full, diverse delegation of students from your school is achievable. And, with your participation, we know that the 100,000 Strong goal is within reach.
See you in Beijing!

The U.S.-China Student Summit Team

Friday, December 13, 2013

Announcing Sigur Center 2014 Summer Language and Research Grants!

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies is pleased to announce grants for language study and field research for Summer 2014. Previous grant recipients have received funding for travel to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

There are five grant types: Chinese Language Study in Taiwan, Korean Language Study in Korea, Asian Language Study in Asia, Estelle Sigur Grant for Japanese Language Study in Japan,  and Asian Field Research.  Students with an interest in furthering their Asian language skills or conducting field research in Asia are highly encouraged to apply. All GW BA, MA and PhD students are eligible for Language Grants. Asian Field Research Grants are open to MA and PhD students. Students may apply regardless of nationality.

All grant applications are due by February 14, 2014.

Learn more about Sigur Center grants at:

Please direct all inquiries regarding Sigur Center Language and Research Grants to Andrew Parker, Asian Studies Program Assistant at

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scholarship for Service in India

AIF Clinton Fellowship for Service in India

The AIF Clinton Fellowship for Service in India is an immersive, 10-month service program matching a select group of young American professionals with high impact NGOs and social enterprises across India based on their interests and skills. Fellows work on scalable and sustainable development projects in the fields of education, livelihoods, public health, and human rights. The ideal candidate must demonstrate a deep interest, passion, and commitment to social and economic development in India. Visit the AIF Clinton Fellowship for Service in India website to apply. Application deadline is February 1, 2014.

Monday, December 9, 2013

2nd JASC-KASC Symposium Event

 The 2nd JASC-KASC Symposium
Advancing Trust in U.S.-Korea-Japan Trilateral Partnership

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Root Room Auditorium
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036

You are cordially invited to attend the second JASC-KASC Symposium: Advancing Trust in U.S.-Korea-Japan Trilateral Partnership. This in-depth discussion moderated by student leaders from the U.S., Japan, and Korea will take place on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 8:30am-2:00pm (breakfast/lunch provided).

Based on JASC and KASC student leaders’ interests this year, the symposium this January will feature two panels: Historical Controversies and Security with speakers Dr. Victor Cha and Dr. Mike Green; and Women in Society with speakers Chiyo Kobayashi and Florence Lee.

Given the student-run nature of JASC and KASC, ISC is uniquely positioned to empower the students to discuss the importance of U.S.-Japan-Korea trilateral partnership and possible solutions to alleviate the tension between the two countries. The purpose of the symposium is to create a “safe forum” in which students are able to speak about sensitive issues and share ideas on how the future leaders in the three countries can build a stronger trust and personal and professional ties.

On behalf of the entire ISC staff and student leaders, we cordially invite you to come and join the discussion! Complimentary breakfast will be served before the panel discussions and sandwiches for the networking luncheon featuring remarks from and Glen S. Fukushima (Vice Chair of ISC Board of Directors) and a US Government official (TBD).


Tentative Time Schedule

8:30 am:                      Registration & Breakfast

9:00 am:                      Greetings from JASC and KASC Student leaders

9:15 – 10:30 am:         Panel I: Historical Controversies and Security
   Speakers:Victor Cha and Mike Green
10:30 – 10:45 am:       Coffee Break
10:45 – 12:00 pm:       Panel II: Women in Society

12:00 – 2:00 pm:         Networking Lunch
Speakers: Glen S. Fukushima & US Government 

Official (TBD)