Pub. Date:
Columbia University Press
Animism: Respecting the Living World / Edition 1

Animism: Respecting the Living World / Edition 1

by Graham HarveyGraham Harvey


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How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231137010
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/26/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 262
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 5.50(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Graham Harvey (PhD, Religion, Newcastle) is Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University, London. He is the author of Animism: Respecting the Living World (Columbia/Hurst, 2005), Food, Sex, and Strangers: Understanding Religion in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2013), and Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism 2/e (Hurst/NYU, 1997) and the editor of a number of books, including Handbook of Contemporary Animusm (Routledge, 2013), The Paganism Reader (Routledge, 2004), Shamanism: A Reader (Routledge, 2003), Indigenous Religions: A Companion (Palgrave, 2000), and Sensual Religion: Religion and the Five Senses (Equinox, 2018).

Table of Contents

Part. I. From derogatory to critical term
1. From primitives to persons
Part. II. Animist case studies
2. Ojibwe language
3. Maori arts
4. Aboriginal law and land
5. Eco-pagan activism
Part. III. Animist issues
6. Signs of life and personhood
7. Death
8. Spirits, powers, creators and souls
9. Shamans
10. Cannibalism
11. Totems
12. Elders and ethics
Part. IV. Animism's challenges
13. Environmentalisms
14. Consciousness
15. Philosophers and persons

What People are Saying About This

Stewart Guthrie

The strengths of this book are its fluid and engaging...writing; its openly committed stand on the central question, i.e., whether or not animals, plants, rivers, etc. are people, and its use of major ethnographic sources as evidence, together with conversations with indigenous peoples.

Stewart Guthrie, Fordham University

Sarah M. Pike

Harvey's insightful and balanced study challenges both earlier studies of animism and more recent critics who argue that scholars should throw out the term altogether. This is a fascinating and passionate study of lifeworlds in which things are 'very much alive' and in which relation to non-human others is considered central.

Sarah M. Pike, California State University, Chico, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

Customer Reviews