lecture24.conversion.0316 - Tamang Conversions Invocation...

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1 Tamang Conversions Culture, Politics, and the Christian Conversion Narrative in Nepal Tom Fricke Department of Anthropology University of Michigan 1 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 2 Invocation by Chen Rezig “Therefore, Shariputra, without attainment, bodhisattvas take refuge in Prajnaparamita and live without walls of the mind. Without walls of the mind and thus without fears,they see through delusions and finally nirvana.” Avalokiteshvara (Chen Rezig), The Heart Sutra, lines 21-25. Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Timling 3 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Tamang & Ghale 4 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Christianity in Nepal 1715-1769: Earliest Mission, Capuchin Friars (claimed 12,000 baptism - but just over 80 “conversions”) 1950s: census lists just 30 self-reported Christians 1991: census lists just over 200,000 2000s: gov’t acknowledges 1,000,000 (Church groups claim about double this figure - so 4-8% conversion in 18 years) 5 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 The Transformation in Timling 6 Lecture 24, 03/16/11
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2 Two Models of Religious Conversion 1) Pauline Model (William James): “sudden, effected by the incursion of an outside force, and emotionally wrenching” (Wills 2004: 3, who criticizes this model) 2) Continuity Model: “syncretism” -- classic example of Virgin of Guadalupe -- popular among anthropologists but recently criticized by anthropologist Joel Robbins 7 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Pauline: Subject to Death Jonathan Lear, 2006, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation . Harvard. “[W]hen the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground, and they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened.” “If the traditional Crow experienced devastation in things they might do, they experienced a terrible attack on what they might be.” 8 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Pauline: “The Kali Yuga Has Come” In the village, everybody is joined. But in the city a person makes his own way, his own provisions for tomorrow's food; he's alone. He builds one house for himself. And then another builds one for himself and so on . . . everybody for himself. And in that way the old habits are gone, finished. 9 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 “The Kali Yuga Has Come” Marriage Years ------------------------------- Marriage Practice <1960 1961-74 >1975 ------------------------------------------------ Chose Own Spouse 14 41 36 Pong Exchange 66 50 46 1 st Cousin Spouse 31% 25% 24% Brideservice 80% 73% 59% “Divorce” 13% 34% 34% 10 Lecture 24, 03/16/11 Continuities: syncretism? 11
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lecture24.conversion.0316 - Tamang Conversions Invocation...

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