Introduction: anthropology within and without the secular condition

Khaled Furani*, Joel Robbins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This introductory essay explores the secular constitution of the discipline of anthropology. Anthropology has reflexively interrogated the influence of the colonial, post-colonial, and rhetorical conditions that have shaped its development; however, its growth within the decidedly secular academy has been largely ignored. This inattention has persisted in recent decades even as anthropologists have begun investigating the place of secularism in the lives of those it studies. In advocating that we inquire into the secular making of anthropology itself, we argue that this task not only requires exploring how anthropologists represent others, and how they relate to scholarship produced in related fields such as theology, religious studies, and philosophy, but also demands attention to the ways the secular world bounds the life of anthropological reason.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-517
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


FundersFunder number
Wenner-Gren Foundation


    • Anthropology
    • reflexivity
    • religion
    • secularism
    • theology


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