Keynote_Rakow_DVRW23Katja Rakow
Utrecht University, Niederlande

“Practicing Texts” – The Materiality of Texts and Embodied Text-Related Practices

The concept of textual practices considers all text-related practices – from reading to the recitation or ritual worship of texts – as embodied practices that engage the sensory faculties of the human body and its cognitive abilities while encountering the text as a material object. The guiding observation here is that popular religious texts, in the form of apps, podcasts, songs, self-help books, study materials, etc., play a significant role for religious practitioners in acquiring religious knowledge and implementing it in their daily lives. Not only authoritative scriptures in the strict sense are crucial for the formation of religious subjects and worldviews, but also active engagement with popular textual media broadly related to authoritative religious sources. Thinking about texts and associated practices in material terms allows us to bring together hermeneutical, practice-centered, and material approaches to comprehensively explore the significance of all types of religious texts (both popular and classic authoritative) as semantic-material artifacts in the lives of religious actors.



Markus Dreßler
Universität Leipzig, Deutschland

Religion-Making und Religionisierung

Die Begriffe religion-making und Religionisierung legen den Fokus auf die Prozesshaftigkeit und unterschiedliche Akteursebenen bei der Konstruktion und Verdinglichung von Religion und ihren Artverwandten (wie zum Beispiel der Nicht-Religion und dem Säkularen). Über den Fokus auf die Akteursebene werden Interessen und Motivationen bei der Produktion von Wissen über Religion ins Zentrum der Analyse gestellt. Prozesse der Dekonstruktion von Religion sind in vorgeschlagenem sozialkonstruktivistischem Ansatz mitgedacht.

Rose Mary Amenga-Etago

Rose Mary Amenga-Etago
University of Ghana | University of South Africa

“Women Don’t Build:” Gender Socialisations in an African Religio-Cultural Setting

“Women don’t build” is a typical indigenous saying in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Although women do not literally construct buildings in this socio-cultural setup, the saying is the summative expression of the place and role of women in this society. Imaged symbolically as the construction of a building, it refers to the formation of the family unit. At the core of this saying is an expression of the deep-seated beliefs and practices underlying their patrilineal system and religio-cultural context. Creatively crafted, it undergirds the indigenous notions of reproduction and belongingness, most especially the bearing of heirs to sustain lineages and the practices associated with ancestral beliefs. Unfortunately, the saying does not only create avenues for women’s marginalisation and exclusion; it underpins the indigenous framework for gender socialisation. Paradoxically, there is a disconnect in this unpacking of the saying. If “women don’t build”, what do they do in this environment? One wonders how an ancestral household (lineage) can be built without the full participation of women. Besides, what happens if ‘men don’t build’ or men are unable to build? With ethnographic data from the Gurune and Nankani communities in the region, this presentation examines the complexity of the above saying from two perspectives, indigenous and contemporary, to ground this presentation on social and spatial localisation within the broader theme of “Under construction – Religion as Practices and Process”.

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