It is now over 20 years since the publication of Roy Rappaport’s magnum opus Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (Cambridge University Press, 1999). It is time for a retrospective on this important work, one which perhaps has not received the attention it deserved — and continues to deserve. At once a profound analysis of the formal consequences of ritual and an elaboration of the relation of humanity with the world we all inhabit, the book also examines the creation of truth and certainty within life conditioned by indeterminacy, alternatives, and the possibility of deceit. Participants will offer a range of responses to the book, emphasizing its relevance to current conversations and directions within ethnographic theory, the opportunities it offers our social and political engagements, and informed critique.
Organizers: Michael Lambek and Jacob Bessen