Being-in-Christ and Putting Death in Its Place: An Anthropologist's Account of Christian Performance in Spanish America and the American South

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LSU Press, Sep 1, 2006 - Social Science - 414 pages

Winner of the James Mooney Award of the Southern Anthropological Society

In this bracingly original anthropological study, Miles Richardson draws on forty years of empirical research to explore the paradox that while humans must die like all evolving life forms, they have adapted a unique symbolic communication that makes them aware of their naturally occurring fate; and through word and artifact, they dwell upon that discovery. Using the concepts of culture and place, he illuminates how two groups, Catholics in Spanish America and Baptists in the American South, create “being-in-Christ” and thereby “put death in its place.” The book combines biological, cultural, archaeological, and linguistic anthropology; a rigorous evolutionary framework; and a postmodern dialogic stance to view humanity as inescapably a product of nature without sacrificing the interpretative social constructions that “turn a primate into a poem.” Hard-won ethnographic detail and moving religious insight make this an enthralling work.


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Prologue i
The Presence of Christ in the New World during Colonial Times
The Presence of Christ in the New World during Modernity
The Journey Ours and Christs
BeinginChrist in the Presence of Death

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About the author (2006)

Miles Richardson was Doris Z. Stone Professor in Latin American Studies at Louisiana State University and the author or editor of several books, including Cry Lonesome and Other Accounts of the Anthropologist’s Project and The Burden of Being Civilized. A native of Palestine, Texas, he was a high school dropout when he realized his calling to be an anthropologist.

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