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The School for Advanced Research Honors Tanya Luhrmann’s How God Becomes Real: Award Presentation, Discussion and Reception

Tanya Luhrmann
Mon May 13th 2024, 3:30 - 5:00pm
Department of Anthropology
Building 50, Room 51A

Award Citation

How do people of faith come to feel the presence of God in their everyday lives? With admirable clarity and a directness that belies the sophistication of her argument, T. M. Luhrmann explores the practices that enable people to experience the divine as embodied, tangible, and real. Based on decades of wide-ranging fieldwork with evangelical Christians in the US, India and elsewhere as well as other denominational communities, she argues that it is action, discipline, and repetition that drive faith, rather than the reverse. Looking at the many ways that devout individuals cultivate a talent for joining private-but-shared imaginative worlds, Luhrmann shows how faith is “kindled,” or intentionally brought into being. In vivid and concise prose accessible to a wide audience, Luhrmann reveals how living in the “faith frame” demands effort for people in all religions. This book will engage anyone interested in questions of faith in an imperfect world and offers anthropologists a model for entering into important public conversations.


About the J. I. Staley Prize

Since 1988, the School for Advanced Research has awarded the J. I. Staley Prize to a living author for an English-language book that exemplifies outstanding scholarship and writing in anthropology. The award recognizes innovative works that go beyond traditional frontiers and dominant schools of thought in anthropology and add new dimensions to our understanding of the human species. It honors books that cross subfield boundaries within anthropology and reach out in new and expanded interdisciplinary directions. Books awarded the Staley Prize are nominated by fellow anthropologists and chosen by an anonymous panel of scholars representing the diversity of anthropology’s subfields