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Irreverence and the SacredCritical Studies in the History of Religions$
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Hugh Urban and Greg Johnson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190911966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190911966.001.0001

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Ritual, Advocacy, and Authority

Ritual, Advocacy, and Authority

The Challenge of Being an Irreverent Witness

(p.131) 6 Ritual, Advocacy, and Authority
Irreverence and the Sacred

Greg Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of ritual in the contemporary context of Hawaiian indigenous communities and their disputes over rights to sacred lands. The focus of the chapter concerns Native Hawaiian challenges to the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Mauna Kea. The chapter addresses not only the more recognizably “religious” rituals performed in this context but also the rituals of political protest and legal contestation. In a challenge to Bruce Lincoln’s approach, the author reflexively analyzes his own role as both a scholar of and an advocate for these communities (a role that would seem to be condemned by Lincoln’s critical approach). Concluding, the chapter offers reflections on the stakes of advocacy for scholars of religion.

Keywords:   ritual, indigenous religions, law, land, Hawai’i

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