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Religion and Materiality: Re-thinking a Complex Relation from the Angle of Food

Dr. Birgit Meyer
Friday, November 12, 2021
3:00-5:00 PM
Off Campus Location
The concern of the material turn in the study of religion is to allow for fresh, detailed and conceptually challenging empirical research that lends itself to comparison. Compared to objects, images or buildings, so far food has received little attention in this research strand. Exploring Feuerbach’s ideas about the stomach as the basis for his materialist philosophy, I argue that food is a material form that allows us to throw new light on the physical and corporeal dimensions of religion. I explore the possibilities for research that arise from a focus on food by turning to a collection of legba-figures that were taken from their site of origin among the Ewe in Ghana and Togo to the Übersee-Museum Bremen, Germany. My main concern is to explore how food – as a material form at the core of how humans relate to and are part of the world – is a key focus for research aiming to fold materiality back into our understanding of religion.

Birgit Meyer (PhD in Anthropology, 1995) is Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she studies religion from a material and postcolonial angle, seeking to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a multidisciplinary setting. Recent book publications include Figuration and Sensations of the Unseen in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Contested Desires (2019, coedited with Terje Stordalen), and Refugees and Religion. Ethnographic Studies of Global Trajectories (2021, coedited with Peter van der Veer). She directs the research program Religious Matters in an Entangled World (

Register at
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Anthropology, Mcubed
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Judaic Studies, Department of Anthropology