Research seminar: "The Anthropology of Scriptures: Reading Cultural Texts and Social Difference"

Research seminar hosted by the Centre for Religion and Public Life. Dr Richard Newton (University of Alabama), will be speaking about their work on the anthropology of scriptures.

The seminar will take place online via MS Teams. Please contact Dr Hollie Gowan ( for the meeting link.

"The Anthropology of Scriptures:  Reading Cultural Texts and Social Difference"

For many, the notion of “scriptures” brings to mind the  privileged texts of Christian tradition. And while substantial effort went into forging that association, the history behind it should not deter us from broadening our horizons of the public square. In this talk I discuss the possibilities that extend from considering the anthropology of scriptures, an investigation into not only the ways that people read cultural texts, but also how and why those texts appear to read them back.

Building on insights from my recent book, Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures (Equinox 2020), I offers an analytical grammar and vocabulary for studying the Bible and other cultural texts as tools for social formation, using the Obama and Trump presidencies as touchstones for examining the difference people make with scriptures.

Dr Richard Newton is an Assistant Professor from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama.