In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in assemblages of religious practice and economic action. Whereas a generation ago, economic action was generally presumed to be secular, contemporary scholars have increasingly recognized the recursive relation between religion, money, and economies-at-large. Nonetheless there has been little systematic reflection as to what methods might be adequate to understanding this articulation. Based on strategies developed for conducting fieldwork on two distinct assemblages of Islam and capitalism in Southeast Asia this lecture outlines a methodological framework for conducting empirical fieldwork at the intersection of religion and economy. The first assemblage was delineated by a company-sponsored initiative to enhance the Islamic piety of employees in heavy industry. The second assemblage was configured by efforts to create a global hub for financial services done in accordance with Islamic prescriptions for the provision of capital. The lecture describes a set of common methods developed to diagnose these assemblages with the goal of enabling future work on the articulation of religion, money, and economies-at-large.
Daromir Rudnyckyj is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria. His research addresses globalization, money, religion, development, finance, and the state. He conducts field and archival work in Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. His current research examines the techno-politics of money, with a focus on experiments in producing monetary forms and public debates over currency reform. His most recent book, Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2019), examines efforts to create a transnational financial network independent of debt and efforts to make Kuala Lumpur the “New York of the Muslim World” by transforming it into the central node in a transnational Islamic financial system.
The Doll Family gift aims to inspire the University community toward a greater understanding of the many varied relationships between religion and money, including philanthropy, personal and corporate stewardship, and wealth and poverty. The Doll event was established in 2007 by Henry C. Doll ’58 and his family. It reflects the family’s longstanding interest in the subject of philanthropy and its relationship with religion.