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The Making of Saints, The Making of Saints, 0817314555, 0-8173-1455-5, 978-0-8173-1455-2, 9780817314552, , , The Making of Saints, 0817351795, 0-8173-5179-5, 978-0-8173-5179-3, 9780817351793, , , The Making of Saints, 0817380884, 0-8173-8088-4, 978-0-8173-8088-5, 9780817380885,

The Making of Saints
Contesting Sacred Ground
Edited by James F. Hopgood

Quality Paper
2005. 248 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2008. 256 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d

Celebrities and popular icons are increasingly ubiquitous figures of a 21st century postmodern world. Some, in death, blur age-old distinctions of sanctification and trespass on sacred ground long held exclusively by religious saints. An emerging continuum is transforming that sacred arena and raising a number of important issues, including the nature of the relationships between the worshipped and the worshipful and the types of institutions that sustain them.

The Making of Saints: Contesting Sacred Ground investigates a number of religious leaders, healers, folk saints, and popular icons in seeking to identify their commonalities and discover how they speak to the same inner yearnings of human beings for gods and heroes. Issues of social relations, love, emotion, charisma, power, and sanctification are addressed by the contributors. Analyses of hagiographies, biographies, media, control of space, pilgrimage, and acts of devotion provide the bases for the authors' explorations of these issues. Among the sanctified included for analysis are the folk saints El Nino Fidencio and Teresa Urrea; the charismatic rabbis Baba Sali, Baba Baruch, and Ifargan; King Chulalongkorn of Thailand; two political figures, Evita Peron and Che Guevara; and three celebrities: James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Japanese rock star HIDE.

The contributors challenge notions of what is sacred and who may be sanctified, and argue that a broadening of views is needed to accommodate and appreciate emerging contemporary realities.



James F. Hopgood is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Founding Director of the Museum of Anthropology at Northern Kentucky University. Author of Settlers of Bajavista: Social and Economic Adaptation in a Mexican Squatter Settlement, Hopgood was presented the 2003 Strongest Influence Award by the NKU Alumni Council.

"This volume asks us again and again what is common among such figures as Israeli holy men, an Argentinean dictator's wife, a Mexican folk healer, and Elvis Presley. It challenges us to avoid the dismissive, stereotypical 'something is screwed up with these people,' and to query honestly and patiently what it is that inspires others to congregate around these luminous images. Something profoundly human resides in the varied manner in which people speak of and to these figures, travel considerable distance at considerable expense to places such as Espinazo, Fairmount, and Graceland, and seek tactile communication with a person now dead."
—Miles E. Richardson, Louisiana State University

"This magnificent collection . . . Clarified many issues, blurred many boundaries, expanded the scope of the anthropology of religion, and brought it closer to the lived world. No small task indeed."
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"This book seeks to explore the way in which the sacred can be found in the secular as well as the religious. . . . This is a fascinating subject and the book consists of a collection of essays which provide convincing support for Hopgood's argument, discussing the complex integration of worship and power, the various manifestations of love and the significance of social structures in the process of sanctification. . . . This book deserves to be read for the considerable anthropological evidence it provides to support a very interesting and necessary premise."—Journal of American Studies

"These essays present a compelling discussion of how image, ritual, and popular desire have been used to memorialize and validate popular icons, heroes, and celebrities. . . . A fascinating read for anyone interested in the dynamics of celebrity and idol creation, the politics of media and image consumption, and the function of venerated others in the creation of modern values and selves."—Biography