Sociology and Anthropology
MA in Anthropology, Brandeis University
Fields: Anthropology of religion; evangelical Christianity; racial inequality in post-apartheid South Africa; cross-cultural epistemology; legal anthropology
Office Phone: 1-443-823-6364
Office: Beaven 216
PO Box: 50A
Office Hours Fall 2021: Mondays 12:00-1:00 PM, Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 PM, and by appointment
Douglas Bafford is a cultural anthropologist specializing in questions of religious and scientific knowledge production. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa and the United States with evangelical Christians, exploring how people who adopt a conservative religious framework understand and respond to prevailing social problems. This research involves qualitative analyses of diverse trends facing Christian communities, including the discourse of anti-racism, controversies over young-earth creationism, and anxieties about the global rise of Pentecostalism. These projects place complex expressions of religious rhetoric in a comparative and cross-cultural perspective. More broadly, he has written about the changing post-apartheid religious landscape and the intersection of religion and science in everyday life.
His current work considers the effects of culture and social transformation on transnational evangelical networks within southern Africa and beyond. At Holy Cross, he introduces students to the analytic perspective of anthropology through the introductory course (ANTH 101) and intermediate-level courses in the anthropology of religion and legal anthropology. The goal of these courses is to equip students with a holistic and critical understanding of our interconnected, multicultural world.
- ANTH 101, The Anthropological Perspective
- ANTH 299, Anthropology of Law
- ANTH 262, Anthropology of Religion
- “Who Gets to Own Land?” In press. In People Before Markets: An Alternative Case Book, edited by Daniel Souleles, Johan Gersel, and Morten Sørensen Thaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- "Review of Glossolalia and the Problem of Language, Nicholas Harkness, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021.” Early view. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. doi:10.1111/jola.12317
- “Pentecostal Promise and a South African Dream Deferred.” 2020. Africa Is a Country, March 31. https://africasacountry.com/2020/03/pentecostal-promise-and-a-south-african-dream-deferred
- “Aging and the End Times: Evangelical Eschatology and Experiences of Elderhood in the United States and South Africa.” 2019. Anthropology & Aging 40(1):32-47. doi:10.5195/aa.2019.197
- “Religion and Science.” 2018. In The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Hilary Callan, general editor. Simon Coleman, associate editor. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1812