University of Wisconsin–Madison

Salomon’s new 2017 book, “At the Mountains’ Altar,” published by Routledge

In high-Andean Peru, Rapaz village maintains a temple to mountain beings who command water and weather. By examining the ritual practices and belief systems of an Andean community, this book presents major theories of religion within a vivid, freshly researched ethnography. From core field encounters, each chapter guides readers outward in a different theoretical direction, successively exploring main paths in the anthropology of religion.

As well as addressing classical approaches in the anthropology of religion, Salomon engages with newer currents such as cognitive-evolutionary models, power-oriented critiques, the ontological reworking of relativism, and the “new materialism.” He reflects on central questions such as: Why does sacred ritualism seem almost universal? Is it seated in social power, human psychology, symbolic meanings, or cultural logics? Are varied theories compatible? Is “religion” still a tenable category in the post-colonial world?