Drawing on two years of ethnographic research, Naomi Haynes explores Pentecostal Christianity in the kind of community where it often flourishes: a densely populated neighborhood in the heart of an extraction economy. On the Zambian Copperbelt, Pentecostal adherence embeds believers in relationships that help them to “move” and progress in life. These efforts give Copperbelt Pentecostalism its particular local character, shaping ritual practice, gender dynamics, and church economics. Focusing on the promises and problems that Pentecostalism presents, Moving by the Spirit highlights this religion’s role in making life possible in structurally adjusted Africa.
Prohibition and Mediation in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community
Author: Tom Boylston
Publisher: Univ of California Press
"The Stranger at the Feast is the first full-length ethnographic study of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. Based on two years of field study on the Zege peninsula on Lake Tana between 2008 and 2014, the book follows the material relationships by which Ethiopian Orthodox Christians relate to God, each other, and the material environment. It shows how religious life in Zege is based around a ritual ecology of prohibition and mediation in which fasting and avoidance practices are necessary in order to make the material world fit for religious life. The book traces how religious feeding and fasting practices have been the idiom through which Christians in Zege have understood the turbulent political changes of recent decades"--Provided by publisher.
Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement
Author: Jon Bialecki
Publisher: Univ of California Press
What is the work that miracles do in American Charismatic Evangelicalism? How can miracles be unanticipated and yet worked for? And finally, what do miracles tell us about other kinds of Christianity and even the category of religion? A Diagram for Fire engages with these questions in a detailed sociocultural ethnographic study of the Vineyard, an American Evangelical movement that originated in Southern California. This movement is known worldwide for its intense musical forms of worship and for advocating the belief that all Christians can perform biblical-style miracles. Setting the miracle as both a strength and a challenge to institutional cohesion and human planning, this book situates the miracle as a fundamentally social means of producing change—surprise and the unexpected used to reimagine and reconfigure the will. Jon Bialecki shows how this configuration of the miraculous shapes typical Pentecostal and Charismatic religious practices as well as music, reading, economic choices, and conservative and progressive political imaginaries.
Religious Conversion, Media, and Urban Violence in Brazil
Author: Martijn Oosterbaan
Publisher: Penn State Press
Pentecostalism is one of the most rapidly expanding religious-cultural forms in the world. Its rise in popularity is often attributed to its successfully incorporating native cosmologies in new religious frameworks. This volume probes for more complex explanations to this phenomenon in the favelas of Brazil, once one of the most Catholic nations in the world. Based on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro and drawing from religious studies, anthropology of religion, and media theory, Transmitting the Spirit argues that the Pentecostal movement’s growth is due directly to its ability to connect politics, entertainment, and religion. Examining religious and secular media—music and magazines, political ads and telenovelas—Martijn Oosterbaan shows how Pentecostal leaders progressively appropriate and recategorize cultural forms according to the religion’s cosmologies. His analysis of the interrelationship among evangélicos distributing doctrine, devotees’ reception and interpretation of nonreligious messaging, perceptions of the self and others by favela dwellers, and the slums of urban Brazil as an entity reveals Pentecostalism’s remarkable capacity to engage with the media influences that shape daily life in economically vulnerable urban areas. An eye-opening look at Pentecostalism, media, society, and culture in the turbulent favelas of Brazil, this book sheds new light on both the evolving role of religion in Latin America and the proliferation of religious ideas and practices in the postmodern world.
Zambia’s Radio Elder and the Voices of Free Speech
Author: Harri Englund
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Being Gogo Breeze -- Mass-mediated elderhood -- The grandfather's voices -- Obligations on and off air -- On air: beyond charity -- Off air: private service -- Women and children -- Between feminisms and paternalisms -- Children's voices -- Coda -- Radio obligations -- Appendix A: confronting mill owners -- Appendix B: helping Miriam Nkhoma
Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda
Author: China Scherz
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Category: Social Science
Believing that charity inadvertently legitimates social inequality and fosters dependence, many international development organizations have increasingly sought to replace material aid with efforts to build self-reliance and local institutions. But in some cultures—like those in rural Uganda, where Having People, Having Heart takes place—people see this shift not as an effort toward empowerment but as a suspect refusal to redistribute wealth. Exploring this conflict, China Scherz balances the negative assessments of charity that have led to this shift with the viewpoints of those who actually receive aid. Through detailed studies of two different orphan support organizations in Uganda, Scherz shows how many Ugandans view material forms of Catholic charity as deeply intertwined with their own ethics of care and exchange. With a detailed examination of this overlooked relationship in hand, she reassesses the generally assumed paradox of material aid as both promising independence and preventing it. The result is a sophisticated demonstration of the powerful role that anthropological concepts of exchange, value, personhood, and religion play in the politics of international aid and development.
Invisible Agents shows how personal and deeply felt spiritual beliefs can inspire social movements and influence historical change. Conventional historiography concentrates on the secular, materialist, or moral sources of political agency. Instead, David M. Gordon argues, when people perceive spirits as exerting power in the visible world, these beliefs form the basis for individual and collective actions. Focusing on the history of the south-central African country of Zambia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his analysis invites reflection on political and religious realms of action in other parts of the world, and complicates the post-Enlightenment divide of sacred and profane. The book combines theoretical insights with attention to local detail and remarkable historical sweep, from oral narratives communicated across slave-trading routes during the nineteenth century, through the violent conflicts inspired by Christian and nationalist prophets during colonial times, and ending with the spirits of Pentecostal rebirth during the neoliberal order of the late twentieth century. To gain access to the details of historical change and personal spiritual beliefs across this long historical period, Gordon employs all the tools of the African historian. His own interviews and extensive fieldwork experience in Zambia provide texture and understanding to the narrative. He also critically interprets a diverse range of other sources, including oral traditions, fieldnotes of anthropologists, missionary writings and correspondence, unpublished state records, vernacular publications, and Zambian newspapers. Invisible Agents will challenge scholars and students alike to think in new ways about the political imagination and the invisible sources of human action and historical change.
Translation and Denominational Conflict in Papua New Guinea
Author: Courtney Handman
Publisher: Univ of California Press
In Critical Christianity, Courtney Handman analyzes the complex and conflicting forms of sociality that Guhu-Samane Christians of rural Papua New Guinea privilege and celebrate as “the body of Christ.” Within Guhu-Samane churches, processes of denominational schism—long relegated to the secular study of politics or identity—are moments of critique through which Christians constitute themselves and their social worlds. Far from being a practice of individualism, Protestantism offers local people ways to make social groups sacred units of critique. Bible translation, produced by members of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, is a crucial resource for these critical projects of religious formation. From early interaction with German Lutheran missionaries to engagements with the Summer Institute of Linguistics to the contemporary moment of conflict, Handman presents some of the many models of Christian sociality that are debated among Guhu-Samane Christians. Central to the study are Handman's rich analyses of the media through which this critical Christian sociality is practiced, including language, sound, bodily movement, and everyday objects. This original and thought-provoking book is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology and religious studies.
The Friday Masowe apostolics of Zimbabwe refer to themselves as "the Christians who don’t read the Bible." They claim they do not need the Bible because they receive the Word of God "live and direct" from the Holy Spirit. In this insightful and sensitive historical ethnography, Matthew Engelke documents how this rejection of scripture speaks to longstanding concerns within Christianity over mediation and authority. The Bible, of course, has been a key medium through which Christians have recognized God’s presence. But the apostolics perceive scripture as an unnecessary, even dangerous, mediator. For them, the materiality of the Bible marks a distance from the divine and prohibits the realization of a live and direct faith. Situating the Masowe case within a broad comparative framework, Engelke shows how their rejection of textual authority poses a problem of presence—which is to say, how the religious subject defines, and claims to construct, a relationship with the spiritual world through the semiotic potentials of language, actions, and objects. Written in a lively and accessible style, A Problem of Presence makes important contributions to the anthropology of Christianity, the history of religions in Africa, semiotics, and material culture studies.
Changing Ideological Landscapes in Urban Kyrgyzstan
Author: Mathijs Pelkmans
Publisher: Cornell University Press
The Allied occupation of Japan is remembered as the "good occupation." An American-led coalition successfully turned a militaristic enemy into a stable and democratic ally. Of course, the story was more complicated, but the occupation did forge one of the most enduring relationships in the postwar world. Recent events, from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to protests over American bases in Japan to increasingly aggressive territorial disputes between Asian nations over islands in the Pacific, have brought attention back to the subject of the occupation of Japan. In Architects of Occupation, Dayna L. Barnes exposes the wartime origins of occupation policy and broader plans for postwar Japan. She considers the role of presidents, bureaucrats, think tanks, the media, and Congress in policymaking. Members of these elite groups came together in an informal policy network that shaped planning. Rather than relying solely on government reports and records to understand policymaking, Barnes also uses letters, memoirs, diaries, and manuscripts written by policymakers to trace the rise and spread of ideas across the policy network. The book contributes a new facet to the substantial literature on the occupation, serves as a case study in foreign policy analysis, and tells a surprising new story about World War II.
Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt
Author: James Ferguson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
Once lauded as the wave of the African future, Zambia's economic boom in the 1960s and early 1970s was fueled by the export of copper and other primary materials. Since the mid-1970s, however, the urban economy has rapidly deteriorated, leaving workers scrambling to get by. Expectations of Modernity explores the social and cultural responses to this prolonged period of sharp economic decline. Focusing on the experiences of mineworkers in the Copperbelt region, James Ferguson traces the failure of standard narratives of urbanization and social change to make sense of the Copperbelt's recent history. He instead develops alternative analytic tools appropriate for an "ethnography of decline." Ferguson shows how the Zambian copper workers understand their own experience of social, cultural, and economic "advance" and "decline." Ferguson's ethnographic study transports us into their lives—the dynamics of their relations with family and friends, as well as copper companies and government agencies. Theoretically sophisticated and vividly written, Expectations of Modernity will appeal not only to those interested in Africa today, but to anyone contemplating the illusory successes of today's globalizing economy.
This collection provides vivid ethnographic explorations of particular, local Christianities as they are experienced by different groups around the world. At the same time, the contributors, all anthropologists, rethink the vexed relationship between anthropology and Christianity. As Fenella Cannell contends in her powerful introduction, Christianity is the critical “repressed” of anthropology. To a great extent, anthropology first defined itself as a rational, empirically based enterprise quite different from theology. The theology it repudiated was, for the most part, Christian. Cannell asserts that anthropological theory carries within it ideas profoundly shaped by this rejection. Because of this, anthropology has been less successful in considering Christianity as an ethnographic object than it has in considering other religions. This collection is designed to advance a more subtle and less self-limiting anthropological study of Christianity. The contributors examine the contours of Christianity among diverse groups: Catholics in India, the Philippines, and Bolivia, and Seventh-Day Adventists in Madagascar; the Swedish branch of Word of Life, a charismatic church based in the United States; and Protestants in Amazonia, Melanesia, and Indonesia. Highlighting the wide variation in what it means to be Christian, the contributors reveal vastly different understandings and valuations of conversion, orthodoxy, Scripture, the inspired word, ritual, gifts, and the concept of heaven. In the process they bring to light how local Christian practices and beliefs are affected by encounters with colonialism and modernity, by the opposition between Catholicism and Protestantism, and by the proximity of other religions and belief systems. Together the contributors show that it not sufficient for anthropologists to assume that they know in advance what the Christian experience is; each local variation must be encountered on its own terms. Contributors. Cecilia Busby, Fenella Cannell, Simon Coleman, Peter Gow, Olivia Harris, Webb Keane, Eva Keller, David Mosse, Danilyn Rutherford, Christina Toren, Harvey Whitehouse
Tracing the rise and development of the Ghanaian video film industry between 1985 and 2010, Sensational Movies examines video movies as seismographic devices recording a culture and society in turmoil. This book captures the dynamic process of popular filmmaking in Ghana as a new medium for the imagination and tracks the interlacing of the medium’s technological, economic, social, cultural, and religious aspects. Stepping into the void left by the defunct state film industry, video movies negotiate the imaginaries deployed by state cinema on the one hand and Christianity on the other. Birgit Meyer analyzes Ghanaian video as a powerful, sensational form. Colliding with the state film industry’s representations of culture, these movies are indebted to religious notions of divination and revelation. Exploring the format of “film as revelation,” Meyer unpacks the affinity between cinematic and popular Christian modes of looking and showcases the transgressive potential haunting figurations of the occult. In this brilliant study, Meyer offers a deep, conceptually innovative analysis of the role of visual culture within the politics and aesthetics of religious world making.
Roy Richard Grinker,Stephen C. Lubkemann,Christopher Steiner
Author: Roy Richard Grinker,Stephen C. Lubkemann,Christopher Steiner
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Category: Social Science
"This welcome new edition of key texts, written about Africa as well as from within it, builds on the past but speaks boldly to the current generation - with some striking contributions on contemporary issues." Wendy James, University of Oxford "This carefully chosen and brilliantly edited collection is an extraordinary resource for anthropologists of Africa. Some of the most seminal works in one of the most foundational domains in the discipline take on new significance In the light of the new current scholarship represented in the volume and of the new conversations among them that Grinker, Lubkernann and Steiner have brought out. This volume is a treasure." Caroline H. Bledsoe, Northwestern University "This Impressive volume provides a critical genealogy of scholarship In Africa, weaving together historical and contemporary pieces to provide insights not only into the political economy and cultural dynamism of Africa's past, but of its future too." Henrietta Moore, University of Cambridge and Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics "This superb collection of influential contemporary and classic works in African studies will be indispensable to both students and instructors. Twelve thematic sections, each masterfully framed by the editors, offer a deft blend of intellectual history, theory, and thnography." Angelique Haugerud, Rutgers University The second edition of the popular reader Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation offers forty six articles illustrating the dynamic processes by which scholars have described and understood African history and culture over the past several decades. This new edition presents fourteen new selections as well as two entirely new parts, "Violent Transformations: Conflict and Displacement" and "Development, Governance, and Globalization," revealing the historical trajectory, daily experience, and vital influence of African people in the modern world. Roy Richard Grinker is Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University, Director of the GW Institute for Ethnographic Research, and Editor-in-Chief of Anthropological Quarterly. He is author of four other books, including In the Arms of Africa: The Life of Colin M. Turnbull, and Houses in the Rainforest, and Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism. Stephen C. Lubkemann is Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University. He is author of Culture in Chaos: An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War and is associate editor for Anthropological Quarterly and a co-founder of GWU's Diaspora Research Program. Christopher B. Steiner is the Lucy C. McDannel '22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology, and Director of Museum Studies at Connecticut College. He is the author of the award-winning book African Art in Transit, and co-editor (with Ruth Phillips) of Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds.
Globalization promised to bring about a golden age of liberal individualism, breaking down hierarchies of kinship, caste, and gender around the world and freeing people to express their true, authentic agency. But in some places globalization has spurred the emergence of new forms of hierarchy—or the reemergence of old forms—as people try to reconstitute an imagined past of stable moral order. This is evident from the Islamic revival in the Middle East to visions of the 1950s family among conservatives in the United States. Why does this happen and how do we make sense of this phenomenon? Why do some communities see hierarchy as desireable? In this book, leading anthropologists draw on insightful ethnographic case studies from around the world to address these trends. Together, they develop a theory of hierarchy that treats it both as a relational form and a framework for organizing ideas about the social good.
A classic question in studies of ritual is how ritual performances achieve-or fail to achieve-their effects. In this pathbreaking book, Matt Tomlinson argues that participants condition their own expectations of ritual success by interactively creating distinct textual patterns of sequence, conjunction, contrast, and substitution. Drawing on long-term research in Fiji, Ritual Textuality presents in-depth studies of each of these patterns, taken from a wide range of settings: a fiery, soul-saving Pentecostal crusade; relaxed gatherings at which people drink the narcotic beverage kava; deathbeds at which missionaries eagerly await the signs of good Christians' "happy deaths"; and the monologic pronouncements of a military-led government determined to make the nation speak in a single voice. In each of these cases, Tomlinson also examines the broad ideologies of motion which frame participants' ritual actions, such as Pentecostals' beliefs that effective worship requires ecstatic movement like jumping, dancing, and clapping, and nineteenth-century missionaries' insistence that the journeys of the soul in the afterlife should follow a new path. By approaching ritual as an act of "entextualization"-in which the flow of discourse is turned into object-like texts-while analyzing the ways people expect words, things, and selves to move in performance, this book presents a new and compelling way to understand the efficacy of ritual action.
Since the 1950s, millions of American Christians have traveled to the Holy Land to visit places in Israel and the Palestinian territories associated with JesusOCOs life and death. Why do these pilgrims choose to journey halfway around the world? How do they react to what they encounter, and how do they understand the trip upon return? This book places the answers to these questions into the context of broad historical trends, analyzing how the growth of mass-market evangelical and Catholic pilgrimage relates to changes in American Christian theology and culture over the last sixty years, including shifts in Jewish-Christian relations, the growth of small group spirituality, and the development of a Christian leisure industry. Drawing on five years of research with pilgrims before, during and after their trips, a Walking Where Jesus Walked aoffers a lived religion approach that explores the tripOCOs hybrid nature for pilgrims themselves: both ordinaryOCotied to their everyday role as the familyOCOs ritual specialists, and extraordinaryOCosince they leave home in a dramatic way, often for the first time. Their experiences illuminate key tensions in contemporary US Christianity between material evidence and transcendent divinity, commoditization and religious authority, domestic relationships and global experience. Hillary Kaell crafts the first in-depth study of the cultural and religious significance of American Holy Land pilgrimage after 1948. The result sheds light on how Christian pilgrims, especially women, make sense of their experience in Israel-Palestine, offering an important complement to top-down approaches in studies of Christian Zionism and foreign policy."
Over the last decade there has been ongoing discussion about the place of religion in Québécois society, particularly following the proposed Charter of Quebec Values in 2013. The essays in Everyday Sacred emerged from this active and often tense period of debate. Revitalizing an awareness of how people encounter, create, and employ religion in everyday life, contributors to this volume explore communities’ networks of beliefs, traditions, and relationships. Through broad comparisons beyond the Quebec context, contributors look at African Pentecostal congregations, an Iraqi Jewish community in Montreal, a rural Catholic parish on the Saint Lawrence River, and Tewehikan drumming in Wemotaci. They also examine wayside crosses, places of pilgrimage and devotion, debates on the regulation of the hijab, and the place of Montreal Spiritualists and transhumanists in the religious landscape. Seeking a holistic definition of Québécois religion, Everyday Sacred considers religious and secular identity, pluralism, the bodily and material aspects of religion, the impact of gender on community and the public sphere, and the rise of hybridity, sociality, and new technologies in transnational and online networks, in order to uncover the transmission of practices and beliefs from one generation to another. Disrupting familiar dichotomies between Catholicism and other religions, “founders” and immigrants, new religious movements and traditional institutions, Everyday Sacred marks the beginning of a sustained conversation on contemporary religion in Quebec, both inside and outside of the province. Contributors include: Emma Anderson (University of Ottawa), Randall Balmer (Dartmouth College), Hélène Charron (Université Laval), Elysia Guzik (University of Toronto), Laurent Jérôme (Université du Québec à Montréal), Norma B. Joseph (Concordia University), Cory Andrew Labrecque (Université Laval), Deirdre Meintel (Université de Montréal), Géraldine Mossière (Université de Montréal), Frédéric Parent (Université de Québec à Montréal), Meena Sharify-Funk (Wilfrid Laurier University).