Archive for December, 2013

Robbins, “Afterword: Let’s keep it awkward: Anthropology, theology, and otherness”

December 15, 2013

Robbins, Joel. 2013. Afterword: Let’s keep it awkward: Anthropology, theology, and otherness. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 24(3):329-337.

Excerpt: This collection of articles is a very welcome surprise. In the years since writing the 2006 essay on anthropology and theology with which all of the articles to some extent engage, I had become resigned to what seemed to the be the likelihood that the dialogue between anthropology and theology was going to be one that at best built very slowly, and at worst was destined hardly to take place. To be sure, there had been some fits and starts kinds of discussions, but nothing much had happened in the way of sustained conversation. Anthropology and theology appeared to me set to continue to go their separate ways without the benefit of much cross-fertilization. The publication of this collection fundamentally alters this picture. Each of its articles is a substantial contribution in its own right, and taken together they indicate in a way no other collection yet has how productive of fresh anthropological ideas encounters with various kinds of theology can be. And in moving decisively beyond a focus solely on the Christian tradition, they also rescue this nascent engagement from becoming a purely parochial one . . .

Chipumuro, “Breaking Bread with the Brethren: Fraternalism and Text in a Black Atlantic Church Community”

December 7, 2013

Chipumuro Todne Thomas. 2012. Breaking Bread with the Brethren: Fraternalism and Text in a Black Atlantic Church Community. Journal of African American Studies 16(4):604–621 

Abstract:  This ethnographic article examines the constitution of brotherhood at Dixon Bible Chapel (DBC)—a West Indian and African American Brethren church community located in Lithonia, Georgia, a suburb of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Based on my analysis of interview, oral history, and church historical texts collected during fieldwork from 2006 to 2008, I propose that DBC members conceptualize brotherhood as an egalitarian, closely knit form of religious belonging inspired by New Testament representations of the church. Furthermore, I argue that is through DBC brothers’ textual rituals that brotherhood is substantiated as a framework for male democratic religious participation and leadership. Though hierarchies of class, ethnicity, gender, and generation segment the ranks of DBC brotherhood and the church community writ large, church members invest in brotherhood as a social formation that they believe sidesteps the exclusions of mainstream religious institutions. Extending the implications of DBC brotherhood to the present issue’s emphasis of black fraternal organizations, I pose questions about the meanings and salience of fraternalism as a social model for Afro-diasporic institution building.

Haynes, “Change and Chisungu in Zambia’s Time of AIDS”

December 3, 2013

Haynes, Naomi.  2013.  Change and Chisungu in Zambia’s Time of AIDS.  Ethnos (advance online publication).

Abstract: Through an examination of amafunde – a Bemba word meaning ‘instruction’, which refers to the training given to a young woman before her marriage – this article explores the social changes that have followed widespread HIV infection on the Zambian Copperbelt. Amafunde today are marked by openness between senior women and those they train for marriage, an openness that they encourage their charges to adopt in married life. This emphasis on direct or ‘straight’ speech stands in stark contrast to earlier accounts of female initiation in Zambia, which highlight ‘obscure’ modes of communication. An analysis of this change reveals the increased importance of both secrecy and disclosure in Zambia’s time of AIDS, as well as the influence of Pentecostal Christianity. Most importantly, it indexes changes in the social forms that the interplay of secrecy and disclosure has traditionally produced.

Woods, “Converting houses into churches”

December 3, 2013

Woods, Orlando.  2013.  Converting houses into churches: the mobility, fission, and sacred networks of evangelical house churches in Sri Lanka.  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (advance online publication).

Abstract: In this paper I examine the processes and politics associated with the formation of evangelical house churches in Sri Lanka. In doing so, I show how the sacred space of the house church is constructed through the development of sacred networks, which emerge when a group of Christians assemble for prayer and worship. Sacred networks grant the house church an important degree of mobility, but they also encourage church fission. Whilst the house church enables evangelical groups to grow in hostile environments like that of Sri Lanka, it is often a superficial form of growth that is unsustainable in the long term. To conclude, I suggest that an understanding of sacred networks can help inject a sense of scalar dynamism into the study of contemporary religious movements.

Negru, “How Private Is the Relation With God?”

December 3, 2013

Negru, Oana.  2013.  How Private Is the Relation With God? Religiosity and Family Religious Socialization in Romanian Emerging Adults.  Journal of Adolescent Research (Published Online 22 November 2013).  

Abstract: This qualitative study explores the dynamics of religious cognitions, behaviors, and emotions in emerging adult discourse in a sample of Romanian youth of heterogeneous socioeconomic, denominational (Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Neo-protestant), and educational background. Also, from a parent-child dyad perspective, we investigate the role of family religious socialization when children have reached emerging adulthood. Findings bring forward personal conceptualizations of religiosity and specific strategies of religious exploration the youth employ. In addition, family religious socialization is portrayed through the lens of the autonomy-support parents provide their offspring from childhood to emerging adulthood. Emerging adults tend to integrate childhood family religious socialization into the context of their lifelong religious development and also report more present-day parental influence than their parents.

Koepping, “Spousal Violence among Christians”

December 3, 2013

Koepping, Elizabeth.  2013.  Spousal Violence among Christians: Taiwan, South Australia and Ghana.  Studies in World Christianity. Volume 19, Page 252-270.

Abstract: Local, often unconscious, understanding of male and female informs people’s views irrespective of the religious ideology of (for Christians) the imago dei. This affects church teaching about and dealings with spousal violence, usually against wives, and can be an indicator of the failure of contextualising, from Edinburgh to Tonga and Seoul to Accra, actually to challenge context and ‘speak the Word of God’ rather than of elite-defined culture. In examining five denominations (Assembly of God, Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, True Jesus Church) in Ghana, South Australia and Taiwan, ecclesial attitudes to divorce are shown to have a crucial effect on an abused woman’s decision regarding the marriage, especially where stated clerical practice differs from precept. Adding that to the effects of church teaching, the side-lining of pressure and support groups and the common failure of churches to censure spousal violence of pastors, leads the writer to suggest that any prophetic voice is strangled by shameful culture-bound collusion.

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