Posts Tagged ‘history’

Kollman, “World-Historical Turn in the History of Christianity and Theology”

June 24, 2014

Kollman, Paul. 2014. Understanding the World-Christian Turn in the History of Christianity and Theology. Theology Today. 71(2): 164-177.

Abstract: Growth in Christianity has spurred the appearance of the subfield of world Christianity, whose assumptions increasingly shape scholarship on Christianity. What I term the world-Christian turn, which is often linked to mission studies, yields more comprehensive approaches to the Christian past, connecting local histories of Christian communities to larger-scale historical movements and producing innovative comparative perspectives on Christianity past and present. In Catholic theology, this turn has encouraged new comparative and contextual theologies. Yet support for Christian mission and the world-Christian turn need not go together. Two cases in point: comparative theology tends to eschew mission while the work of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, is suspicious of some impulses behind the world-Christian turn and their potential for undermining Christian mission. Such cases notwithstanding, I argue that missiology is a promising resource for the field of world Christianity.

 

Kallinen, “Christianity, fetishism, and the development of secular politics in Ghana”

June 17, 2014

Kallinen, Timo.  2014. Christianity, fetishism, and the development of secular politics in Ghana: A Dumontian Approach.  Anthropological Theory 14(20: 153-168.

Abstract: The paper discusses the impact of Christianity on the institutions of divine kingship and chiefship among the Asante people of Ghana during the late pre-colonial and colonial periods. The thrust of the paper is that separate categories of religion and politics emerged in Asante society as the colonial administration sought to facilitate missionary work and conversion while at the same time they supported the chiefs as the secular rulers of the country. The analysis is based on Dumont’s ideas on the differentiation of the political category and the characteristics of the modern state. Dumont’s own work on secularization focused on long-term historical developments that were markedly different from the abrupt changes described here. Nevertheless, his ideas help us significantly in comprehending the profoundness and radicality of this transformation. Additionally, the aim of the paper is to provide some historical background for understanding debates about the nature and value of traditional chieftaincy in present-day Ghana.

Miller, “The Age of Evangelicalism”

March 4, 2014

Miller, Steven P.  2014.  The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: For years, evangelicalism has figured prominently in the American cultural and political landscape, seen everywhere from the election of openly devout President George W. Bush to the wild popularity of Christian self-help books and end-times thrillers like the Left Behind series and prompting sociologist Alan Wolfe to write, in 2003, ”We are all evangelicals now.” In fact, Wolfe responded not at the emergence or height of the phenomenon, but near its conclusion. Evangelical Christianity became central to American culture over several decades, beginning as early as the 1970s, but by 2008, that historical moment was ending.

Steven P. Miller offers an in-depth exploration of the place and meaning of evangelical Christianity in the United States between 1970 and 2008, America’s born-again years, when evangelical Christianity entered the American mainstream in ways both obviously and subtly influential. The Age of evangelicalism began in the 1970s, propelled by the rapid ascendance of an avowedly born-again president, Jimmy Carter, and the equally rapid emergence of the Christian Right. It climaxed three decades later with the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, who synthesized Carter’s Jesus talk and the Christian Right’s cultural activism. During this period, the influence of evangelical Christianity extended well beyond its churches. Evangelicalism-broad enough to include both Hal Lindsey’s best-selling 1970 prophecy guide, The Late, Great Planet Earth and, thirty years later, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner’s emergence as a gay icon-meant that it influenced even its many detractors and bemused bystanders, who resided in an increasingly secular nation.

During the Age of Evangelicalism, Miller demonstrates, born-again Christianity was far from a subculture. It provided a language, medium, and foil by which millions of Americans came to terms with the end of the ”American Century.”

Napolitano, The Atlantic Return and the Payback of Evangelization

October 16, 2013

Napolitano, Valentina. 2013. The Atlantic Return and the Payback of Evangelization. Religion and Gender 3(2):207-221.

Abstract: This article explores Catholic, transnational Latin American migration to Rome as a gendered and ethnicized Atlantic Return, which is figured as a source of ‘new blood’ that fortifies the Catholic Church but which also profoundly unsettles it. I analyze this Atlantic Return as an angle on the affective force of history in critical relation to two main sources: Diego Von Vacano’s reading of the work of Bartolomeo de las Casas, a 16th-century Spanish Dominican friar; and to Nelson Maldonado-Torres’ notion of the ‘coloniality of being’ which he suggests has operated in Atlantic relations as enduring and present forms of racial de-humanization. In his view this latter can be counterbalanced by embracing an economy of the gift understood as gendered. However, I argue that in the light of a contemporary payback of evangelization related to the original ‘gift of faith’ to the Americas, this economy of the gift is less liberatory than Maldonado-Torres imagines, and instead part of a polyfaceted reproduction of a postsecular neoliberal affective, and gendered labour regime.

Mohr, “Enchanted Calvinism”

October 2, 2013

Mohr, Adam. 2013. Enchanted Calvinism: Labor Migration, Afflicting Spirits, and Christian Therapy in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. Rochester: University of Rochester Press.

Release Date: November 15, 2013

Publisher’s Description: Enchanted Calvinism’s central proposition is that Ghanaian Presbyterian communities, both past and present, have become significantly more enchanted–that is, more attuned to spiritual explanations of and remedies for suffering–as they have become more integrated into capitalist modes of production. The author draws on a specific Weberian concept of religious enchantment to frame the discussion of spiritual affliction and spiritual healing within the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, particularly under the conditions of labor migration: first, in the early twentieth century during the cocoa boom in Ghana and second, at the turn of the twenty-first century in the context of the healthcare migration from Ghana to North America. Relying on extensive archival research, oral historical interviews, and participant-observation group interviews conducted in North America, Europe, and West Africa, the study provides evidence that the more these Ghanaian Calvinists became dependent on capitalist modes of production, the more enchanted their lives, and, subsequently, their church became, although in different ways within these two migrations. One striking pattern that has emerged among Ghanaian Presbyterian labor migrants in North America, for example, is a radical shift in gendered healing practices, where women have become prominent healers, while a significant number of men have become spirit-possessed.

Reid, “Finding Kluskap”

August 19, 2013

Reid, Jennifer. 2013. Finding Kluskap: A Journey into Mi’kmaw Myth. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Mi’kmaq of eastern Canada were among the first indigenous North Americans to encounter colonial Europeans. As early as the mid-sixteenth century, they were trading with French fishers, and by the mid-seventeenth century, large numbers of Mi’kmaq had converted to Catholicism. Mi’kmaw Catholicism is perhaps best exemplified by the community’s regard for the figure of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. Every year for a week, coinciding with the saint’s feast day of July 26, Mi’kmaw peoples from communities throughout Quebec and eastern Canada gather on the small island of Potlotek, off the coast of Nova Scotia. It is, however, far from a conventional Catholic celebration. In fact, it expresses a complex relationship between the Mi’kmaq, Saint Anne, a series of eighteenth-century treaties, and a cultural hero named Kluskap.

Finding Kluskap brings together years of historical research and learning among Mi’kmaw peoples on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The author’s long-term relationship with Mi’kmaw friends and colleagues provides a unique vantage point for scholarship, one shaped by not only personal relationships but also by the cultural, intellectual, and historical situations that inform postcolonial peoples. The picture that emerges when Saint Anne, Kluskap, and the mission are considered in concert with one another is one of the sacred life as a site of adjudication for both the meaning and efficacy of religion—and the impact of modern history on contemporary indigenous religion.

Yong, “Disability in the Christian Tradition”

August 14, 2013

Yong, Amos.  2013.  Disability in the Christian Tradition: Overview and Historiographic Reflection.  Journal of Religion, Disability & Health 17(3): 236-243.

Abstract: This article summarizes and overviews Brian Brock and John Swinton’s Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader (2012), and reflects on its contribution from a historiographic perspective. In particular, this discussion explores how the lens of disability invites new approaches to the history of the Christian tradition that opens up fresh perspectives on narrating Christian history, recounting the history of Christian thought, and reconsidering the theological legacies of major thinkers.

Cinnamon, “American Presbyterian Missionaries”

July 24, 2013

Cinnamon, John M. 2013. American Presbyterian Missionaries, Enslavement, and Anti-Slavery in Nineteenth-Century Gabon. Social Sciences and Missions 26(1): 93-122.

Abstract: When American Presbyterian and Congregationalist missionaries arrived in the Gabon Estuary in the 1840s, they entered a world marked by vibrant commerce; violence and inequality; widespread slavery and slave-trading; British, French, and U.S. Anti-Slavery Patrols; and incipient French colonialism. This article draws on the published accounts by two U.S. missionaries, John Leighton Wilson, who served in Gabon from 1842 to 1851, and Robert Hamill Nassau, who worked on Corisco Island, the Gabon Estuary and Ogowe River, and the southern Cameroon coast from 1861 to 1906. Together, their writings provide insights into early colonialism and especially the long decline of enslavement and slave trading. While Wilson witnessed the establishment of Libreville in the 1840s, Nassau encountered slave trading first on Corisco and later on the Ogowe during the period of French colonial exploration. Both men, shaped by their African experiences as well as their respective social locations in the United States, held strong views on African domestic slavery and the slave trade. Wilson, from the South, was an ambivalent abolitionist who railed against the Atlantic Slave trade while hesitating to denounce slavery and racial inequality in his native South Carolina. Nassau, from New Jersey and educated at conservative Princeton University, was prompted above all by the missionary impulse. He sought to convert and “uplift” formerly enslaved Africans while nevertheless underlining their “servile” characters and benefitting from their labor as docile, socially vulnerable mission workers.

Young and Seitz, ed, “Asia in the Making of Christianity”

June 26, 2013

Young, Richard Fox and Jonathan A. Seitz, eds. 2013. Asia in the Making of Christianity: Conversion, Agency, and Indigeneity, 1600s to the Present. London: Brill.

Contributors: Richard Fox Young, Jonathan A. Seitz, Nola Cooke, Richard Burden, Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, La Seng Dingrin, Erik de Maaker, Sipra Mukherjee, Gregory Vanderbilt, Jonas Adelin Jorgensen, Chad M. Bauman, Franklin Rausch, Rhonda Semple, Matthias Frenz, Edwin Zehner

Publisher’s Description: Drawing on first person accounts, Asia in the Making of Christianity studies conversion in the lives of Christians throughout Asia, past and present. Fifteen contributors treat perennial questions about conversion: continuity and discontinuity, conversion and communal conflict, and the politics of conversion. Some study individuals (An Chunggŭn of Korea, Liang Fa of China, Nehemiah Goreh of India), while others treat ethnolinguistic groups or large-scale movements. Converts sometimes appear as proto-nationalists, while others are suspected of cultural treason. Some transition effortlessly from leadership in one religious community into Christian ministry, while others re-convert to new forms of Christianity. The accounts collected here underscore the complexity of conversion, balancing individual agency with broader social trends and combining micro- with macrocontextual approaches

Eskridge, “God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America”

June 6, 2013

Eskridge, Larry. 2013. God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America. New York : Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Jesus People movement was a unique combination of the hippie counterculture and evangelical Christianity. It first appeared in the famed “Summer of Love” of 1967, in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and spread like wildfire in Southern California and beyond, to cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. In 1971 the growing movement found its way into the national media spotlight and gained momentum, attracting a huge new following among evangelical church youth, who enthusiastically adopted the Jesus People persona as their own. Within a few years, however, the movement disappeared and was largely forgotten by everyone but those who had filled its ranks.

God’s Forever Family argues that the Jesus People movement was one of the most important American religious movements of the second half of the 20th-century. Not only do such new and burgeoning evangelical groups as Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard trace back to the Jesus People, but the movement paved the way for the huge Contemporary Christian Music industry and the rise of “Praise Music” in the nation’s churches. More significantly, it revolutionized evangelicals’ relationship with youth and popular culture. Larry Eskridge makes the case that the Jesus People movement not only helped create a resurgent evangelicalism but must be considered one of the formative powers that shaped American youth in the late 1960s and 1970s.

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