Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

Huff, “Pentecostalized Development”

April 27, 2014

Huff, James G. Jr.  2014. Pentecostalized Development and Novel Social Imaginaries in Rural El Salvador. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19(1): 22-40.

Abstract: The number of churches associated with Pentecostal Christianity has increased rapidly in El Salvador in the decades following the end of the civil war, and these organizations are gradually playing a role in shaping Salvadorans’ vision of the social good. This article examines a case in which the congregants of one rural Pentecostal church mobilize their neighbors and other nonchurch institutions to carry out community development initiatives. In particular, the article describes how the church emerged as a key public in the local development arena and, accordingly, became a site wherein previously segmented social networks in the community were bridged in novel ways. By documenting how change occurs incrementally and relationally at the level of local social networks, the discussion offers a better vantage point from which to assess the impact of the Pentecostal movement upon social life in rural El Salvador and elsewhere in Latin America.

 

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Selka, “Black Catholicism in Brazil”

April 15, 2014

Selka, Stephen.  2014.  Black Catholicism in Brazil.  Journal of Africana Religions 2(2): 287-295.

Abstract: Studies of Afro-Brazilian religion have tended to focus on Candomblé and other African-derived religions, and this is especially true in studies focused on the northeastern state of Bahia. Indeed, Bahia has long been imagined as a kind of living museum where African culture has been preserved in the Americas, a place where Christianity appears only as a thin veneer. This article focuses on my work on the intersection of Candomblé and Catholicism and more specifically on the Afro-Catholic Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death (Irmandade de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte, or simply Boa Morte), whose members are women of African descent involved with Candomblé. Because of its grounding in African-derived religion, observers often wonder whether the sisterhood’s yearly festival is actually Candomblé ritual masquerading as a Catholic celebration. I argue that behind this question is the questionable presumption that Catholicism is somehow epiphenomenal in Afro-Brazilian religious life, a view that I contend is rooted in specific racial ideologies and cultural nationalisms and stems from certain ideas concerning the relationship between religion and belief.

Selka, “Demons and Money”

March 25, 2014

Selka, Stephen.  2014.  Demons and Money: Possessions in Brazilian Pentecostalism.  In Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, Paul Christopher Johnson, ed.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Excerpt: “…this chapter explores interrelated understandings of spiritual and material possession – “possession by” and “possession of” – in the [Universal Church of the Kingdom of God] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches.  Spirit possession is central to Afro-Brazilia religions such as Candombé and Umbanda.  yet many Pentecostal Christians believe that the spirits that possess the practitioners of these religions are demons, and the practices of the [Universal church] in particular focus on liberating people from demonic influence.  This influence is seen as the cause of afflictions ranging from physcial illness to depression and of misfortunes such as divorce or unemployment.

In addition, some Pentecostal churches, especially third-wave or neo-Pentecostal ones, espouse what is often referred to derisively as the “theology of prosperity.”  Also know as the “health and wealth” gospel in North America, its proponents preach that the acquisition of material possessions is possible through faith.  The [Universal church] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches combine their promises of prosperity with an emphasis on deliverance from demons.  At first glance the relationship between these two kinds of possession might seem spurious, but they are closely connected.  In the most explicit formulation of this connection, as we see in the [Universal church], liberation from spiritual possession opens the way for the accumulation of material possessions.  That is, demonic control (possession by) impedes our realization of the prosperity (possession of) that God desires for human beings.”

Hartch, “The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity”

January 27, 2014

Hartch, Todd.  2014.  The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks great changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been the sudden and massive growth of a new religion, as in Africa and Asia. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. New challenges from modernity, especially in the form of Protestantism and Marxism, ultimately brought forth new life. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years, and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.

Aubrée, ‘Latin-American and Asiatic neo-Protestantisms’

December 16, 2013

Aubrée, Marion.  2013.  Latin-American and Asiatic neo-Protestantisms: A comparative study. Social Compass 60(4): 517-526.

Abstract: Throughout the 20th century, the expansion of North American Pentecostal and neo-evangelical movements was greatest in the traditionally Catholic countries of Latin America. And in the 1960s the first scientific analysis related to the overseas development of this movement was of Brazil, Chile and Argentina. More recently the conversion process has spread into Africa and as far as Asia. The various dynamics perceptible in the Pentecostal movement today in Southeast Asian cultures clearly made it pertinent to undertake a comparison between the Latino-American and Southeast Asian situations by considering, as the author proposes, the various methods and concepts developed over the last seventy years in the study of the neo-evangelical movements.

McIntyre, “All of Their Customs are Daughters of Their Religion'”

November 5, 2013

McIntyre, Kathleen M. 2013. ‘All of Their Customs are Daughters of Their Religion’: Baptists in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, 1920s–present.  Gender & History 25(3): 477–497.

Excerpt: My analysis of this contentious Baptist project in the Central Valley of Oaxaca reveals the intersection of missionary and revolutionary agendas with contrasting conceptualisations of gender, ethnic and regional identities. Although members of the Unión Femenil felt a Christian obligation to support indigenous converts, they saw Zapotec culture as a frustrating obstacle in attaining a dual (and at times competing) Mexican/Christian identity. Local conflicts in the Central Valley community of San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya led to alternate martyrdom narratives that speak to the larger religious conflicts in indigenous Mexico but prioritise Protestant, not the dominant Catholic, histories of martyrdom. By examining an oral history of martyrdom, I trace a community’s construction as well as its contestation of collective memory. Primarily a local history of one Baptist congregation, this article details these events and experiences as representative of a larger pattern of religious conflict in Oaxaca. However, what makes this study of Tlacochahuaya particularly important is that it provides an intimate look at the interworking of a new belief system in a centuries-old village that the predominantly mestizo Baptist men and women did not understand in the post-revolutionary period.

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.

Medrado, “Community and Communion Radio”

August 28, 2013

Medrado, Andrea.  2013.  Community and Communion Radio: Listening to Evangelical Programmes in a Brazilian Favela.  Communication, Culture & Critique 6(3): 396–414.

Abstract: According to academics and regulators, Evangelical and community radio belong to different sectors. Yet, in the favela, the urban environment and set of airwaves were saturated with religious sounds and programmes. On the basis of an ethnographic study of community radio in the everyday life of a favela, this research indicates that the two are often one and the same as the community radio stations would frequently broadcast Evangelical programming. This article argues that rather than trying to discover community radio’s functions a priori, it is more helpful do so organically, step by step. What emerges is that such functions are multiple—religious, commercial, political—and not necessarily perceived as being paradoxical by their listeners.

Freston, “Pentecostalism and Politics”

June 12, 2013

Freston, Paul. 2013. Pentecostalism and Politics in Latin America: Compromise or Prophetic Witness? In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 101-118. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chesnut, “Spirited Competition”

June 12, 2013

Chesnut, R. Andrew. 2013. Spirited Competition: Pentecostal Success in Latin America’s New Religious Marketplace. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds, 65-82. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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